The first country for which Buchman prayed on that evening in Mackinac when he heard that the Second World War was over was Japan. Nearly thirty years earlier he had visited that country seven times, although he only twice stayed as much as a month. He did not go back there until 1956. Yet by then he was a national figure on whom the government wished to confer Japan's highest decoration.
In November 1935 Buchman had whole-heartedly backed the decision of a young Oxford graduate, Basil Entwistle, to accompany Bishop Roots and his family on their return from the Oxford house-party to China. They passed through Tokyo and Entwistle took up the introduction of the Washington columnist, George Sokolsky, to meet Kensuke Horinouchi, then head of the American desk at the Japanese Foreign Office. This meeting led to a renewal of the Christian faith of Horinouchi and his wife. A year later Horinouchi, now Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, gave a reception for his friends to meet Entwistle on a return visit. By then a serious power struggle was in progress between the young military and Horinouchi and his moderate friends at the Foreign Office. For a time those in the Foreign Office who wanted peace held their own, though always in danger of assassination. In 1938 Horinouchi was appointed Ambassador in Washington, where he met Buchman. When in 1940 it became clear that he was being forced to pass untrue messages to the Americans, he asked to be recalled. 'I don't know when we will meet again,' he told Buchman and Entwistle in San Francisco before leaving. 'We face difficult times. Maybe we shall not be able to be in touch. But, whatever happens, we are so grateful to God for the peace we have found inside us. We will be faithful to everything you have taught us.'1 Back in Tokyo he had been dismissed from the diplomatic corps and during the war he lived under close surveillance. But he kept his promise.
Other Japanese, who had met Buchman and his friends abroad, had also returned home. Among them was Takasumi Mitsui - brother of the head of Japan's most powerful business house - who had studied under Streeter and Thornhill at Oxford. There he, his wife Hideko and their children were baptised. They worked with Buchman in Europe until 1938, when they returned to Japan. Through the war he and Hideko, too, kept faith through many difficulties. They lost their two Tokyo houses in one night through fire-bombs, and lived for the rest of the war in a concrete store-house. Like all Japanese they had little to eat - one of their children died of malnutrition - and they were watched by the police because of their identification with Moral Re-Armament. But, as members of the powerful Mitsui family, they were not arrested.
Horinouchi and the Mitsuis were among ten Japanese to attend Buchman's Riverside conference in California in June 1948. This group, the first other than a few technicians to travel abroad since the war, also included Yasutane and Yukika Sohma, who had met Moral Re-Armament in Japan. Yasutane was the head of a noble family with estates in central Japan who had been stripped of his title and most of his land under the new Constitution. A whimsical, charming bon viveur, he had married the brilliant daughter of Yukio Ozaki, 'the father of the Japanese Diet', who as Mayor of Tokyo presented the cherry trees to Washington which have ever since been a spring tourist attraction. Yukika had not only shared occasions when her father narrowly missed assassination because of his democratic principles, but herself flouted tradition at every turn, and had met Yasutane while she was riding a motorcycle, an unheard-of activity for a Japanese woman at that time. Only the change brought to both of them through another friend of Buchman's, an American diplomat, had converted a difficult marriage into a creative partnership.
At Riverside one of the Japanese said to Buchman, 'We have this new Constitution the Americans have given us. It is like an empty basket. What shall we put in it?' The United States government, realising the vacuum created by the destruction of Japanese militarism, had acted quickly to reorganise the country on a democratic basis, but the forms introduced did not of themselves fill the vacuum. Buchman saw that this question was as urgent as those facing Germany.
The distinguished German delegation at Riverside gave the Japanese the hope that what the Germans had found at Caux could also fill the vacuum in Japan. The Sohmas asked the Entwistles to come to Japan, bringing their baby daughter. 'In Japan, right now, with everything in ruins?' said Entwistle. 'Maybe not immediately. We'll work on it,' replied Yukika.
The next summer thirty-seven Japanese went to Caux, including a delegation centring round the recent Socialist Prime Minister, Tetsu Katayama, and his wife. They arrived in America en route just when Jean Entwistle was in hospital for the birth of her second child, Fred. Entwistle cabled Buchman the news of his son's arrival, and received a reply welcoming Fred into the world and asking his father to accompany this Japanese party to Europe. 'Never had I felt less inclined to leave Jean,' writes Entwistle. 'I felt rebellious . .. but I regarded the request as a soldier viewed his travel orders. Jean, still in hospital, was more resolute than I as I bade her farewell at her bedside.'2
The trip lasted ten weeks. After a month at Caux, Katayama's party was received by the German, French and British governments and Socialist parties. At an official lunch given by Christopher Mayhew in London Entwistle sat next to Denis Healey.* 'Moral Re-Armament must be an extremely powerful world organisation,' said Healey. 'It has succeeded in doing what the British Labour Party has failed to do in the last two years - secure permission for Japanese Socialists to visit Britain.'3
(* Mayhew at that time was an Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office, Healey was Secretary of the International Department of the Labour Party.)
