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The Origin of Japan Baptist Hospital

We need to return February 1946 to trace the origin of Japan Baptist hospital. It was when Japan was in chaos suffering from poverty and disorder after World War II. A chaplain at the St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo, which was a US army hospital at that time, having been taken over by the occupational army, visited the Rev. Kiyoki Yuya of Mejirogaoka Church. It was the only remaining Baptist Church in Tokyo at that time. The Chaplain offered to help Japanese churches to contact churches in America. At that time Japanese were prohibited to correspond with Americans. Rev. Yuya wrote a letter to The Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in America for help to evangelize Japan. This was how initial contact was made.

There were 6 parts to his letter.

  1. To send Baptist missionaries.
  2. To reopen a Seminary to educate evangelists and pastors.
  3. To establish a nursing school to educate Christian nurses to take an active part in medical missions.
  4. To establish a Christian hospital for medical missions.
  5. To send agricultural instructors to help Japanese farmers who were seriously suffering
  6. To support The Baptist Church and help the church to resume evangelization

This letter was written not only before Japan Baptist Convention was established but also before the missionary, Dr.E.D. Dozier visited Japan to investigate the circumstances in October 1946. His father had also been a missionary in Japan and he himself prayed and waited in Hawaii for the end of the War so that he could evangelize in Japan.

In April 1947, 16 Baptist churches having been merged into The United Church of Christ in Japan left it and established Japan Baptist Convention. Dr. Theron Rankin, the Baptist Executive Director of the Orient of the Southern Baptist Convention visited Japan then and confirmed the 6 parts of Rev. Yuya’s letter and the evangelism was resumed in Japan. As soon as Japan Baptist Convention was established, it became a goal for the Baptist Convention to establish hospitals and nursing schools, and a definite plan to do so became our main object.

After that, Dr. J.P. Satterwhite who later became the first superintendent of the hospital came to Japan as an army surgeon for the occupational army. He met Rev. Yayu and Dr. Masahiko Kitahata of Tokyo University Hospital who belonged to Mejirogaoka Baptist Church. They worked over the plan together to establish the hospital, and the Board of Japan Baptist Convention which was held in Kobe in 1951 decided to set up a preparatory committee to establish hospitals.

In June, the first preparatory committee was held in Tokyo, and they developed the following agenda.

  1. To establish a nursing school to cultivate the Christian spirit of devotion and service.
  2. To establish a practical hospital whose character is similar to the combination of The Tokyo Adventist Hospital and St. Luke International Hospital in Tokyo.
  3. The hospital will have approximately 200 beds.
  4. Tokyo was chosen as the proposed priority site.
  5. To reserve a fund of 30,000,000 yen to establish the hospital.

And they chose Dr. J.P. Satterwhite and Dr. Kitahata as the first medical staff.

The 7th Japan Baptist Convention Annual Meeting was held at the former chapel for the occupational army in Okazaki, Kyoto in August 1953.

[Their plan was:]

  1. To buy 33,000? of land where the present hospital is.
  2. To designate the second Sunday of June as “Hospital Day” to remind and understand better the role of the hospital.
  3. To dedicate the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to the hospital, which is a Christmas offering named for a female missionary who devoted her life to evangelizing in China and died on a boat in Kobe on her way home to the US.

One more thing you must not forget is that Japan Baptist Convention’s motto, “Spread the Light of Christ all over Japan”was resolved at this meeting. As you can see from those descriptions, Japan Baptist Hospital is a vital part of Japan Baptist Convention and where the Light of the Truth is most in demand. Also the hospital was planned not just as caring for sick people but also as a mission to be established with devoted prayer and precious offerings. Therefore, we can say that the hospital’s beginnings are based only on the belief of Christianity. Japan Baptist hospital is for Jesus Christ.

At this time the founder, Dr. J.P. Satterwhite expressed the three purposes of this hospital. They are stated in the

employees’ guide. The Bible Scripture for this hospital opening was chosen from Matthew 9:35; “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” (The Yodogawa Christian Hospital’s Bible Scripture is Matthew 4:23; “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”) Jesus’ role was to teach the truth of the coming Kingdom and to cure every sickness and disease among people. And also He allowed people to pray for the daily food in the Lord’s Prayer. The problems about health, body and daily foods are the most basic to living. Jesus was the Savior in this domain too. To continue His work for us in the medical field which requires scientific and special skills, you must not think that Christian beliefs, science and medical treatment never works together, nor for must not consider human existence as just a body based on your own understanding. Humans are social and spiritual. Work in the medical field requires that we understand the physical and spiritual nature of human beings.

Science has advanced so fast and become highly specialized. Because so many fields are specialized, this has caused human fragmentation, high technology makes people more materialistic. In these circumstances, we see and treat every patient as a human and as a creation of God . So from God, we have a deep respect and love each patient. We must be capable to know what they need and do something about it. We call this a Whole Person Healing. We have been trying to practice this from the beginning.

It is said that people choose their own hospitals these days. To be chosen and survive, the hospital must have its own character.

Whole Person Healing is based on the Christian belief, professional views and the understanding of people. It is the character of  Japan Baptist Hospital.

The basic concepts

Japan Baptist Hospital was established by Japan Baptist Medical Foundation in 1955 to practice love of Jesus Christ by giving medical treatment and nursing education based on the Christian spirit.

The hospital has been developed and now has 167 beds with prayers and cooperation of churches belonging to Japan Baptist Convention and The Southern Baptist Convention. Also supports from the local people and the effort of all the superintendents and staff have been a great help.

To achieve the goal of our hospital, we followed the basic concept laid down by our hospital in October 1989.

The Purpose of Japan Baptist Hospital

To give the best medical treatment as we can and to share God’s gospel and love to all the visitors to our hospital without any discrimination upon their race, religion, and social position.

*To protect Christians from disease and to cure them so that they can do good services.
*To train Christian nurses, doctors, chaplains and medical staff to send them out for God.

The basic concepts of Japan Baptist Hospital

We would like our hospital to be a place where “new Life” starts and to treasure each one of them.

We would like our staff to be friendly, trust each other, and be eager for training to enrich medical skills and at the same time we would like to provide medical treatment, where patients can feel warmth and tenderness.

We provide sincere treatment to everyone who comes to our hospital because of their sickness and we provide equal treatment to everyone regardless of their race, nationality, position, religion and etc.

We make much of the relationship with the local society and realize our social duty to serve them.