2011: On Being Open by KATAOKA Heiwa

Quelle:  Kyodan Newsletter 362, April 19, 2011

Lessons Gleaned from Involvement in Buraku Liberation Movement and Okinawa-related Issues

An interview with Kataoka Heiwa, member* Waseda Church, Tokyo District

I grew up in a Christian family, and so Christianity was always right there. I thought that how I should live and relate to people who were close at hand was really important. That changed somewhat when I went to high school. I had grown up in a Kyodan church, but when I went to Keiwa Gakuen High School, a church-related school, and started living in a dormitory, I realized that half of the students were not Christians and even those that were Christian came from many different denominations.

I began to wonder about the idea of "just believing." Was faith an internal thing? Was it an individual thing? I began reacting against some of the things I had been taught. However, when I went to university, I realized that faith can be open to and expressed in the real world. That has been shown to me most clearly through my active involvement in the two areas of Buraku liberation and Okinawa-related issues.

During my first summer at university, I participated in the Kyodan Buraku Liberation Center's Youth Seminar, and I learned how great it is to read the Bible and to witness to one's faith in the context of fighting against discrimination. Through the university's Peace Research Institute and the Religious Department, I was able to participate in a field trip to Okinawa, where I learned about the history of Okinawa, the present concerns around U.S. military bases, and the activities of Christian networks working for peace.

My faith was changed through these experiences, and during my second year of college, I was baptized. Feeling that I wanted to continue my involvement in these issues after graduation, I did not participate in any club activities at the university because I thought it was important to relate not only to other university students but also to a variety of people of different age groups. For the same reason, when I thought about employment, I did not want just a regular job. I consulted with the minister of my church, and he introduced me to Waseda Hoshien.

The work of Waseda Hoshien is based on Christian values, and a wide range of programs and activities are available to both youth and adults. My work involves setting up courses in Asian languages for adults, as well as working with students. One of the activities with students is creating regular weekend opportunities to meet, play, and deepen relationships with children who have disabilities.

Almost none of the students who come to Waseda Hoshien is Christian. But when I see how passionately these students try to interact with the children in an effort to build authentic relationships, I am often amazed. I experienced that kind of relationship in the church, and it makes me really happy to know that, through my invitation, some people have started attending worship. It makes me feel that I know why I am working here.

Some of the people who come here have attended church-related kindergartens or schools, and others, even though they have no direct experience of Christianity, are often interested in Christian ideals. But there are also those who are not connected to the church in any way. When I introduce myself to these people, I always mention the church. Is that evangelism? I don't know. But it is part of my approach to people to let them know who I am.

I am not being pushy about evangelism. Whenever I invite someone to a church event, I always emphasize how much fun it will be. On "Marine Day" in July, we held an event where we did some weeding around Chiyoda Church in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo and then had a barbecue with scallops sent from the Sanriku area, where the minister had previously worked. It was a lot of fun, and that's what I want to do–namely, to find ways to have fun together.

I believe that Christianity and God can only be communicated through concrete and authentic encounter. To that end, I want to make myself open, approachable, and attractive to all people. (Tr. RW)

From Shinto no Tomo (Believers' Friend)

*Kataoka Heiwa was born in Fukushima Prefecture and is 24 years old. His given name (Heiwa) means "peace." After graduation from International Christian University with a major in sociology from the Liberal Arts Department's Division of International Studies, he was employed by Waseda Hoshien in April 2008. Baptized during his second year of college at Waseda Church, where he is still an active member, he has also served on committees involved with youth, Buraku liberation, and Okinawa-related issues in Tokyo District's Kita (north) Subdistrict.



片岡平和 さん




籍。社会学を専攻。二年次に早稲田教会にて受洗。卒業後の 二〇〇八年四月に




クリスチャン・ファミリーに育ったので、ずっと身近にあったキリスト教ですが、身近な人とどうやって生きていくか、そういった関係が大事だと思っていました。それが高校時代に一旦、相対化されました。それまで教団の教会内で育ってきたわけですが、寮生活を送ったミッション・スクール、新潟の敬和学園で、半分はノン・クリスチャン、あとの半分のクリスチャンもいろいろな教派の人たちがいたからです。 一方で、「ただ信じなさい」という教えに、信仰とは内面的なものなのか、個人的な問題であるのかとちょっと反発を覚えたりもしました。でも、大学に入って、そうではない外に開かれた信仰もあるとわかりました。それは僕の大学時代の両輪とも言える活動となった部落解放運動と沖縄問題への取り組みを通して示されたことでした。大学一年の夏に日本基督教団部落解放センターの青年ゼミナールの活動に加わり、聖書を読み信仰を証ししながら差別と闘っていくことのすばらしさを知りました。また、大学の平和研究所や宗務部の活動を通して、平和学習の一環で沖縄フィールドトリップに参加し、米軍基地の課題や沖縄戦の歴史などにどういう取り組みがなされているのかをキリスト教のネットワークによる活動を通して学んだのです。こうした中で、自分のキリスト教理解も変わっていき、大学二年のときに受洗しました。大学時代にサークルに入らなかったのは、卒業後もつながりのある活動をするためには大学生同士だけの関わりではなく、いろいろな世代の人たちとの関わりが大切だと考えたからです。ですから、就職先を考えたときに一般企業ではないと感じていました。そして、相談した所属教会の牧師の紹介で、早稲田奉仕園に就職しました。


 早稲田奉仕園に集まってくる学生はほとんどがノン・クリスチャンです。でも、彼らが子どもとの関わりの中で情熱を傾けているのを見ると人との関わりを強く求めていることがわかり驚きます。僕はそういう関わりを教会で得られてきたので、自分の呼びかけがきっかけで教会に通うようになった人がいるってわ かったときがいちばんうれしいですね。自分がここにいる意味を感じます。

ミッション系の幼稚園や学校だったということで、キリスト教に触れたことがある人や、そうでなくても少しは関心があるという人はけっこういると思います。ただ、教会にはつながっていないという層がいます。そういう人たちに対しては僕が自己紹介をすれば必ず教会のことに触れることになるので、それが伝道と言っていいのかわかりませんが、僕なりのアプローチです。とはいえ、積極的に伝道ということはしていません。教会でのイベントに誘うときに「すごく楽しいよ」と声をかけます。七月の海の日には新宿の千代田教会で草むしりして、その後そこの牧師の前任地だった三陸から送られてきたホタテをバーベキューで食べて楽しい時間を持ちました。とりあえずはこうして楽しくやりたいと思っています。キリスト教や神さまのことは具体的な人との出会いがないと伝わらないと思っているんです。だから、こうした出会いのために自分自身も魅力的でありたいと思っています。 (信徒の友)             Ω




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