Once a year, the lilt of the t’rung and the rise and fall of the sounds of the danbau transport audiences at a charity concert in Tokyo to the mountain regions of Vietnam. The performers are Vietnamese migrant workers in Japan, and this year’s concert featured a choir called “Cecilia”, that usually serves at the Vietnamese Sunday masses at St Ignatius Church next to the Jesuit Tokyo Social Center.
The word “discernment” has become all the rage within Jesuit circles following the 36th General Congregation. Fr General Arturo Sosa has even appointed a special counsellor to oversee the process of discernment and apostolic planning in the Society. So it was fitting that the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific’s (JCAP) migration network examined the journey so far and charted a new course at its fourth annual meeting held in Tokyo from March 23 to 26. A new plan for the future was called for.
Gratitude and joy for the love of God recently inspired two young Jesuits to write a song. Deacon Soo Young Theodore Park SJ from Korea and Scholastic Jun-G Bargayo SJ from the Philippines say the song Kutafuta Mungu (“Finding God” in Swahili) was a gift for them as 2017 began.
The inspiration to compose the song came the night after Soo Young’s diaconate ordination.
Fr Renzo De Luca SJ has been appointed Provincial of the Japan Province of the Society of Jesus. He succeeds Fr Yoshio Kajiyama SJ, and assumes office on March 1. An Argentinian by birth, Fr De Luca enters into his work as provincial with a long history of engagement not only with the Japan Province and in the context of its origins dating back to St Francis Xavier, but also with the concrete issues facing the Society around the world today.
Much has been written about migrant workers and their lives and trials working in foreign country. What is often overlooked, however, is what happens to the children who are left behind by their migrant worker parents.
How do the children cope with the absence of one or both parents? How are these children perceived by a society that still values traditional family and gender roles? To what extent does migration change the idea of child welfare or parenthood?
Anastasia* is from Latin America. A few years ago, she married a Japanese man in her country and in April 2015, they took their toddler son to Japan to visit his grandparents. While they were in Japan, they took their son for a general medical check-up and found out that he had a heart problem. They went to the United States and Latin America for second and third opinions, but could not decide on the best treatment for their son.
August is a symbolic month dedicated to peace movements in Japan. Seventy-one years have passed since the defeat of Japan in the Second World War, but the dropping of the first two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945) are still vividly remembered.
A group of 34 Jesuits, half of them from Korea and the rest from Japan gathered in Shimonoseki, in the west of Japan from August 23 to 26 to heal wounds occasioned by the worst historical relationship between both countries and to search for closer cooperation.