Miss Kadota met Reverend Dr. Kagawa and saves KUC

KAGAWA Toyohiko (Wiki Commons)
KAGAWA Toyohiko (Wiki Commons)

On December 21, 1942, Miss Kadota was returning home as usual from Osaka after giving piano lessons to the welfare workers at Yodogawa Zenrinkan in Osaka. As she got onto the Hankyu train, she bumped into Dr. Toyohiko Kagawa, and old friend and well known pastor who was on his monthly visit to his church in Nihsinomiya. Miss Kadota said it was the Lord that led her into the carriage where Dr. Kagawa was standing, because the train was full. It was truly Providence – not a coincidence but a God-incidence since she had not seen Kagawa sensei for some time. The minute he saw her , he told her, “Kadota-san, you have no more church of your own.” It was shocking news to Miss Kadota but equally surprising to Dr. Kagawa that the church members knew nothing at all about the matter. He said that Hirano Church had completed all negotiations to take over KUC as foreign property confiscated by the Japanese government and they were sending a man to the Ministry of Finance on December 27 with the payment.


Miss Kadota says that the 15 minutes train ride from Nishinomiya to Kobe was the longest ride she had ever experienced. As soon as she returned home, she telephoned Mr. Hansen who immediately came to her house where she told him the news.


The next morning Mr. Hansen went to Mr. Taniguchi’s office and asked him to consult with his nephew, who was Vice-Minister of Finance. Rev. Hennig made it clear to the Ministry that the German would leave if the English-speaking worshipers were driven out. Eventually, a compromise was worked out, largely through the goodness of government officials, whereby English, German, and Japanese speaking peoples could share the building. Although a sale transfer was actually completed and the name “Sannomiya Kyokai” placed over the Church gate, the worship services continued for all. There is a note recording the attendance at the 1944 Christmas service held in English that 13 different nationalities were represented – 17 Japanese, 6 Russians, 6 Swiss, 5 Germans, 2 Swedes, 2 Danes, 2 Americans, 2 Englishmen and one each of Indian, Dutch, Turk, Finn, and Hungarian. The note concluded, “Enemy sat with enemy to celebrate the most wonderful of all birthdays.”


In spite of vast tribulations, it seemed that the Church would safely outride the War. But systematic bombings of Kobe by American B-29’s began with a raid on the Hyogo area of west-central Kobe on March 5, 1945. In a second raid on June 5, the Kobe business district was wiped out, and the Church was hit by incendiary bombs. The caretaker was helpless because the water mains had been disrupted and there was no water for fighting the fire. When the fire was over, only the concrete shell of the sanctuary and fellowship hall and the upper floors of the manse remained. The end of the War was only 70 days away.