In January 1950, back in America, Entwistle received a cable from Buchman asking him to go to Japan to stand by some of the Japanese who had been at Riverside and Caux. 'Take Ken with you,' the cable added. 'Ken Twitchell was even more startled than I was,' writes Entwistle. 'Neither of us considered for a moment not responding, although I was loath to leave my family for what looked like a long period.'4
Their only commission from Buchman had been to give thought and care to particular Japanese families. They had also heard from the Mitsuis and Sohmas that there was a division in the ranks of Moral Re-Armament in Tokyo. Some were determined to confine Moral Re-Armament to a narrow Christian practice which stressed moral standards and the need for the guidance of God, but only as they applied to personal matters, and demanded immediate acceptance by all of particular doctrines. Others, like the Mitsuis, Sohmas and Horinouchis, saw it as a moral and spiritual force to reshape Japan into a united, democratic, responsible nation.
The travellers realised they were entering a non-Christian nation, and one whose conception of Christianity was shaped by the long-experienced superiority and doctrinaire theology of some Christians in Japan, as well as by what many felt were hostile policies of the 'Christian' countries of the West. Buchman had said from the beginning that 'the outstretched arms of Christ are for everyone', Christian and non-Christian alike. Thus he had taught his team to talk about moral and spiritual change in terms which the non- or anti-Christian - the Communists in the British coalfields and the Ruhr, for example - could understand, and not to place any doctrinal obstacle in their way.
At the appropriate moment he would always give those at his gatherings, whatever their faith or lack of it, the deepest Christian truths he knew, often centred round the story of how he had himself been washed clean from his hatreds by his experience of the Cross at Keswick and how Christ had become his nearest friend. This was done with the utmost urgency - that everyone must face the reality of their sin, and find change and forgiveness. But he never added that those in his audience must break with their traditions, or join this or that church. He felt that his task was to bring people into vital touch with the Holy Spirit who would lead them each personally, and, in the process, would help them to live by the will of God. His purpose was to enlist everyone in the moral and spiritual revolution which he held to be vital if the nations were to be remade and become instruments in the hands of God for the benefit of one another. In this he was a pioneer of what was to become an increasingly held open and inclusive position towards those of other faiths.
Thus in two speeches in America and Germany at about this time he made what were, to him, two entirely consistent statements. 'MRA is the good road of an ideology inspired by God upon which all can unite,' he said in 1948. 'Catholic, Jew and Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Confucianist - all find they can change, where needed, and travel along this good road together.5 In 1951 he said, 'It needs this stronger dose..."The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." That is the discovery everyone is looking for. That is the answer.'6
How could Entwistle and Twitchell apply these principles in Japan? That first Sunday they met with the strict 'Christian' group, the dominant spirit in which was a woman missionary, reminiscent of some Buchman had met in China years before. She was, records Entwistle, 'elderly, emphatic, very British and very sentimental'.7 She had independent means, but lived in the humblest circumstances, surrounding herself with impoverished Japanese Christians - some dedicated like herself and some free-loaders. She insisted that those like the Mitsuis, the Horinouchis and the Sohmas must, in effect, join her particular circle and concentrate on their personal lives. Entwistle and Twitchell, while respecting her faithfulness and self-sacrifice, felt that they must back these three couples in taking the change they had found to the centre of the nation.
This they had already begun to do. In the next ten days they took their visitors to see Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, the outstanding politician of the day, and also to the two men commonly known as 'The Pope' and 'The Emperor'. The 'Pope' was Hisato Ichimada, Governor of the Bank of Japan; the 'Emperor' was Chikao Honda, President of the Mainichi communications conglomerate. They also saw Yukika's father, the veteran parliamentarian, and were given receptions by the three leading newspapers, the directors of the Bank of Japan and the Speaker of the Upper House of the Diet.
Out of all this came the idea that a special planeload of seventy-six, the most representative group to leave Japan since the war, should go to Caux in the summer of 1950. General Douglas MacArthur, the US supremo in Japan, warmly endorsed the venture, and one June evening the DC-4 lifted off over a moonlit Tokyo Bay, taking a delegation which included Members of Parliament from all the main parties, seven Governors of Prefectures, the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and leaders of industry, finance and labour. Prime Minister Yoshida offered them a vivid conception of their mission at a luncheon for leaders of the delegation. 'In 1870', he said, 'a group of Japanese travelled to the West. On their return they changed the course of Japanese life. I believe that when this delegation returns you too will open a new page in our history.'8
The Japanese arrived at Caux full of apprehension about how they would be received by the people from many countries, including recent enemies. Buchman had anticipated their fears. He was at the door of Mountain House to greet each one personally, and had made sure that the Japanese flag was flying alongside those of the other nations. Under American occupation the flag could not be flown, and at the sight of it tears came to the visitors' eyes.
