God is love

The power of words


“God is love. I will insist on this until I fall. Everyone, God is love.” (Toyohiko Kagawa)

Toyohiko Kagawa (1888-1960) was born in Kobe, died of his parents at the age of five, and spent a lonely boyhood. He was exposed to Christianity through an American missionary in his youth and was baptized at the age of 16. He prayed, “God, make me like Christ.” At the age of 21, he lived in a slum in Kobe and began evangelizing Christianity. He had the worst life as a human being.

On the first night of missionary work in a town, a man with an infectious skin disease came and asked him to stay in his two-mat hut. This was a touchstone for Toyohiko Kagawa’s faith. He thought about quitting this kind of life because it was very hard, but he decided to stay with him. Then the beggar came and he gave him a shirt. The next day, the man came back, this time he got his jacket and trousers. Kagawa is now a tattered kimono. The people in the town laughed at him, but soon they began to respect him. He coughed constantly and preached, “God is love.” He was often exhausted and collapsed, but a slum-ravaged man gently held him and took him back to the hut. (Refer to “Time of Notable Decisions” by Sisir Northcott, which describes Toyohiko Kagawa’s achievements.)

“Beyond the Deadline” published in 1920, which describes Toyohiko Kagawa’s own experience (first half of his life), became the largest bestseller in the Taisho era. It is estimated that the total number of copies has reached 4 million. 1947 and 1948 were nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of “Beyond the Deadline.” Kagawa entered the slums and preached during the rise of Japanese capitalism, when workers were in a poor situation, the gap between rich and poor was wide, and the weak were driven. At that time, Toyohiko Kagawa, who conveyed the love of Jesus Christ, appeared. He gave hope to the poor.

Even now, the distortion of the disparity society is emerging. In 1929, “Kani Kosen” by Takiji Kobayashi, which depicts the disparity society, poor working environment, and poor workers, was published. It is regarded as a masterpiece of so-called proletarian literature and has been internationally acclaimed. It’s amazing that “Beyond the Deadline” was published nine years ago in this book.

According to Wikipedia, it is more famous worldwide than Japan as a “slum saint”, and before the war, it was called “Kagawa, Gandhi, Schweizer” as the “three major saints” of today. He was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1955 and 1959.

The motivation for his work was to practice the love of Jesus Christ. It is the same as Mother Teresa who continued to convey the love of God in the town of India. Toyohiko Kagawa writes. “God lives among the poorest.”

It is written in the Bible like this. We know and believe in God’s love for us. God is love. (1 John 4:16)

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Posted by: canaan

I used to be a pastor in the metropolitan area for 10 years, but now I am a pastor at a local Christian church. I also run a travel agency and an agricultural cooperative. I myself have been empowered by various words, and I would like to convey hopeful words. 

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埼玉県で10年間&北海道で10年間牧師の働きをしました。現在は神奈川県の教会で協力牧師をしています。私自身が様々なことば(特に聖書のことば)で力づけられてきたので、希望に満ちたことばをお伝えしたいと願っています。I used to be a pastor in Saitama prefecture for 10 years and Hokkaido for 10 years. Now I am a cooperating pastor in Kanagawa prefecture. I myself have been empowered by various words(especially Bible ), so I would like to tell the hopeful words.