Tokyo Japan Temple

The Tokyo Japan Temple Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Tokyo Japan Temple. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Tokyo Japan Temple Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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Announced: Aug. 9, 1975.

Location: Opposite the Arisugawa Park; 5-8-10 Minami Azabu, Minato-Ku, Tokyo 106-0047, Japan; phone: (81) 3-3442-8171.

Site: 18,000 square feet (about 0.46 acres).

Exterior finish: Structural steel and reinforced concrete faced with 289 panels of precast stone, having the appearance of light gray granite.

Architect: Emil B. Fetzer, Church architect. Architect’s local representative, Masao Shiina.

Resident engineer: Sadao Nagata.

Construction superintendent: Yuji Morimura for the Kajima Corporation.

Rooms: Baptistry, celestial room, two ordinance rooms, five sealing rooms.

Total floor area: 52,590 square feet.

Dimensions: Ground floor is 103 feet by 134 feet; upper levels are 103 by 105 feet. Height to square is 70.5 feet, to top of tower, 178 feet.

Design: Modern, one spire.

District: 45 stakes and districts in northern Japan and Vladivostok, Russia.

Groundbreaking, site dedication: Neither was held.

Dedication: Oct. 27-29, 1980, by President Spencer W. Kimball; 7 sessions.

Dedicatory Prayer

Done by President Spencer W. Kimball

Our Father in Heaven, Thou who hast created the heavens and the earth and all things therein. Thou most Holy One, who art perfect in mercy and love and truth; in the name of Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, we are met this day in this sacred building, to dedicate it unto Thee, our living God. We present to Thee this beautiful temple, provided by the sacrifice of Thy people in the Orient who love Thee and Thy Son.

We are thankful that Thou didst send Thine Only Begotten Son to this earth to be our Savior, and that in this last dispensation Thou didst send a Prophet, Joseph Smith, called long before his birth to bring about the restoration of the gospel. We are thankful that Thou and Thy Beloved Son didst appear to him in person to reopen the heavens and to restore to the world the knowledge of Thee and Thy Son and establish Thy Church and kingdom in its fulness by the power of Thy holy priesthood.

Our gracious Father, Thou hast permitted us to build and dedicate unto Thee for Thy glorious work of salvation for the living and the dead, a score of holy temples upon the earth, among which is this wonderful, well appointed temple in this beautiful land of Japan. We are grateful, too, that there are ten more temples now being built, or soon to begin construction, a total of thirty throughout the world.

We thank Thee, Holy Father, that Thou has inspired through Thy latter-day prophets the building of these many temples in which sacred ordinances are administered for both the living and the dead.

We also thank Thee, our Father, for the perfect organization of Thy Church today. Please reveal to the First Presidency of Thy Church Thy mind and will in all things necessary for the benefit, blessing, and welfare of Thy people. Give to them heavenly wisdom to guide them in giving inspired leadership to Thy ever-growing earthly kingdom.

Remember in love Thy servant whom Thou hast called to be Thy Prophet in this day to all mankind, and whose days have been many upon the earth. Lengthen his span of mortal life and give him a listening ear, and give to him health and strength and the powers and gifts Thou seest are needful to lead Thy people.

Give to the Twelve Apostles, Thy special witness, a rich endowment of Thy Holy Spirit and bless them with vision and judgment and wisdom.

Our Father, we thank Thee for all our many blessings. We are thankful for the more than thirty thousand missionaries who are dedicating themselves to the cause of spreading the gospel to all of the nations of the earth. Give them wisdom, faith, and devotion to take the gospel to the truth seekers and honest in heart everywhere. Bless them with joy in their labors and success in their ministry of love.

Influence, we pray Thee, the rulers of nations and governments of the earth, that any barriers which stand in the way of the spread of Thy gospel may be removed, that Thy truths may permeate every corner of the earth so that, as directed by Thy Son, our Savior, every nation, kindred, tongue and people may hear the message of salvation and exaltation.

Our Father, may peace abide in the homes of all Thy saints. Bless the poor and the needy of Thy people. Let not the cry of the widow and the orphan, the lonely and oppressed go unheeded.

We especially pray Thee, our Father in Heaven, to bless and bear up the youth of Zion in all the world. Shield and preserve and protect them from the adversary and from the words and works of wicked and designing men. Keep Thy people, Father, in the straight and narrow path that leads to live eternal. Preserve them from the pitfalls and snares that are laid at their feet. May our children grow in testimony of the divinity of this work and preserve them in purity and in truth. Please bless us that we may be able to stir the youth of Zion with a desire for eternal marriage in Thy holy temple.