Buchman also took care to observe the niceties of Japanese manners - bowing instead of shaking hands, paying attention to their rules of seniority, and providing them with Japanese food perfectly cooked. One of the labour leaders in the party, Daiji Ioka, chairman of the Municipal Workers of Osaka, told the assembly, 'Our nation took a road to war which has caused tremendous suffering to the world. When my colleagues and I left Tokyo we fully expected to be treated as enemies, even to the point of segregation, but we were overwhelmed by the warmth of the welcome we received.'9
During their stay Buchman planned the meetings so that they heard French and Germans promising to rebuild a ruined Europe together, management and labour undertaking to help industry to meet the needs of people, and rival political leaders seeking ways to unite their countries. He met with the delegation and with individuals privately, alert to draw out their aspirations and reinforce their new decisions. Such decisions were numerous. For example, the Governor of Nagano province and the Mayor of its capital publicly forsook their well-known antagonism to each other; and a militant labour leader, Katsuji Nakajima, and his 'public enemy number one', the regional police chief, Eiji Suzuki, were reconciled.
The youngest of the six Diet Members in the party, Yasuhiro Nakasone, who was to become Prime Minister of Japan in 1983, wrote from Caux to a Japanese paper: 'People who spoke at the assembly were largely representatives of labour and management... The Japanese representatives who heard these witnesses had many doubts and conflicts within their hearts. Some of the excuses they made were: "The workers of Japan are up against a far more serious problem of living which will not permit such sweet compromises; we have to solve first the problem of our inadequate national resources." However, the ice in the Japanese hearts was melted by the international harmony that transcends race and class in this great current of world history moving through the continents of America and Europe.'10
When the Japanese were due to go home via Bonn, Paris, London and the United States, Buchman put it to them to demonstrate a change of heart which would affect the leaders and peoples they would meet. While they had been at Caux the Korean war had broken out, and it was only after considering the mission which Buchman put up to them that they decided to continue as planned rather than return direct home. According to Morris Martin, they expressed doubts to Buchman whether to continue to America, partly because of expense and partly because of the strong antagonism they expected to find there. 'Of course you must go to America,' Buchman said. 'You have your biggest job to do there.' 'Then', continues Martin, 'Buchman asked for an envelope to be brought to him. Inside were some cheques. "I have had a birthday and some American friends were good to me. My thought is to turn the money over to you. Count the cheques." A Japanese banker obliged, and found nearly $9,000. "Is it enough?" asked Buchman. "Not quite," said an American who was present. "But I will make up the difference." The Japanese were deeply touched and now looked on their journey as a sacred mission.'11
They were well received throughout Europe, and as they left Britain for America The Observer printed the delegation's farewell message on its front page. It expressed the group's reaction to the news from Korea. 'We hope in future as a nation to show by our deeds that we have found a change of heart and that we can make our contribution to the remaking of the world,' they said. 'Russia has advanced in Asia because the Soviet Government understands the art of ideological war. It fights for the minds of men. We appeal to the Governments and peoples of the West to do the same - to make themselves expert in the philosophy and practice of moral re-armament, which is the ideology of the future. Then all Asia will listen.'12
Buchman made a deep impression on most of the Japanese and during their travels and on their return home they frequently quoted words he had said to them. Mayor Hamai of Hiroshima, speaking on a nation-wide radio programme in the United States on the anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb, stated, 'Dr Buchman has said, "Peace is people becoming different." This hits the nail on the head. I for one intend to start this effort from Hiroshima. The one dream and hope left to our surviving citizens is to re-establish the city as a pattern for peace.'
When they visited the United States Senate Vice-President Alben Barkley greeted each of the delegation personally, conducted the Diet members to seats in the chamber and expressed the hope that the long friendship between Japan and America, broken by the war, might be resumed. The senior Japanese representative, Chojiro Kuriyama, said, 'We are sincerely sorry for Japan's big mistake. We broke almost a century-old friendship between the two countries. We ask your forgiveness and help. We have found in Caux the true content of democracy.'13The Senate gave him a standing ovation. The House of Representatives next day was equally responsive.
