The Words of the Inoue Family

Korean and Japanese Leaders

Anne Inoue
January 24, 1999

A. The Japanese Movement Has Had Foreign Leadership For Only The Last Five Years

As far as I understand the Japanese church was virtually all Japanese until about 1994. In 1994, the whole church came under one Korean National Leader, a position occupied at various times between then and now by Myung-Dae Kim and Dr. (Bo Hi) Pak, and currently by Jung-Ok Yoo, who recently changed his name to Dae Haeng Yoo.

At first there was just this one Korean National leader, and the rest was still Japanese. A few years later, Korean middle management came in too. I think the current configuration is one overall Korean leader, then a Japanese president, then four Korean National Messiahs, and 50 or so Japanese District leaders. I may have missed a few layers, but the point is, the leadership is layered - Korean, Japanese, Korean, Japanese. Clearly Father had some large scale exercise in International cooperation in mind when he devised this arrangement.

I don't have any clear analysis as to changes in the general operation or atmosphere of the church before and after the infusion of foreign leadership, but one Japanese member of my acquaintance referred to the first period under Korean leadership as a kind of occupation / payback / restoration of the Japanese occupation of Korea. This was when Myung-Dae Kim was in charge. Later, when Dr. Pak took over, I heard that things were better, due I believe, to the fact that he has lived overseas since the late 50's and has worked with many, many different people during that time.

Things are distinctly more difficult in the Japanese movement now financial than several years ago, but I believe this has more to do with the national economy than the reorganization of the leadership.

2. The Korean And Japanese Movements Are Almost Completely Homogenous Groups

One huge difference I noticed between the church as I know it in the US and the Korean and Japanese churches when I moved over here, was a contrast between a homogeneous and non-homogeneous movement, in as much as the US church had a lot of foreigners in it when I was there--Japanese, South American, European, etc., but the Korean church when I arrived was mostly Korean, the exceptions being limited mainly to Japanese wives from the 6000, 1800 and 777 blessings, and mobilized western members from the 1989 1275 couple blessing. With 400+ churches in Korea, this amounted to 2-3 Japanese wives and 1-2 western members per 100-200 member congregation.

It is still much the same, although the number of Japanese wives is constantly rising, and now also Thai and Filipina wives. There is a very thin smattering of western wives who have joined Korean husbands, and a slightly large group of western husbands with Korean wives who have chosen to settle down in Korea. Finally there are perhaps 30-40 foreign blessed families living here for various reason. Again, since they are spread out over several hundred congregations, the general impression is still that the Korean Church is basically populated by Koreans.

This means that one of the things that I most experienced in the US church was a bunch of people that had spent a lot of time working and living with foreigners, and had a certain awareness of how some of the differences between cultures worked. But the bulk of the Korean church member (like the bulk of Korean people) have only lived and worked with Koreans, and do not have this kind of awareness.

A footnote to this point: In an Almanac I consulted a few years ago where the proportion of different racial groups living in each country was list (US: xx% caucasion, xx% hispanic, xx% black, etc) Japan was listed as 95% Japanese and 5% Korean, and Korea was listed as 100% Korean. There were very few countries listed with 100% of their native people among their citizenry. I think this gives a clue as to the source of some of the incomprehensible behavior on the part of certain Korean members of the UC population.

C. The (Predictable) Effects Of Assigning Church Leaders From A Homogeneous Culture To Lead Church Membership In A Non-Homogeneous Situation

So when those Korean leaders get sent out from here, it is not a move from supervising the spiritual lives of an international group that happened to be living in their home country to supervising the spiritual lives of an international group that is living in a country other than theirs, but rather a move from supervising an almost totally homogeneous group of members from their own country to supervising a non-homogeneous group of members, of which their own countrymen is a very small percentage. It's not surprising, therefore, that they should have some deal of difficulty in bringing victory.

A sidelight relating to this point: Recently a Brazilian member who currently lives in Korea told me that when Korean National Messiah arrived in Brazil one of the first things he did upon arriving was to request a large black car. My impression of large black cars in the US is that they are driven by the Mafia. Perhaps my recollection is inaccurate, but in any case, if I were a church leader in the western hemisphere trying to make myself look creditable as a spiritual leader, I don't think that travelling around in a large black car with a driver would be near the top of the list.

D. Korean Leaders - Japanese Leaders

Now, it seems to me that I have heard more "complaints" about the Korean leadership than about the Japanese leadership in the western church. The Japanese leaders sent to the west are in just as deprived a state as the Koreans in the matter of having any experience in dealing with a non-homogenous group of people, since the Japanese church, likewise, is basically homogeneously Japanese. A big difference, however, is that an aspect of the fundamental Japanese character is that they are cultural chameleons--driven to fit into the group they find themselves in, and, as such, more observant of the differences between their home country and their new abode and more inclined to adapt.

E. The Gradually Changing Face Of The Japanese And Korean Movements

These days, as the number of Japanese/Korean (and other mixed Asian Blessed Couples) steadily increases, and the age of those couples also increases, Korean husbands who have chosen to live in Japan and Japanese husbands who have chosen to live in Korean are appearing in increasing numbers in the ranks of local church leaders, and I think both the Korean and Japanese churches of the upcoming decades will continue to become less homogeneous / more international / harmonized at the local level than in past decades.

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