Wilt Thou richly endow the sisters of the Church, our wives, our mothers, our daughters, with the spirit of their exalted callings and responsibilities. Father, Thou knowest our great love for them. So, also, in their various needs, pour out precious gifts of wisdom, faith and knowledge upon them.

Kind Father, bless all those who come to this temple, that they may do so with humble hearts, in cleanliness, and honor, and integrity. We are grateful for these saints, for their devotion and their faith, for their worthiness and their determination to be pure and holy.

Bless them as they come into this holy house for their endowments, sealings, marriages, anointings, and other ordinances. Bless this temple that it may be a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of glory, a house of eternal marriage, a house of sealings, and Thy house, the house of God, wherein Thy holy saving work may be done for the salvation of both the living and the dead.

Bless, we pray Thee, the presidency of this temple and the matron and all the officiators herein. Endow them with wisdom and with the gift of discernment. Help them to create a holy atmosphere in this place so that all ordinances may be performed with love and a sweet, spiritual tone that will cause the members to greatly desire to be here, and to return again and again.

Bless also the workmen, the guards, the gardeners, and all others who attend to the mechanical, the laundry and kitchen, the grounds and other physical needs of this sacred edifice. Remember also in Thy mercy all those who have labored in the erection of this house, or who have, in any way, by their means or influence, aided in its completion.

We are jubilant this day, our Holy Father, and have hearts filled with praise to Thee that Thou hast permitted us to see the completion of this temple and to see this day for which we have so long hoped and toiled and prayed.

Today we dedicate this holy temple unto Thee, with all that pertains unto it, that it may be a house of prayer, a house of praise, a house of worship; that Thy glory may rest upon it; that Thy holy influence may be here continually; that it may be the abode of Thy beloved Son, our Savior; that angels who stand before Thy face may be the hallowed messengers who shall visit it.

We pray that all who enter the threshold of this, Thy house, may feel Thy power and be constrained to acknowledge that Thou hast sanctified it, that it is Thy house, a place of holiness.

We pray Thee, Heavenly Father, to accept this building in all its parts from the foundation to the steeple that graces the highest point.

We pray Thee to bless the walls, partitions, floors, ceilings, roof, the elevators, stairways, doors, windows and other openings; all things connected with the lighting, heating, and sanitary facilities, and all articles used in or connected with the holy ordinances administered here. Bless the veils and the altars, the baptismal font and the oxen on which it rests.

We pray Thee to bless all the furniture, seats, locks, and fastenings and all other appliances and appurtenances found in this temple and the annexes and all ornamentation thereon, the painting, the gilding, the bronzing, the fine work in wood and metal of every kind, the embroidery and needlework.

O Lord, we pray Thee to bless and sanctify the grounds on which this temple stands, and with it, the fences, the walks, paths, the trees, plants, flowers and shrubbery that grow in this area. May they blossom beautifully and be pleasant to all and a haven of peace and rest for holy meditation. May their beauty add sacredness and holiness to this glorious temple program.

Father, preserve this building, we beseech Thee, from anything which might cause it harm, destruction by fire, or flood or the rage of the elements, shafts of lightning, blasts of hurricanes, upheavals of earthquakes, and disturbing elements of all kinds.

Confirm upon us the spirit of Elijah, we pray Thee, that we may redeem our dead and also connect ourselves with our fathers back to the beginning in unbroken links welded by Thy holy priesthood.

Almighty Father, increase within us the power of faith. Strengthen us by the memories of Thy glorious manifestations and blessings of the past.

And now, our Father, we praise Thee; we glorify Thee; we worship Thee. Day by day we shall magnify Thee and give Thee thanks. We pray Thee in the name of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, to hear these, our humble petitions, and accept this, Thy holy house.

By the power of the holy priesthood Thou hast given us, we dedicate this building, and all that pertains to it, to Thee, our Holy Father, and ask Thy blessings upon it, in the worthy name of Thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen and Amen and Amen.

Church members rejoice over temple in southern Japan

By Greg Hill

Church News staff writer

FUKUOKA, JAPAN — In the midst of one of Japan’s largest and busiest international centers, members of the Church gathered in a setting of peace and reverence for the dedication of the Fukuoka Japan Temple on Sunday, June 11, 2000.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, who was accompanied by his wife, Marjorie, dedicated the island-nation’s second temple in four sessions. It was a pleasant day, warm and free of rain even though the area is in its rainy season.

Tears flowed freely throughout the day, inside and outside the temple, as members emotionally expressed their gratitude to be in the presence of the president of the Church under such circumstances. They have a special affection for President Hinckley because of the close association he has had with their country since he was a new General Authority. He was assigned to oversee the Church in Asia as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve in 1960 and supervised the work there for a total of 11 years. He has made dozens of trips to Japan over the past 40 years. He was in Fukuoka for a fireside during an Asian tour four years ago and announced in 1998 that a temple would be built in Fukuoka.

