(Investigator 106, 2006
Junzo Akashi (1889-1965) was a Japanese Jehovah's Witness (JW) who established the cult in Japan. Converted in 1922 he kept the faith for 25 years, including years of imprisonment and torture.
After World War
revisions that JWs had brought out and was declared a hypocrite and
Watchtower in Japan
The Watchtower cult or "Russellites", which became JWs in 1931, made its first contact with Japan in 1911.
The cult's president Charles T Russell, and a number of followers, made a world tour by steamship, which docked at various ports where Russell gave public sermons. The tour was meant to climax the preaching work, which they believed would end in 1914, and fulfil Matthew 24:14 – "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world…"
In Japan Russell gave two speeches in Tokyo and also toured Yokohama and Nagasaki.
In 1915 F L
from Britain, visited Japan and distributed Russell's Studies in
Akashi and Todaisha
As a young man Junzo Akashi left Japan and went to the USA where he joined a Protestant Church.
In 1922 he
Watchtower cult and preached to Japanese Americans in California. A
by him published in The Watchtower said in part:
Two congregations resulted in California from Akashi's efforts.
Akashi to Japan to
open a Branch in Kobe.
He named his activities Todaisha meaning Lighthouse Company.
A report by
JW efforts in Japan
appeared in The Messenger (a JW publication in newspaper
He described the Organization's premises and reported that 170 people
baptized in five years most of whom left when Rutherford brought out a
In the 1930s Japan's military regime restricted freedom of speech and put western organizations under increased scrutiny.
Akashi and JW colporteurs were arrested in 1933 for infringing the Public Order Preservation Law which prohibited irreverence toward the Japanese imperial regime. Akashi was released due to insufficient evidence, reorganized, and sent colporteurs to Japanese colonies such as Taiwan, Korea and Manchuria.
that of JWs in America
- All religions except Todaisha are inventions of Satan;
- The governments of all nations serve Satan;
- All religions, governments and businesses will perish at Armageddon, only "months" away, and only JWs would remain;
- A Kingdom that began in 1914 would take over the world;
- God requires political neutrality – including no prayers for the Emperor or the military.
This message put Japanese JWs on a collision course with Japanese authority.
In June 1939 some 130 Todaisha members were arrested – 91 in Tokyo, and others in other cities as well as in Taiwan and Korea.
with torture for
seven months. In April 1940 he and 52 others were charged with
the Public Order Preservation Law. Akashi was also charged with
and disrespect for the Emperor.
Todaisha was banned as an illegal organization.
The trial of the 53 people continued into 1942. One died of illness and another joined the army. The rest were convicted and sentenced to two to five years except for Akashi who got 12 years.
Akashi stuck to
JW/Todaisha beliefs throughout
his ordeal and was released in October 1945 when the US Army arrived.
The JW Judgment
read the new JW
publications and noticed numerous changes in doctrine.
In 1947 he wrote about this to the new JW President but received no reply.
Junzo Akashi was disfellowshipped. Most other Todaisha members likewise felt disillusioned with the changed doctrines and changed organizational structure and also left.
The verdict on
of JWs was:
This verdict was repeated in 1973:
This illustrates what happens to millions of JWs. Believing they're getting "the truth", and Armageddon and paradise are "just ahead", they preach and sacrifice education and careers. Prophecy fails, "Bible truth" keeps changing, excuses become less convincing, and doubts arise. Initially they follow the Organization's instructions to "show humility", "wait on Jehovah" for clarification, and be "obedient to God".
it any more and
They receive no compensation for the hoax practiced on them but instead get harsh judgment that often includes verbal abuse.
Akashi, in line with JW doctrine, would have awaited Armageddon and paradise on Earth in 1925, 1926-1928, 1932, 1936, 1941/1942 and also any time in the 1940s. Instead he got six years of prison and torture followed by demands for more work for the Organization with no proof that this time the prophecies would be right.
Indeed they were
- Armageddon failed in the 1970s;
- The doctrine that the people who experienced 1914 were Earth's final generation was revised in 1995;
- The prediction of Armageddon "within our twentieth century" failed also.
1949 and Afterwards
In 1949 American JW missionaries arrived in Tokyo. They met with Akashi and a few supporters and found out that Akashi did not accept many recent JW doctrinal changes.
Akashi group faded
away and JWs became the largest Western sect in Japan.
STATISTICS FOR JAPAN