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Marist Community of Kobe



Japan is transferred to the Province of East Asia

25/09/2012: Japan

The Marist Brothers arrived in Kobe, Japan, in 1951. Today, the Institute has three Brothers in this land: Ramon Bereicua, Bernard Yamaguchi and Joseph Yoshida. The Kobe community currently belongs to the Province of the United States. Last year, the Brothers of  Kobe requested that the community be transferred to the Province of East Asia. The request was the fruit of a discernment process brought to maturity by contacts between the Provincial Council of the United States and the General Councillors responsible for the Sector, John Klein and Michael De Waas. The request was recently accepted by the Province of East Asia and Br Emili Turú has informed the Provincial of the United States that the change will come into effect in October.

We reproduce below part of the text written by Br Ben Consigli, Provincial of the United States, to the Brothers of the Province on the Marist mission in Japan.

The Japanese Mission Territory has a very interesting history. In the years following World War II, it was evident that the great Marist Province in continental China, with a membership of over 200 brothers, half of them Chinese, would come to an end as the Communists were taking control of the government. As a result of the violent Communist persecutions on the China mainland in 1950, the Brothers looked for new mission countries in Asia. European brothers who had spent many years in China sought refuge that year in the city of Kobe, Japan. To maintain community life and to extend Marist influence to the foreign colony in that city, they opened an English speaking school there. With a curriculum modeled on the British educational system, the school awarded the coveted Cambridge diploma.

In 1956, two Spanish brothers who had studied at Marian College, Poughkeepsie, were sent to Japan by Br Léonida, Superior General at the time. They were the first Marist reinforcements to arrive in Japan after the II World War. Shortly after their arrival, they were sent to Tokyo to learn Japanese. At that period, the mission in Japan belonged to the China Province. Of the two brothers, José Nicolau and Francisco J. Castellanos, the first returned to Spain, while Br Francisco J. Castellanos was econome of the school in a Kumamoto for many years. He was also director of the school during Br Patrick Francis’ sabbatical year.

In 1957, at the request of the Superior General, three Brothers from the United States went to Japan to begin the transition of the Marist Brothers International School to administration by the US Province. Brothers Daniel Michael Sullivan and Patrick Francis Tyrell were assigned to Tokyo to study Japanese, while Brother John Benedict Laroche went directly to Kobe.

With the success of the English-language school in Kobe, the Brothers expanded their mission by founding Marist High School in Kumatoto, conducted in Japanese. In 1957, Brother Patrick Francis Tyrell was appointed to oversee the construction project, and the school opened on April 12, 1961 and continues to this day.

When the United States Province was divided in 1959, the Japanese mission was entrusted to the Poughkeepsie Province until the two provinces were reunited in 2003.

In 1995, a devastating earthquake destroyed much of the city of Kobe. The Brothers began the arduous task of rebuilding the school and residence, and today the Marist Brothers International School continues its mission as a Catholic school with a Marist heritage.

In 1998, the Brothers withdrew from the Kumamoto school and turned over the administration to a lay board of directors.

By 2012, the three Brothers remaining in Japan, Brothers Ramon Bereicua, Bernard Yamaguchi and Joseph Yoshida, while retired, continue to make Jesus Christ known and loved in the way of Mary through their pastoral work in local parishes Our recent 125th anniversary Province celebrations called us to "Remember, Celebrate, and Believe!" With that in mind, we rememberwith great pride and gratitude all the efforts of so many faith-filled Marist Brothers and lay Marists who helped to build and nurture the Church in Japan over these 60+ years.

We celebratethe wonderful accomplishments of their tireless efforts in making Jesus known and loved, and we must believethat we will continue to be strengthened and encouraged to live the Marist dream given to us by Saint Marcellin, trusting, like Mary, in God's abundant blessings.

The Marist presence in Japan will continue with this restructuring with Marist Asia.


Marist Brothers who served in Japan

  • Hugh Andrew
  • Michael Beaumont
  • Basilio Ramon Bereicua
  • Gerard Brereton
  • John Byrd
  • Augustine Cabrera
  • Matthew M. Callanan
  • Peter Cassidy
  • Benignon Castilla
  • Francisco M. Castellanos
  • Dominic T. Cavallaro
  • Gregory Delanoy
  • James Devine
  • Vincent Jerome Doughty
  • Louis Charles Fojoucyk
  • George Fontana
  • Thomas Hart
  • Paul Hatanaka
  • Joseph Hayashi
  • Ronald Horbatiuk
  • George Istvan
  • Anthony Dominic Jambor
  • Fabian Jerome
  • John Kachinsky
  • Murray Kelly
  • Otto Knauer
  • George Kopper
  • Augustine Landry
  • Raymond L. Landry
  • John Benedict Laroche
  • Henry Lucian
  • Kenneth L, Mannix
  • Raphael Martin
  • Francis D. McCann
  • Timothy McManus
  • Vincent 8. Moriarty
  • Joseph Mora
  • Damian joseph Nicolau
  • Walter E. O'Clare
  • Thomas Austin O'Donnell
  • Rudolph F. N. Optiz
  • Simeon Ouellet
  • Luke Pearson
  • Stephen K. Penzkofer
  • Patrick K. Roth
  • Kieran Roth
  • Bernard Ruth
  • Daniel Michael Sullivan
  • Arthur R. Tardiff
  • Patrick Francis Tyrrell
  • Herman Urban
  • Leo Verville
  • Jose Vicente
  • Jose Vidal
  • Julio Vitores
  • Leon Stephen Weber
  • Bernard Yamaguchi
  • Joseph Yoshida
  • Marie Raphael Ziegler

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