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A tribute to former WCC president for the Asia-Pacific

A tribute to former WCC president for the Asia-Pacific

Chō Takeda Kiyoko at her desk, approximately 1970.

27 April 2018

Dr Chō Takeda Kiyoko passed away on 12 April at the age of 100. The World Council of Churches (WCC), on 27 April, released a tribute.

After converting to Christianity at the age of 21, Takeda travelled to Europe as part of the Japanese delegation to the first international conference of the World Student Christian Federation in Amsterdam in July 1939.

Takeda then attended Columbia University and Union Theological College, before choosing to return to Japan on the last International Red Cross Exchange ship in June 1942. Upon returning to Japan, she was recruited as the director of the Japan YWCA’s Student Section.

In 1953, Takeda resigned from her position with the YWCA to take up an academic post at the newly-established International Christian University (ICU), where she pursued studies on the Japanese encounter with Christianity and led the university’s research programme in Asian cultural studies. She was promoted to professor before her retirement in 1988.

Throughout her many scholarly pursuits, she always strived to deepen her engagement with global ecumenical Christianity, first regularly attending WCC international meetings, then serving as the WCC President for Asia-Pacific between July 1971 and November 1975.

Chō Takeda Kiyoko “consistently worked for improving mutual understanding not only between the people of Japan and its Asian neighbors but between diverse churches and communities across Asia and the Pacific region” said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. “We express our condolences to the family of Chō Takeda Kiyoko and our profound appreciation for her life and the relationships she built as part of our own foundation for peace.”

Read more:

Full text of the WCC tribute

Tribute by the International Christian University (ICU)

Article by Chō Takeda Kiyoko published in the Ecumenical Review, July 1975