John Toshimichi Imai

The Reverend John Toshimichi Imai (12 November 1863 – 3 September 1919, 今井 寿道) was the first Japanese born ordained priest in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, the Anglican Church in Japan.

John Toshimichi Imai
John Toshimichi Imai
Personal details
Born(1863-11-12)November 12, 1863
Tokyo, Japan
Died3 September 1919(1919-09-03) (aged 55)
Tokyo, Japan

A close associate of the Rev. Alexander Croft Shaw, he served as priest in charge of the Japanese congregation at St. Andrew's Church, Tokyo from 1894.

Early life and education

Imai was born in Tokyo, Japan on November 12, 1863. A graduate of Keio University, he was ordained priest by Bishop Edward Bickersteth in 1889.[1] Through his affiliation with the SPG, Imai was able to spend a year studying in the United Kingdom (1892-1893), including mission focused study at Pusey House, Oxford, All Hallows-by-the-Tower, London, and in Cambridge.[2][3]


During his work as priest in the Diocese of South Tokyo, Imai was noted for both his practical approach to Christian mission work and for his writing on personal ethics. Responding to the popularity in Europe and North America for the writing of Nitobe Inazō, Imai published a critical short essay on the subject of Bushido in 1906; Bushido: In the Past and in The Present.[4][5]

Together with Sir Ernest Satow, Imai represented the Diocese of South Tokyo at the Pan-Anglican Congress held in London in 1908.[6]

Imai was appointed Principal of St. Hilda's School for Girls and was the first President of the Central Theological College, Tokyo established in 1908.[7]

See also


  1. Ion, A. Hamish (1993). The Cross and the Rising Sun (2 ed.). Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Wilifrid Laurier University Press. p. 73. ISBN 0-88920-218-4.
  2. Bickersteth, Mrs. Edward (1908). Handbooks of English Church Expansion: Japan. A. R. Mowbray. p. 79.
  3. "Church Mission Work in Tokyo". London: The Guardian Newspaper. 24 November 1897. p. 4.
  4. Benesch, Oleg (2014). Inventing the Way of the Samurai (First ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-19-870662-5.
  5. Nish, Ian Hill (1997). Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, Volume 2. Curzon Press. p. 185. ISBN 1-873410-62-X.
  6. "Church Congress". The Evening Post (Wellington, NZ). 22 July 1908.
  7. Handbooks of the Missions of the Episcopal Church. New York: The National Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church. 1934. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
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