| It was in 1873 when the ban of Christianity, which had persecuted Christians
for more than 200 years, was lifted. However, there were Westerners who
settled in Japan after the Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed between
Japan and the United States in 1858, and some of them had the desire to
bring Christian messages to the people in Japan.
Regarding the Bible operation on a large scale, the National Bible Society
of Scotland (NBSS, now called the Scottish Bible Society) set up its branch
in Yokohama in 1875, followed by the American Bible Society and the British
and Foreign Bible Society in 1876. In 1880, these Bible Societies published
the New Testament translated by the committee formed by Protestant missionaries
and some Japanese. Seven years later, they completed the Old Testament.
Further more, they published the Braille bible(1921) and the Japanese-English
New Testament(1881). It should be noted that these Bible Societies were
not only publishers of the Bible but also financial supporters for the
translation work carried out in those days.
| In 1937, with the help of the abovementioned Bible Societies, the Japan
bible Society(JBS) was established. The time, however, was very tough for
JBS to promote Bible cause. When World WarII broke out in Europe,
Japan regarded Britain and the United States as enemies due to a triple
alliance formed with Germany and Italy.
Therefore, Christianity was regarded
as the enemy's religion and JBS was taken as pro-British and American.
Consequently, JBS had no choice but to refuse to receive financial support
from them. Bible production and distribution were controlled by the Japanese
government and paper for Bible production was never rationed to JBS. The
number of Bible distribution in 1945 was only 23, for JBS could only provide
Bibles already in stock to those who requested.
After the WWII,
Japan was occupied by the United States. Even though the social
condition in Japan was very chaotic, Christianity had a chance to revive.
activities were undertaken and American missionarieswho used to stay in
Japan started reaching out to the Japanese people. 2,390,000 copies of
the Japanese Bible were produced in the US and presented to Japanese people
during the period between 1945 to 1948, which was followed by "the
10 million Bible distribution movement" from 1949 to 1951.
beginning, JBS had been supported financially by ABS and BFBS. In 1969,
however ,with Japan's rapid economic growth following the termination of
the WWII, JBS decided to become a self-supporting Bible Society.
It was a big step taken by JBS, which used to be a "contributed" Bible
Society, to become a "contributing" Bible Society after 93 years.
Since then JBS has not only been serving the Japanese people but also other
Bible Societies that are not yet independent.