This week’s pew leaflet asks us to pray for the Diocese of Osaka, Japan and the Rt Revd Samuel Osamu Onishi. “Why?” I asked myself. “Who are they?” and “What prayers do they need?”
I suppose the name of this week’s diocese jumped out at me more than the place names in previous pew leaflets because of fond memories of dear friends who lived there. Some still do. They introduced me to more friends all over Japan, and paved my way for extremely interesting travelling all across their fascinating country. So, it is perhaps because of those friends that I decided to find out more specifics about that one sentence in the pew leaflet.
Besides searching the internet, I have sent an email to the Diocese of Osaka, asking what specific prayer needs they have. I hope that some of their parishioners will reply directly on our website, but if they reply to my email I’ll share their replies with you here.
I intend to do the same for each name that comes up in the weekly prayer requests.
Osaka is Japan’s 2nd largest city by population. It is a port city at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay. Osaka is an important commercial centre on the Japanese island of Honshu and is known for its modern architecture, boisterous nightlife and hearty street food. The 16th century Osaka Castle is its main historical landmark, surrounded by a moat and park with plum, peach and cherry trees. The Shinto Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine is among Japan’s oldest.
Osaka is about 55 km from Kyoto (a beautiful city of major cultural importance) and about 30km from Kobe (where 6,434 people died in a devastating earthquake on 17 January 1995).
The Osaka Diocese was established in 1923. The area was previously a “missionary district” where missionaries from England and the U.S.A. had worked since 1859. The Right Reverend Samuel Osamu Onishi was consecrated in September 2008 as the 7th Bishop of the Osaka Diocese. (According to the Anglican Communion website, the current Bishop of Osaka is listed as The Rt Revd Andrew Haruhisa Iso.)
As at 12 February 2009, the diocese had
- 22 churches,
- 5 mission stations and a chapel.
Altogether, there were 20 clergy (20? The list mentions 19):
- 1 bishop,
- 15 priests,
- 3 deacons (and 4 candidates for ordination in April of that year).
Church membership consists of about 2,000 active communicants and an additional 1,000 baptized members. Sunday Schools have a total of 500 pupils. Total attendance at Sunday Services throughout the diocese averages 1,000. (The population of Osaka City is about 4 million; and Greater Osaka Area (Prefecture) has a population of about 8 million).
I hope to add more information once I receive it from Osaka. If you have some relevant info to share, please add it here.
For more details see: