Sun Myung Moon’s Life In His Own Words

Part 24: First Steps Toward The Global Level

Father and Mr. Bong-choon Choi [Sang Ik Choi, Papasan], the missionary who between 1958 and 1964 pioneered Japan, where he was known as Nishikawa Masaru

Beginning in 1956

In 1956, just after being released from Seodaemun Prison, I went to stay at the Gabsa Buddhist temple,1 where I did research. I thought to myself, from now, Japan will become important. She is currently weak and insignificant, but the time will come when Japan will become important. We must stop regarding her as our enemy. With that in mind, for the purpose of saving Korea, I prepared to make a connection with Japan and to secretly send someone there.

That the Soviet Union and Communist China were supporting North Korea under Kim Il-sung's rule was certain. In order to break through in the work to save South Korea, I felt we had to make inroads into Japan. Although Japan had been our enemy, I decided to love Japan more than anyone else did and that my love would induce Japan to establish a condition on which God's will could flourish in Asia. Otherwise, we would not be able to find an object nation for the subject nation.

If our objectives are on a global level, we are responsible for our neighbor Japan and for other countries as well. That is why we must send missionaries to the world even if it means we are sending them down a path of suffering. If we have abundant food and live comfortably, we cannot fulfill our responsibility. We must take responsibility in difficulties.

Secretly sending a missionary overseas

During a visit to the same temple in 1958, I called a young man, Bong-choon Choi2, and told him, "You must smuggle yourself into Japan for the sake of that nation. A man must be prepared to die in order to accomplish his mission." I met him on the mountain behind the temple and instructed him to go to Japan as a missionary3, I strengthened his resolve by saying, "You should not return before you die. The way of God's will is that strict."

He stowed away on a trader's boat bound for Japan. I told him, "I will pray for you. I'll devote my heart to you without sleeping until you arrive safely in Japan." I added that I didn't want to see him again until he had accomplished his mission.

I thought to myself, "Wait for ten years." I knew entering Japan was illegal4, but I was certain that the time would come when we could freely travel to other Asian countries.... I was sure the day would come when history would justify what we were doing, and I went ahead with firm resolve. Unification Church members were going hungry then. In those days, when church members sold pictures and barely made enough to live on from day to day, I borrowed 1.5 million won to send Bong-choon Choi to Japan.

Pioneer missionary work in Japan

I told Bong-choon Choi, "If you are put in prison, you must escape for three days or a week and bring three people to join us!" The Unification Church of Japan began from those words. I can't forget the time I called Choi to the mountain behind a Buddhist temple in South Chungcheong Province and gave him those instructions in the shade of a pine tree.

Yet as soon as he went to Japan5, he was arrested.... On the way to Shimonoseki, he tried to jump off the train, but because the train was going too fast and there were many tunnels, he could not. At Shimonoseki, he was put into a repatriation center. He was waiting to be deported. If he had been sent back, all that we had planned would have collapsed.

A week from being deported, he thought of a way out. He began to fast. He fasted for a week, ten days, and continued further, eating only salt. As a result, he became sick with a fever, and he was taken to a hospital. While in the hospital, where security was lighter, he escaped.

Thus, in 1958, we began pioneer missionary work, in Japan. In those days, Korea was governed by the Liberal Party, which strongly opposed normalizing diplomatic relations with Japan. Nevertheless, under those circumstances, we educated the Unification Church members for the long term.

In Japan, how could we take the subject position and educate the Japanese people, rather than being criticized? I thought that sending a missionary was the only way to open the road to Korea being able to survive in the future. The young man who went as a missionary to Japan became a fugitive there, but he pioneered Japan for the Unification Church.

Passing beyond national limits

Even amid the most serious persecution6, my prayers and concern were not directed toward Korea. I did my very best to send missionaries to Japan and to the U.S., where no one in those days even thought of sending missionaries. Under those circumstances, I was determined to send someone to plant the seed of the Divine Principle there. Day and night, I spared no effort to accomplish that goal.

They tried to finish me off during the Liberal Party administration7, under which I was incarcerated in Seodaemun Prison. Yet I could avail myself of their help when I sent missionaries to America. After I was released from prison, I persuaded the cabinet members who had opposed me to issue passports for our missionaries. If I had not done so, we would most assuredly not have been able to prepare the foundation for victory that we have today.

When I fight in the free world, the democratic world, or with the U.S., I do not fight unfairly or deceitfully. I fight openly and squarely. I fight openly. If you want to move forward in that fight you must teach what is necessary for that nation. If you make your move without doing so, you will perish. For that reason, we need a foundation. Since 1950, we had prepared a foundation on which we later rose to go out to the world. We prepared everything in advance.

In doing my global work, I do not do it based on my own thinking as I go along. I prepare for several years in advance, according to plan. It is not easy to do something in a world where people cannot understand me and do not cooperate with me.

The early mission to pioneer America

Where was Korea to go if we did not establish a foundation in the United States, quickly forming that protective wall?

