Shalom! It is with sadness that we bring news of the death of Prof. Kentaro Shiuzuki, former WSCF Secretary for East Asia Desk and Secretary for work with university teachers from 1957 to 1970. Prof. Shiuzuki died last Friday, July 9 of pneumonia in Tokyo, Japan at the age of 86. Below are excerpts from the letter sent by WSCF AP to the family fo Prof. Shiuzuki and attached is a brief background of Prof. Shiuzuki.
"Prof.Shiuzuki's contributions to the life and work of the Student Christian Movement (SCM) Japan/Student YMCA of Japan and WSCF are immeasurable. We value his contribution to the Federation with a deep sense of love, respect and thanksgiving to his life shared to all of us. After graduating from Osaka University in 1947, he immediately became the Secretary of Student YMCA of Japan, where in the following year he met John R. Mott, founder of WSCF. Soon after this meeting, Kentaro was inspired to actively share the vision of the ecumenical youth movement in Japan and participated in WSCF meetings and programs in Ceylon and Rangoon. Through his efforts he laid down the ecumenical foundation of a strong and vibrant SCM Japan (Student YMCA), an affiliate member of WSCF, surviving decades of trials, challenges and successes.
As WSCF Asia Secretary for 13 years from 1957 to 1965 based in Geneva, and Secretary for the work among university teachers based in Tokyo from 1965 to 1970, he became instrumental in the difficult task of developing and strengthening the work with university teachers and educators in the Asia region in the post World War II period and at a time when the “role of Christians in the Academic World” was a contentious topic of debate among the churches and university world. Kentaro also prepared the ground work for the WSCF regionalized structure in Asia which began to take shape in 1968. He was instrumental in launching the first leadership program for SCM Asia Secretaries, called Asia Leadership Development Center Program (ALDEC) in 1970 in Tozanso, Japan, of which many of the graduates became well-known leaders of the churches and the Ecumenical Movement in Asia."
Kentaro is survived by his wife Tomoko and son, Isaku who are both living in Japan. Interment will be on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan.
We invite and request all of you to remember Kentaro Shiuzuki in your prayers and celebrate his life and contribution to WSCF and the Ecumenical Movement. Kindly share this information to senior friends who may know Kentaro Shiuzuki.
You can offer condolences, prayers and wordsof symphaties to his family and loved ones through SCM Japan. You can write to : YURIA YOKOHAMA at email@example.com
WSCF Asia Pacific
Unit 1-2, 18/F, 280 Portland St. Commercial Bldg.
Mongkok, Kowloon Hong Kong SAR
IN MEMORIAM OF PROF. KENTARO SHIUZUKI
February 21, 1924 to July 9,2010 Professor Kentaro Shiuzuki was born on the 21st of February 1924 in Japan to Toshie and Kesato Shiuzuki.
At the young age of 19, Kentaro met a Methodist pastor in Japan which introduced him to God and Christianity. This initial encounter led him to nurture his faith and subsequently decided to be baptized as a Christian at the Kanazawa Methodist Church, six months after second World War began in 1941. During the war, he refused to worship at the Imperial Shrine and was severely punished by this act, where he was forced to do labor at the Osaka Port. When the war ended in 1945, he openly joined Bible study group and started to organize young people in the university to join the group. After graduating from the Department of Technology of the Osaka Imperial University with a degree in Metallurgy in 1947, and participating in the Summer Seminar of Student YMCA in the same year, he applied and became the Secretary of Student YMCA or Student Christian Movement (SCM)of Japan.
Kentaro’s participation on the life of WSCF began when in 1948 he first met John R. Mott, the founder of WSCF. Soon after this meeting, he developed keen interest in the vision of the ecumenical student movement and participated in the 1948 WSCF Ceylon Leader's Meeting and the 1949 WSCF Asian Regional Council Meeting. The theological debates and discussions in the WSCF inspired him take-up further training in theology. In 1951, he left Japan to begin his Bachelor of Theology Degree at Yale University and completed this in 1954. Upon his completion, he immediately returned to Tokyo to continue his work as Secretary of Student YMCA.
In September 1957, Kentaro moved to Geneva, Switzerland to join the WSCF Global Team as Secretary for East Asia Desk until 1965. From 1965 to 1970, he returned to Tokyo, Japan, as WSCF Secretary for the work with university teachers in Asia. As WSCF Asia Secretary for 13 years, he became instrumental in the difficult task of developing and strengthening the work with university teachers and educators in the Asia region in the post World War II period and at a time when the “role of Christians in the Academic World” was a contentious topic of debate among the churches and the university world. Kentaro also prepared the ground work for the WSCF regionalized structure in Asia Pacific which began to take shape in 1968. While working with WSCF in 1964, he started his research work at the University of Chicago with well-known theologians Paul Johannes Tillich, H. Richard Niebuhr, Harvey Cox.
In 1970, Kentaro organized the first Asia Leadership Development Center Program (ALDEC) for SCM Asia Secretaries at Tozanso Japan. This program has been instrumental in the formation of leaders in the Asian ecumenical movement, such as Kang Moon Kyu (Korea), Ahn Jae Wong (Korea), Marshall Fernando (Sri Lanka), Sandy Yule (Australia), Teresa Chong (Singapore), Akuila Yabaki (Fiji), Bungaran Saragih (Indonesia) and few others. In December of the same year, he completed his work with WSCF.
Following this period, in 1971 he was appointed as Vice General Secretary of the National Committee of YMCAs of Japan and from 1976 to 1984 as General Secretary of National Alliance of YMCAs of Japan. In 1984, he organized the Japan Overseas Christian Medical Service (JOCS), where he became General Secretary until 1987.
A teacher by heart, he was appointed professor of Meiji Gakuin University and opened the faculty of International studies from 1987 to 1994 and also taught at the Lutheran College soon after. Following his retirement from Meiji Gakuin University, he became a board member of Japan Christian Academy.
Kentaro is survived by his wife of 53 years Tomoko and his son Isaku, both living in Japan.