Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » In Her Own Words: Ei (Asano) Nachie Nagao, 1916 (updated with photo)
 


In Her Own Words: Ei (Asano) Nachie Nagao, 1916 (updated with photo)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 18, 2009

Ei Nachie (1892-1982) was the niece, raised as the daughter, of Tsune Nachie, the pioneer Japanese sister whose missionary work played such a major role in opening the Japanese Mission in Hawaii. The parents whom she mentions are Akakichi Asano and Fude Ishida; while Akakichi died before meeting the missionaries, Fude was a convert, having been introduced to the Church by her sister Tsune Nachie. At the time she wrote this, Ei was living with her aunt/mother in the mission home in Tokyo, where Tsune kept house for the elders. Presumably Ei’s testimony was written in Japanese and translated into English by a missionary.

(Photograph: Tokyo MIA Presidency: Ei Nachie in center, flanked by Otofumi Horikiri and Tomigoro Takagi.)

I, the same as the rest of you who will be apt to read this little article, am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and from time to time have pleasure in listening to some of the life improving selections of the Church’s publications.

At this time, even though I feel that my testimony is weak, I would like to bear it to the truthfulness of the Gospel. One day as one of the missionaries was explaining to me some of the articles of the “Young Woman’s Journal,” I had a desire to express my testimony to the people in Zion by the same means. He gave his approval to the same with the result that I humbly give my affirmation to the world that “Mormonism” is the word of God.

During the time of my early childhood my father and mother knew nothing of the teachings of the Latter-day Saints. However, they were both righteous and truth loving, my mother at the time being a member of St. Paul’s Church. My father did not join himself with any of the Christian sects which were in Japan, but spent his short life in opening up and colonizing unsettled districts of the most central parts of the island. He gave his life for the work, dying of a fever 22 years ago this spring, I being too young to have any remembrance of him. From that time until I was three years of age I was brought up under the guidance of my mother. At this age I left my mother’s house and have since lived with her elder sister.

Up until ten years ago I, the same as my mother, was a believer and follower of St. Paul’s Church, when it was my good fortune to hear and have an understanding of the Gospel as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since then I have lived in close touch with the teachings of the Church. Looking at it from a physical standpoint, one would regard it as a misfortune that I was so young deprived of home and parents; however, looking at it in another way, it is positively no misfortune on my part, but a blessing of the Lord. Through this I have been raised up under the influence of the Church. Even before I could walk I had been taught in the things pertaining to God, but somehow or other I was not satisfied, my whole soul reached out and yearned for something more, this inexplainable something was lacking. But as soon as I began studying the teachings of the Latter-day Saints this lacking something was found. It appeared as a light to my soul – it was the light from God.

One Sunday night I heard a very impressive sermon on our Prophet Joseph Smith. It impressed me so much, that when I retired for the night, I could not sleep but lay thinking of the great prophet of God. The happiness and satisfaction which followed was indescribable. For a certainty these teachings of God are complete and perfect, nothing is lacking that the soul could yearn for. To those of you who may be searching for this same light, I refer you to Matt. 7:7: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” This contains the secret whereby we may find and know of the soul-comforting words of God, know their strength and their beauty. I thank God from the bottom of my heart, for the knowledge of this Gospel, for through my searching it has been opened up to me.

This is certainly the same Church that existed upon the earth in the time of Christ, and even though the power and authority of God to man was taken away at one time, it has again, through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith, been brought to earth. I believe as firmly as any one could believe, that he was a true prophet of God, come to restore the Gospel to earth in these last days. These truths of God as a fountain of knowledge are eternal, and as we will and desire we may obtain and understand them. The more I study the words of God as revealed through the Church the firmer and deeper becomes my faith. I desire, and to the best of my ability, resolve, to always be found doing my duty as a member of the Church. If we as a whole receive persecution and opposition at the hands of those who do not believe the same as we, we have the true and everlasting Gospel of God, by which we can draw near to his ever-loving presence. Though our bodies receive persecution, our souls and spirits live in peace, for we understand the meaning of God to man. At last through it all we will stand as victors, bearing our silent testimony to the world, not through the power of numbers but by the power of God. By diligent application to the laws of God we will progress, until as conquerors of our own sins and enemies, we shall be found standing in His glory.

