Mr. Saichiro Fujita was born in 1886 in Japan and was the only Japanese bahai serving in the Holy Land (as to the best of my knowledge). He went to America in 1903 because he wanted to complete his education in America. He became a Bahai in 1905 after having come in contact with Mrs. Kathryn Frankland. The story of how he came to be a servant in the Holy Land is interesting. It all began in America when He met Abdul-Baha.

Mr Fujita met the Master in Chicago. Mr. Fujita recounts the following:

“I finished my, ah, high school in California, then I went from there to Cleveland, Ohio. From there I, ah, wish to attend, ah, University of Michigan, but, ah, 1912, `Abdu’l-Bahá came to United States. From, uh, then I went to Chicago to meet Him. That’s when really my Bahá’í, ah, life began. I was in Cleveland, Ohio, there was a Bahá’í, Doctor Barton-Peek. She informed me `Abdu’l-Bahá in Cleveland, and I was away. I didn’t get the message the next morning. Then, immediately, I went Doctor Barton-Peek’s office. I ask, message just received, I can call or not. She says, “Well, too bad that `Abdu’l-Bahá just left.” I says, “Well, I’m very sorry I was away, I couldn’t meet Him. When can I make contact with `Abdu’l-Bahá?” Says, “The best thing is you can wire to Mr. Windust in Chicago, maybe he will tell you just when to come to Chicago.” So immediately, I wired to Mr. Windust, he says he’s waiting for any time for arrival of `Abdu’l-Bahá. So, I took opportunity, I went to Chicago. About 8 o’clock in the evening He arrive in Chicago. He was very nice. At the front of LaSalle Station, embrace me, “My Japanese.” And then, He says, “You follow Me.” He is going to, ah, Mrs. True’s home. He give a lecture. We had a wonderful time in Mrs. True’s home. From there to Kenosha, I went Kenosha, you know? There’s some Bahá’í there. `Abdu’l-Bahá spend overnight. That’s where `Abdu’l-Bahá asked me to join His party to go to California.”

1910

Mr. Fujita in America in 1910

At the invitation of the Master, Mr. Fujita joined the travelling party of the Master. Mr. Fujita says:

One day `Abdu’l-Bahá asked me, “Would you like to go to California?” I said, “certainly”. Can you leave my work? I said, “yes.” I went back to Cleveland and, ah, took leave, went to California with `Abdu’l-Bahá’s party.

On their way to Colorado, they stopped at a place called Glenwood Springs. They spent some time in a hot spring and rested. In the evening, they went to have dinner; the table had been set for five persons whereas they were six in the party. The master went and asked why this was so considering they were six in the party. The waiter responded that Mr. Fujita is a servant to which the master said that it does not matter if he is a servant or not, if he is of another color or not, that does not make any difference, and that we are all one and asked them to make another place. This surprised the waiter but they made room for another seat.

The Master was often mentioned in the newspapers. Oftentimes, the newspapers would also include the travelling companions (four Persians and Mr. Fujita) in the newspaper articles. In one of these newspaper articles, in the Sacramento Union, the account said:

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s party is composed of four other Persians and a Japanese fugitive.”

During these travels, Mr. Fujita asked to be allowed to return to the Holy Land and serve the Master there. The Master accepted his request but it would be another seven years before Mr. Fujita went to the Holy Land. Mr. Fujita was to stay in America so he could study and learn what he needed in order to carry out special services in the Holy Land.

In 1919, Mr. Futija started his journey to the Holy Land. He tells himself, in an interview the following

He [the Master] says I should study first of all electricity and horticulture, many instruction, practical knowledge. `Abdu’l-Bahá wished me to come to Holy Land very early. But war broke out 1914, so I remained until war is over. `Abdu’l-Bahá sent for me, 1919, I was able to come to Holy Land.

Then I, ah, had instruction `Abdu’l-Bahá, to “Fujita should come to Holy Land in way of Atlantic.” New York to, ah, Europe. Italiah, Naples. I stay in, ah, Naples long, one month to get my visa. Difficult in coming to Haifa. Because I wire to `Abdu’l-Bahá, “I’m returning,” then through `Abdu’l-Bahá, so Lord Allenby wired to consulate in Rome issue the passport, the visa, arrived in Haifa.

So finally, after seven years, Mr. Fujita arrived to the Holy Land where he served in many ways. He maintained and was one of the drivers of the Masters car, he worked with some of the electrical wiring, attended and assisted with maintaining the gardens and also helped with taking care of the pilgrims.

Haifa

Mr. Fujita riding a Camel in Haifa

When the Master passed away, the Greatest Holy Leaf was given the responsibility to oversee the affairs of the Cause while the Guardian was preparing himself for being the Head of the Faith. During this time, Mr. Fujita assisted the Greatest Holy Leaf by writing letters as he could write in English.

After the passing of the Master, Mr. Fujita remained steadfast in the Covenant and served the Guardian. Around 1928, the Guardian had worries about the safety of Mr. Fujita (the looming of WWII) and therefore arranged for Mr. Fujitas return to Japan. Mr. Fujita remained in Japan until 1955 when he was granted permission to return to the Holy Land.

Mr. Fujita was present when the Will and Testament of Abdul-Baha was read and gives the following account.

Will of, ah, `Abdu’l-Bahá read in Number seven. In the center of the hall! That room! Oh, we had the biggest, ah, meeting there. All sitting on floor. A prominent Bahá’í, from Egypt, he read the Will, right in the corner, and everybody faced, and everybody sat around, even the Nakazeen, some of the Nakazeen was among us, violator. Very touching ceremony. Oh, from early in morning, we had a meeting, ah, to go some time, to circulate all the Will of `Abdu’l-Bahá.

Every time mention, ah, Shoghi Effendi’s name, everybody arise. Very respectable, very. That’s why the Shoghi Effendi is be Guardian of the Cause. …. The Will of `Abdu’l-Bahá was read, everybody consented, Shoghi Effendi is the Guardian of the Cause. That’s final, nobody object, and then after the passing `Abdu’l-Bahá, the reign of Guardian, Shoghi Effendi.

He continued to serve with devotion until May 7th of 1976 when he passed way in Haifa (he is buried in the Bahai Cemetery). Mr. Fujita thus served the Master, the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice. The Universal House of Justice sent the following message to the National Spiritual Assembly of Japan after his passing.

“DEARLY LOVED TIRELESS STEADFAST SAICHIRO FUJITA PASSED TO ABHA KINGDOM AFTER LONG YEARS SERVICE SACRED THRESHOLD STOP HIS RANK IN VANGUARD FIRST JAPANESE BELIEVERS HIS LABOURS WORLD CENTER HIS DEDICATION HUMILITY SINCERITY LOVE WILL FOR EVER BE REMEMBERED AND PROVIDE SHINING EXAMPLE TO RISING GENERATIONS JAPANESE BAHAIS WHO WILL VIEW WITH PRIDE DISTINCTION CONFERRED UPON HIM STOP PRAYING HOLY SHRINES PROGRESS HIS RADIANT SOUL UNDER LOVING GRACE HIS MASTER AND GUARDIAN BOTH OF WHOM HE SERVED SO WELL.

1968

Mr. Fujita in 1968

Once when Mr. Fugita was asked about the bounty of serving the Master, he said:

I never felt that I could do very much for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. One thing I did was perhaps acceptable—sometimes I made Him laugh.”

In He Loved and Served: The Story of Curtis Kelsey, it says:

The Master loved Fujita dearly, showering special care over the precious pearl from Japan. Every day the two would have breakfast together – alone. It was a time of peace, when the Master could bask in the light of Fujita’s purity, not having to meet any demands. Often their breakfasts were feasts of laughter, especially after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá asked Fujita to grow a beard. When full-grown, it was at best a thin collection of long hairs, nothing like the thick luxuriant beards Persians grow. The Master enjoyed stroking Fujita’s wispy beard, usually making Him laugh. 

 

Tablets of Abdul-Baha addressed to Mr. Fujita

O thou fresh plant in the garden of the Love of God!

What thou hast written was considered. It was an evidence of following in the Pathway of Guidance, and a proof of the attraction of the heart to the Beauty of His Majesty, God.

Consider what bounty God has manifested for thee, whence thou art and from whence are we. Yet, nevertheless, such a candle of love is burning in the hearts that its light is radiating from the East to the West and from the West extending to the East.

Rest assured thy name is registered in the Book of God, and it is hoped that thou mayest enter the Paradise of the Kingdom and find stability; to reach that which is the cause of the progress of the world of humanity in the world and in the Kingdom, and with perceiving eye, attentive ear, eloquent tongue and radiant face may serve in the Vineyard of God and spread the Divine Glad Tidings. If thou art confirmed as thou oughtest to be, thou wilt certainly establish an eternal Kingdom. This Kingdom is greater than that of Mikado, for the sovereignty of the Emperor of Japan is for numbered days, but this sovereignty is lasting and will stand unto the Eternity of Eternities.

That sovereignty can be hidden under one handful of dust, that is when Mikado goes beneath the handful of dust, he is entirely effaced and erased, but this Kingdom withstands the greatest revolution of the worlds, and will stand with perfect stability unto eternity. The former kingdom is established by the power of the sword, burning fire, devouring, and the shedding of blood, while this Kingdom is built upon freedom, glory, greatness and the love of God. Consider how much difference there is between them.

 

 

References:

Traces That Remain: A Pictorial History of the Early Days of the Bahá’í Faith among the Japanese by Barbara R. Sims, Tokyo: Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Japan, 1989

Interview of Sachiro Fujita by Sylvia Ioas, 1975

Compilation Japan Will Turn Ablaze

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