Next UN Chief is Member of Pacifist Christian Group

Group opposes Japanese nationalism

Claim of link with Rev Moon inaccurate

Asia News reports on the religious background of Ban Ki-moon, who is most likely to be the next Secretary General of the UN:

Ban Ki-moon was born in 1944 to a rural family in South Korea. He is married with three children. A Christian, he is member of a “group without Church”, a serious organisation that emerged in Japan at the beginning of last century. Its members, mostly intellectuals, make the Gospel a source of inspiration for their private and public life.

This “group without Church” label has led to some sensationalist reporting, such as was recently seen from the Wayne Madsen Report

The Unification Church, the global enterprise of South Korean Rev. Sun Myung Moon (born Yong Myung Moon), may be attempting to take control of the United Nations through the all-but-certain election of South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General.

…Some informed UN sources are concerned that Moon lists his religious affiliation as “non-denominational Christian,” a code word often used by the “Moonies” for the Unification Church.

Asia News, however, is almost certainly referring to the Mukyokai (“Non-church”) Movement. An article by Carlo Caldarola gives some background:

The Mukyokai, or non-Church Christians, constitute one of the best known Christian movements in Japan…Founded by Uchimura Kanzo (1861-1930) in reaction to Western denominationalism, this small (about 35,000 adherents) movement is considered to be the most genuine form of Japanese Christianity. The Mukyokai reject all formal Christian institutions, having no sacraments, liturgy, professional clergy, church buildings, national headquarters, or membership rolls. Instead, this non-churchism is based on independent Bible study groups centered on the traditional teacher-disciple (sensei-deshi) relationship. The teachers have no formal training in the Bible, setting up group when inspired to do so; the group thus disintegrates when its teacher dies or retires. Most of these teachers are regularly employed in outside occupations, often as high school teachers or university professors. The Mukyokai movement has attracted members from all social strata in Japan, but it is particularly appealing to the Japanese intelligentsia –scholars, university professors, graduate students, and professionals.

…Non-Church Christians are known in Japan particularly for their uncompromising stand against social evils…Politically, they consistently opposed Shinto nationalism and Japanese imperialism, often to their great personal cost.

…Non-Church Christians consistently oppose any policies that could retard the realization of peace in Japan and abroad. Consequently, they oppose the present governmental goals of revising the Constitution and rearming Japan for defensive purposes. They also criticize any celebration of past military exploits –e.g., the Yasukuni Bill to establish a national shrine for war dead of what the Mukyokai consider a “sinful” war.

Despite Uchimura’s background as a samurai, the Mukyokai have a strong pacifist component to their beliefs. The Handbook for Spirituality in North America adds:

Today there are thousands of Mukyokai Christians in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Since they have no central organization, it is impossible to know how many there truly are. A rough estimate is that in Japan alone they number twenty to fifty thousand. They gather in homes and in public places of assembly. When there are larger gatherings, admission may be charged to cover the expenses. There are teachers and preachers, none of whom are ordained or paid professional church workers. Their influence is far above their numbers, for they are widely admired in Japanese society.