A New York Times editorial on this occasion noted that it was less than five years since the atomic bombs had fallen on Japan, and wrote, 'The Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were among yesterday's visitors... For a moment one could see out of the present darkness into the years when all men may be brothers.'14 The Saturday Evening Post more colloquially wrote, 'The idea of a nation admitting that it could be mistaken has a refreshing impact...Perhaps even Americans could think up a few past occasions of which it could safely be said, "We certainly fouled things up that time.'"15
On their return home the Japanese initiated fresh approaches between management and workers which bore rich fruit in the years ahead. They also influenced some turbulent debates in the Diet by their moderation and the underlying unity between members of different parties created at Caux.
In July 1951, when the Korean war was still raging and the United States trying to create the mutual defence pact which later became SEATO, an Asian delegation from Japan, China, Malaya, Burma, Ceylon and India formed the nucleus of a conference which Buchman called in Los Angeles with the theme of the reconstruction of Pacific relations. Here he gave the Asians a platform from which to talk to America, and particularly to Washington. Their stories showed how different these lands were, how each had its own pride in its traditions and aspirations, and how, by implication, it would be necessary to respect these if any pact was to function. Anti-Communism and pro-Americanism, the Asians made clear, were not broad enough philosophies to hold together such divergent peoples. Nor was the mere provision of 'hardware' and dollars by the United States adequate. Something positive was needed - an idea which could be lived out by both Americans and Asians, but which Americans would need to experience before they could export it to others. Buchman believed that America's blindness to this ideological factor was America's greatest weakness in her approach to the world, just as the understanding of it was Soviet Russia's greatest strength. He insisted that a new book by Peter Howard and Paul Campbell should be America needs an Ideology.
The unexpected news that the Japanese Peace Treaty would be signed in September 1951 in San Francisco was suddenly announced. Once more, as in 1945, Buchman had unknowingly anticipated the event. Months earlier Buchman had engaged a theatre in that city for that period to show a musical, Jotham Valley, which illustrated, through the true story of two feuding brothers in Nevada, how deep divisions could be overcome and hatreds healed. When the plenipotentiaries arrived, it became clear that much healing still needed to take place. The United States had convinced most of her World War II allies that the time was ripe to sign a treaty, which would be followed in eight months by Japan's full independence. But Russia boycotted the conference and, among the participants, Australia, New Zealand and others expressed serious reservations about the integrity of an independent Japan. So the delegates met in an atmosphere of tension, the Japanese finding themselves almost totally segregated except during the official business of the conference.
Buchman, Twitchell and Entwistle knew five of the six official Japanese delegates, as well as a number of the alternative delegates. Much of their work was done around a table for twelve at the Mark Hopkins Hotel which Buchman booked for lunch nearly every day, and often for breakfast and dinner as well. There delegates from most of the other nations met the Japanese, while in the evening large groups of them attended Jotham Valley. On his return to Japan, Hisato Ichimada, the Governor of the Bank of Japan and a principal delegate, told Mitsui and Entwistle that Buchman's efforts had been the one means of bridging the gulf with the delegates of other nations at the conference.16
On the eve of the official signing five of the Japanese signatories dined with Buchman, and at the signing itself Buchman introduced them to Robert Schuman. A week later Schuman was in Ottawa for a NATO conference. Buchman was in Ottawa too, and Schuman and the Danish Foreign Minister, Ole Bjørn Kraft, came to tea with him at the MRA centre there. As they left, Schuman said to his host, 'The world is not big enough for you. You made peace with Japan before we did.' Back in the house Buchman, according to one present, 'led his friends in a spirited, if discordant, rendering of a favourite song, "After the ball is over".'17
During these years Buchman's name was often put forward as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1951 he was nominated by groups of parliamentarians from Britain, France, Sweden, Denmark and Greece, as well as by many individuals such as Walter Nash, leader of the Opposition in New Zealand, and Ahmed Yalman, the editor of Vatan in Turkey. He was short-listed but the Prize went elsewhere, as it did in 1952 when parliamentary groups from Japan, the United States, Italy, Holland and Switzerland added their voices to the others. Buchman's comment on one occasion was, 'But I haven't made peace between nations. Let's get on with the work.'
1 Martin MSS.
2 Basil Entwistle, unpublished memoirs, II, p. 6.
3 ibid., II, p. 9.
4 ibid., II, p. 11.
5 Buchman, p. 166.
6 ibid., p. 195.
7 Entwistle, II, p. 15.
8 Basil Entwistle: Japan's Decisive Decade (Grosvenor, 1985), p. 37.
9 ibid., p. 42.
10 ibid., p. 44.
11 Martin MSS.
12 The Observer, 25 July 1950.
13 24 July 1950.
14 NewYork Times, 19 July 1950.
15 Saturday Evening Post, 29 July 1950.
16 Entwistle: Japan’s Most Decisive Decade, p. 67.
17 Martin diaries, 20 September 1951.