Japan’s closest major port to mainland Asia, Fukuoka is a dynamic, sprawling city with a population of 1.3 million. The heart of the city is a bustling area of shopping, government and transportation centers. But a short distance from the heart of the metropolis are forested hills where a zoo and botanical gardens are located. The temple is tucked up against one of those hills, which provides a lush, green backdrop.

One of the smaller temples, it is unique in its construction. The main entrance of the white-granite-faced edifice opens onto the hillside on which it is situated. Underneath the temple, opening to the bottom of the hill, is a dark-gray faced lower level which includes a new mission home, mission offices and an apartment for the temple president. It is an efficient use of property in an area where a standard building lot can be priced at more than a million dollars.

Several longtime members of the Church in Japan remember when the Church obtained the property, a time that roughly corresponded with the beginning of President Hinckley’s service in the area.

The property then was “out in the boondocks,” said Eugene M. Kitamura, a Fukuoka native who is now director of temporal affairs for the Church in the Asia North Area. He joined the Church while attending a university in Tokyo, but returned to Fukuoka the following summer and attended Church in what had been a restaurant on the lot. He said the road to the area wasn’t paved back then and, on rainy days, those going to Church were lucky not to lose their shoes in the mud.

The meetinghouse soon shared the property with a mission home. Now the Fukuoka Ward has a regular meetinghouse a few blocks away.

The temple is a great blessing for the members in the temple district, Brother Kitamura said, remembering the sacrifices of time and resources they made beginning in the 1960s to join excursions to the temple in Hawaii. That continued until the Tokyo Japan Temple was dedicated in 1980.

The new temple was also a marvel to Emiko Murakawa of the Takamatsu Branch on the island of Shikoku. She remembered from her days as a missionary in Fukuoka in 1979 the old meetinghouse and mission home on the site. “I can’t believe it,” she said as she gazed at the temple after attending a dedicatory session. She was also thrilled to see President Hinckley whom she met nearly 40 years ago, “when he was a young apostle,” at a time she was investigating the Church as a 17-year-old young woman in Sapporo, Japan.

Along with the longtime members of the Church basking in the blessing of a new temple were more recent converts.

Riyo Ogawa, the daughter of a Buddhist priest, was receiving formal training in Buddhism when she first heard about the Church in an English class taught by missionaries. She was taught the missionary lessons and felt the spirit. She wanted to be baptized, but was concerned about getting permission from her father. He struggled with her request, but did allow her to be baptized in 1993. He struggled even more when she decided to serve a mission, wondering why she wanted to go out and try to get people to change their religions. She said he wrote her one letter while she was in the Japan Tokyo North Mission, encouraging her to be committed to what she was doing and work hard.

When the temple was completed, Sister Ogawa, now a member of the Kurume Ward, Fukuoka Japan Stake, invited her father to attend the open house, and he accepted. She said her father enjoyed going into the temple and showed respect for it. He also discussed the temple in relation to Buddhist temples with Japan Fukuoka Mission President James A. McArthur.

Another relatively recent convert who attended the dedication was Marie Giusto Yasunaga of the Fukuoka Ward. She had been looking for the truth for quite a while when Kanako Osakabe, a full-time missionary serving in Fukuoka, gave her a Book of Mormon three years ago. Sister Yasunaga didn’t receive the lessons at that time but, after seeing the missionaries again a year later, decided she wanted to learn more about the Church and went to the mission office to ask for help. She said her husband wasn’t interested in hearing about the gospel, but didn’t mind if she did because he had worked with a member of the Church 10 years earlier and had been impressed with what a good man he was. Her husband also attended Church with her after she began taking the lessons and was received so warmly and with such friendship that he supported his wife in her investigation and baptism.

After she was baptized, she wanted to share the gospel with her mother, Morie Morinaga. Sister Yasunaga’s father had passed away some time before and she told her mother that she could be with him again. Her mother was touched by the Spirit and attended Church, Sister Yasunaga said. Her mother joined the Church and the two of them assisted Hatsuhiro Ohira of the Nagasaki Branch in arranging flowers that were in the Fukuoka temple during its dedication.

A week before the dedication, a three-day open house was attended by more than 4,800 people. Among them was the United States ambassador to Japan, Tom Foley. He responded to an invitation from Elder Norman Shumway and his wife, Sister Luana Shumway, public affairs missionaries in Japan. Elder Shumway, while a six-term congressman from California, got to know Mr. Foley when he was Speaker of the House. They went on some governmental trips together, including to Japan, and developed respect for each other. Elder Shumway said his guest, after being guided through the temple by Elder L. Lionel Kendrick of the Seventy and president of the Asia North Area, was impressed and glad he had the opportunity.

While the temple is newly opened, it has already been a blessing in its district. Elder Gary Matsuda, Area Authority Seventy and the vice chairman of the temple committee, said that more than 150 members were reactivated while the temple was being constructed. That group was motivated to strive for temple worthiness through the efforts of many individuals, guided by priesthood leadership, who wanted to strengthen the Church in their temple district.

Joyous reunion in Tokyo temple: Missionary, convert enjoy gospel service together

By Greg Hill

Church News staff writer

While many missionaries never know in mortality the outcome of seeds they sow, Sister Arlene May considers it a blessing that she has been able to witness the flourishing of one of the seeds she planted as a young sister missionary.

Shortly after beginning service with her husband, Curtis, as a senior missionary couple in the Tokyo Japan Temple a year ago, Sister May was doing ordinance work in the temple one day. She looked up and there stood Rumiko Fujimura, whom she had taught the gospel as a missionary in Yokohama, Japan, more than four decades earlier.

Later, Sister Fujimura’s husband, Yasuo, was called to be a counselor in the temple presidency and now the two sisters work side-by-side almost daily. During a break in their duties, the two shared their feelings with the Church News in the meetinghouse adjacent to the temple.

Then known by her maiden name, Sister Maughan was called to serve in the Northern Far East Mission in the early 1960s. Originally from Ogden, Utah, she was called from Cedar City, Utah, where she was teaching school. Her mission covered Japan and Korea, and Sister Maughan was assigned to Japan. There was no formal language training at that time, she said. On top of that, the age for sisters to serve missions was lowered from 23 to 21 shortly after she arrived in Japan, resulting in an increase of sisters in the mission from five to 30. So about five months into her mission and still struggling with the language herself, she became the senior companion to two other sisters in a threesome.

“Thank heavens for good investigators and good members,” she said. She knew enough of the language to know when a question was asked, and said, “Into my mind would come the words I needed to say.”

Japanese people flocked to the humble sister missionaries. Sister May said they were flooded with people to teach and there were baptisms every week.

A single sister who arrived at the Church to be taught was Rumiko Hoshi, now Sister Fujimura. In the Church News interview, she was eager to share her conversion experience. To help with translation, Sister Fujimura sent for the secretary to the temple presidency, Sister Yumiko Iwanaga, a lifelong Japanese member who served a mission in Arizona.

Through Sister Iwanaga, Sister Fujimura told of her upbringing in a Christian home. Her father, she said, came to believe in God through some experiences he had in World War II. He and his wife taught Christian values in the home. Rumiko and her older brother attended a Christian church. But when its minister left, they were no longer able to attend and began looking for a new church.

About that time, Rumiko was handed a tract by LDS missionaries. The address on the tract was too far away for her to visit, but she kept the piece of paper. Two years later, she received another tract from missionaries in Yokohama, this time with an address close by. She went there and met Sister Maughan and her companions, was taught and then baptized on Dec. 31, 1961.

Sister Fujimura praises her parents for the way they raised her. Through Sister Iwanaga, she said it is wonderful the gospel was restored, giving her the assurance that she can meet her parents again and live together eternally as a family.

The sisters shared with the Church News another connection between the three. Sister Iwanaga’s mother, who was a co-worker of Yasuo Fujimura’s when they were young, shared the gospel with him, leading to his conversion. That brought him and Rumiko Hoshi together in the same Yokohama branch and, with her serving as Relief Society president and he as branch clerk, a romance was sparked leading to their marriage.

“The world is small and Heavenly Father has His eye on all of us,” Sister May told the Church News.

Continuing the story, Sister May said she was Relief Society president in her Vernal, Utah, ward in 1970 and traveled to Salt Lake City to a Relief Society conference. She also attended her missionary reunion where it was announced that a group from Japan was in the city to do missionary work. Sister Fujimura was among them and the two were ecstatic when they came across each other on Temple Square. Sister May said she was thrilled to see that her friend remained faithful and was grateful to accompany her Japanese friend on her first temple visit.

And now she is thrilled again to be serving faithfully with Sister Fujimura. After a proselyting mission in London as a senior couple, Elder and Sister May returned home for a while and then decided to see if they could return to serve as temple missionaries in the Preston England Temple where a friend from their earlier mission was president. They were told that missionaries weren’t needed there, but were needed at places such as Tokyo and Seoul, Korea. Sister May revealed she had been a missionary in Japan and their current call followed.

“I just can’t keep from smiling all the time,” Sister May said about her current service, expressing faith and testimony that have borne the delicious fruit of the gospel throughout her life.

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