To do this we must follow the teachings of the Lord, striving with a pure heart at all times to gain His presence. It is from Him that our soul finds peace and enjoyment. If we rest upon man for such soul-comfort we meet just the opposite; man cannot take the place of God, in whom if we rest life will be complete. Pure and noble will be our desires as we progress on to Godliness.

Alma 7:25, is a section of the Book of Mormon that I read often: the words are forceful and the meaning deep. I think that every one of us should stamp these words upon our hearts, so that at all times we can be found treading the paths of duty, with a pure unstained character. This, however, is difficult as we look on, and see the great masses of people given up to worldly pursuits only. We must not do this, we have the Gospel of a higher life, and should constantly strive to build for ourselves heavenly mansions to last throughout eternity, not as the worldly things which pass away.

The present is the most important time of the Japanese mission; its foundation is being laid, and its strength will be in accordance with the work of the Saints, a responsibility which we all know and must face. True our numbers are few, but through the help of the Lord we can always prosper, and if we stand together in strong faith and works, those works in the end will surely be crowned. As for myself I feel, that even though the other members of the Church here should lose their faith and even backslide, I would still stand staunch, living a pure and spotless life, giving the whole of my days to the work of the Lord, in spreading His glorious Gospel to my fellow people. My closing request is that the Saints in Zion give us their faith and prayers in behalf of the Japanese mission.



7 Comments »

  1. That is a powerful testimony, Ardis.

    Thank you for sharing that.

    Comment by Brian Duffin — March 18, 2009 @ 8:50 am

  2. This was wonderful, thanks.

    Comment by Hunter — March 18, 2009 @ 9:05 am

  3. Ardis, thank you. Anything that deals with the Japanese saints is near and dear to my heart.

    Comment by Ray — March 18, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  4. Thank you, gentlemen. I was pleased to run across Ei’s familiar name and testimony so unexpectedly yesterday, but was really knocked over by finding her photograph today, completely out of the blue.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 18, 2009 @ 10:25 am

  5. Very interesting, Ardis.

    I looked through Murray Nichols’s thesis on the church in Japan and came across a few other photos of Ei, including one taken in 1949 (the image quality is far inferior to the one above).

    Comment by Justin — March 18, 2009 @ 12:04 pm

  6. Thank you Ardis. A wonderful expression of faith by a true pioneer. When I think of the church in Japan 35 years ago, far from coming out of obscurity and darkness in the midst of all the other faiths (and all the irreligion) in Japan, it makes even more remarkable the faithfulness of those early saints, when the entire population of the Church in Japan would have been less than 100.

    (One minor typo: the man on the left was likely named Horikiri–there’s no word (or name) in Japanese that has a “k” followed by an “r” without a vowel in between. It’s possible that one of the other vowels might go there–but none seem as likely as “i”. A quick google search turns up some people with that same surname, an iris garden in Tokyo named Horikiri, and the name in Kanji that makes sense even to the semi-literate: 堀切. (May the gods of Keepa allow that to appear!)

    Comment by Mark B. — March 18, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

  7. Thanks, Mark. When I typed the name from the printed caption, I thought it was odd to have two consonants together, but that was the way it was printed so I repeated it. I’ll add the “i” now.

    Justin, I’m especially glad to know that Ei made it through the war and was evidently still connected with the church as late as 1949. Thanks for checking your sources yet again.

    It must have been hard for Tsune Nachie to leave Ei (who would have been married by then) behind when she emigrated to Hawaii, knowing how few other faithful Saints there were for Ei to associate with.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 18, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI