World Interfaith Harmony Week Celebrated in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan - A commemorative event of the United Nations’ annual “World Interfaith Harmony Week” was hosted by UPF-Japan on January 29 in Tokyo as an opening program of an Ambassadors for Peace Council Meeting.

After the moderator’s introductory remarks on the World Interfaith Harmony Week and its significance, Rev. Taishu Nara, a Shinto priest who led the program, blew a stone whistle, which was a ritual for inviting the gods and offered a purification prayer. Then, Mr. Kumar Raiv, a research scholar of the Hindu Cultural Exchange, prayed for peace, and Rev. Nichiko Yoshida and Rev. Jiei Shizuka, who are Buddhist monks, chanted a sutra harmoniously. Rev. Toru Miyahara, a Christian pastor, read verses from the Revelation of the New Testament and offered a prayer for welcoming the Lord at the Last Days.

Representatives of each religion lit the candles after their prayer, and the program was concluded by a silent prayer by all participants. They all prayed for the realization of religious harmony as well as for a peaceful world.

The Interfaith Harmony program had created a peaceful and brisk atmosphere within the Council Meeting that followed. Mr. Seiichi Kikuya, the Secretary General of UPF-Japan, reported on the activities of UPF-Japan in 2010 and Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri, Vice-president of the Association of Ambassadors for Peace-Japan, announced the basic guidelines of activities for Ambassadors for Peace in 2011.

Around 50 Ambassadors for Peace participated in the meeting, and many of them said, “It would be a good idea to start the meetings with an interreligious program like we did today as part of the UN-initiated project. Then, we can discuss in a sacred atmosphere, and the deliberations will be peaceful.”

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