Monday, March 14, 2011

Born A Japanese Samurai, And Truely Lived As A Jesuit


Father Paul Yachita Tsuchihashi, S.J. a former samurai warrior who lived to be one of the oldest Jesuit priests in the world, died recently at Sophia University, a Catholic college in Tokyo. He was 98 and an authority on the Chinese language.

In his youth Tsuchihashi wore the two swords signifying membership in a samurai warrior family, but he became attracted to Christianity. He entered the Jesuits at 22, was baptized “Paul” and journeyed to China to enter a Jesuit novitiate.

He pursued his studies in Paris, developing a knowledge of astronomy that led to his appointment as observatory director at the Jesuit Aurora University in Shanghai. When the order founded Sophia University in Tokyo in 1913 Father Paul returned to his homeland and remained on the faculty until his death. During World War II he was president of the university.

In recent years he had been proof reading a new 13 – volume Chinese dictionary.

"I believe I can finish the job by the time I am 100,” he said on his 95th birthday. Finding an average of mistake per page in a work which already had been checked by leading scholars, the priest corrected six of the 13 volumes before he died.

Link (here) to the magazine entitled Black Belt published in July 1965
Photo (here)

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