Toyohiko Kagawa

Toyohiko Kagawa

Infobox Person
name = Kagawa Toyohiko

caption =
birth_date = 10 July 1888
birth_place =
death_date = 23 April 1960
death_place =
other_names =
known_for =
occupation = social reformer, peace activist, evangelist
nationality = Japanese

Toyohiko Kagawa (賀川豊彦 "Kagawa Toyohiko", 10 July 188823 April 1960) was a Japanese pacifist, Christian reformer, and labour activist. Kagawa wrote, spoke, and worked at length on ways to employ Christian principles in the ordering of society. His vocation to help the poor led him to live among them. He established schools, hospitals, and churches.

Early life

Kagawa was born in Kobe, Japan to a philandering businessman and a concubine. However, both parents died while he was young. He was sent away to school, where he learned from two American missionary teachers, Drs. Harry W. Myers and Charles A. Logan, who took him into their homes.

Having learned English from these missionaries, Kagawa converted to Christianity after taking a Bible class in his youth, which led to him being disowned by his remaining extended family. Kagawa studied both in Japan at the Tokyo Presbyterian College, and in the United States. He later enrolled in the Kobe Theological Seminary. While studying there, Kagawa was troubled by the seminarians' concern for technicalities of doctrine. He believed that Christianity in action was the truth of Christian doctrines. Impatiently, he would point to the parable of the Good Samaritan.


After returning to Japan, Kagawa was arrested in 1921 and again in 1922 for his part in labour activism. While in prison he wrote the novels "Crossing the Deathline" and "Shooting at the Sun". After his release, Kagawa assisted in bringing universal adult male suffrage to Japan in 1925. He also organized the Japanese Federation of Labour, as well as the National Anti-War League in 1928. Throughout this period, he continued to evangelize to Japan's poor and push for women's suffrage and a peaceful foreign policy. Between 1926 and 1934, he focused his evangelical work through the Kingdom of God Movement.

At the end of the war, Kagawa was part of the transitional Japanese government that offered surrender to the United States. In 1940, Kagawa made an apology to the Republic of China for Japan's occupation of China, and was arrested again for this. After his release, he went back to the United States in a futile attempt to prevent war between that nation and Japan. He then returned to Japan to continue his attempts to win women's suffrage.

During his life, Kagawa wrote over 150 books. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1954 and 1955. [ [ Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Database] ] After his death, Kagawa was awarded the second-highest honor of Japan, induction in the Order of the Sacred Treasure. He is also commemorated in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as a renewer of society on April 23 of the same year.

Brotherhood economics

Kagawa's economic theory, as expressed in the book "Brotherhood Economics," advocated that the Christian Church, Cooperative Movement, and Peace movement unite in a 'powerful working synthesis' to provide a workable alternative to capitalism, State Socialism, and Fascism. [Kagawa, Toyohiko, “Brotherhood Economics”, New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1936.]

3-D farming

In the 1930s, he addressed problems of soil erosion by persuading many of Japan's upland farmers to plant fodder trees to conserve soil, supply food and feed animals (the three "dimensions" of his system).

He was a forerunner of the modern Forest Gardening idea and an inspirer of Robert Hart who planted an inspirational forest garden at Much Wenlock, Shropshire, UK.

Famous quotes

* On the morning of 1946, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, before Emperor Hirohito, "Whosoever will be great among you...shall be the servant of all. A ruler's sovereignty, Your Majesty, is in the hearts of the people. Only by service to others can a man, or nation, be godlike."
* "Communism's only power is to diagnose some of the ills of disordered society. It has no cure. It creates only an infantile paralysis of the social order."


* "Kagawa Toyohiko". 2005. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 15 2005, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online []
* "BookRags Biography on Kagawa Toyohiko". BookRags. Retrieved 15 December 2005, from the World Wide Web. []
* "Toyohiko Kagawa, Japanese Original". 2001. Christian History Institute. Retrieved December 15 2005. []
* "Unconquerable Kagawa". 1951. Reader's Digest. pg.29-31
* Richard H. Drummond, "A History of Christianity in Japan". Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971. Drummond devotes a section of his history to Kagawa's work and influence.

See also


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