Famous Japanese signature discovered in bible from Grantham charity shop

Not a 'squiggle' but the signature of a famous Japanese church founder.
Not a 'squiggle' but the signature of a famous Japanese church founder.
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A Grantham resident was shocked to find that the pocket bible they bought from a charity shop is inscribed with the signature of a famous Japanese evangelist.

Although the name Juji Nakada is not well-known in the UK, a quick internet search by the finder, who prefers to remain anonymous, revealed that Nakada travelled the world and co-founded an evangelical church in Tokyo.

This included preaching across the British Isles when Nakada visited in 1906, which may explain how a bible with his name came to be in Grantham.

On making the discovery the buyer of the bible said: “I was quite shocked and I wouldn’t have known who he was unless I’d looked him up. I just thought it was a squiggle of someone testing a pen at first.”

Born in 1870 and the son of a samurai, Nakada suffered poverty after his father died and spent his early years at a Methodist church and schools.

In 1981 he became a Methodist missionary, and although he experienced a crisis of faith with the death of his wife and son, this prompted him to go to Chicago and enroll at the Moody Blue Institute.

While there he met evangelist Charles Elmer Cowman, with whom he was later to establish the Oriental Missionary Society back in Tokyo.

The co-founders fell out in 1911 with Cowman leading the Oriental Missionary Society and Nakada becoming instead head of the new Japan Holiness Church.

Asked what they intend to do with the book now, the finder said that they had already contacted the Ratana Temple in New Zealand, which was opened by Nakada on one of his last trips abroad before his death in 1939, to see if they are interested in having it.

Alternatively they will see if any museums would like the bible as an exhibit.