Nevertheless, everyone opposed the idea. So, I gave strategic instructions, saying, "Korea will perish if we do not quickly save the huge nation of America." I then sent three missionaries to the east and west coasts of that country.

When Miss Young-oon Kim went to the United States8, she did not just simply start witnessing. She sought out those who could communicate with the spirit world and witnessed to them by saying, "Please pray to find out what this book is about." Don't you think that's a high-level witnessing method? She told the spiritualists, "Pray to find out who I am." When the spiritualists prayed, a swift order came down to them. They were taught through revelation: "When that person opens the door and comes in, stand up straight and greet her with a deep bow. She has no money, so give her money." This is how our Unification Church began in the United States.

Preparing a financial base

We are participating across the nation in the collection of stamps9. The selling price of a stamp that you peel off will be only a few cents. It requires dedicated effort to pay attention to that one stamp and peel it off. We can say it is a noble undertaking. Those who receive awards for collecting stamps are usually young people. I have heard that many junior high school students and high school students collect stamps.

One day I told the members that they must all write letters three times a month. If you use forty stamps worth one won instead of one forty-won stamp on those letters, I said, you will be able to support the business department many times more. If you write three letters a month, you will spend a hundred and twenty won. Thus, even by using stamps that had little value, it had a good effect.

As such, our seemingly insignificant activities produced a significant profit for us throughout the nation. Paying attention to detail is an important principle that all Unification Church members should practice, so I hope all of you will do that. Until now, collecting stamps has contributed a great deal to our witnessing activities.

The membership structure

If three teams get together and form a group, one group of thirty-six people will represent the number thirty-six. This symbolizes the twelve children of Jacob, the twelve tribes of Moses and the twelve apostles of Jesus. Thirty-six symbolizes all the historic representatives for the past six thousand years.

Thirty-six men and women united is seventy-two people. That is why Jesus had seventy disciples, seventy elders centered on Moses, and Jacob had seventy family members. If Jesus, Jesus' bride-to-be and those seventy disciples had united, the number involved would have become seventy-two. Today, we have the mission to match those numbers in heaven and on earth. We must also go over that ridge.

God has directed that our members be trained very strictly this year [1958]. This year has to be a year of training, a year of hardships. It must be the year that we spiritually overcome any suffering. We have to also quickly witness to at least twelve people whose hearts match our own. Today is January 3. You must make a strong resolution. I will change your trinities every three months. No matter whom you may be with, you must be able to make unity with them.

When you see your trinity partners, you ought to think, "Given that humanity has passed through six thousand years of providential history, why have this person and I met and what kind of relationship are we in?" You must feel that it is a historic, predetermined union. In that way, three people will unite and then ten people will unite and then thirty-six and seventy must all unite.

Prayers in significant places (1958-1959)

I went to many scenic places in Korea to pray. I often prayed, "I didn't come here to trouble you. I came to bless you. I came here because I discovered that you have been longing for a true master. I will give you my love." I am an unusual person, aren't I?

I did not visit such beautiful places for sightseeing. I prayed, shedding tears. I prayed a lot. I prayed even when I went to Mt. Sorak and Mt. Sokri10. Many people were there, but had anyone come with God's true heart, the heart that those places were waiting for? I prayed, "I will be the first person to represent history."


1 The temple is in South Chungcheong Province. At some point, Father did a forty-day fast there.

2 He was born in 1925 as Choi Sang-ik. At the age of two he had moved to Japan with his family, returning to Korea when they were forced to repatriate in 1945. His father gave him the name Bong-choon when he was in his twenties. He realized the significance of the name only after joining our church in April 1957 and thereafter adopted it. During his missionary days in Japan, he went by the Japanese name Masaru Nishigawa.

3 Mr. Choi had already wanted to become a missionary to Japan. Father spoke with him at length at the temple, one purpose being to check that Mr. Choi had the requisite level of faith.

4 Mutual hostility contributed to Korea and Japan not restoring diplomatic relations until December 1965. In 1958, severe travel restrictions existed between the two countries. Talks recommenced in December that year only after Japan dropped its long-standing claim to about 80 percent of all property in Korea and its claim that Korea was the beneficiary from 1910-1945. Antiquities had been spirited away from Korea. Japan called this archeology; Korea called it theft. Any concessions on Japan's part led to riots in Tokyo. Even in 1965, in both countries, riots and histrionic statements by politicians preceded the ratification votes.

5 Choi left from the Port of Busan, July 15, 1958; he was denied permission to come ashore at Fukuoka on July 17 and taken into custody by a police ship two days later. Before, during and after his trial, he was imprisoned at Hiroshima. On October 14, he was sentenced to six months in prison. On November 14, Choi was relocated to Yamaguchi Prison. On February 18, 1959, Choi was transferred to Shimonoseki, at the western extremity of Yamaguchi Prefecture, 215 watery kilometers from Busan. -- Source: History of the Unification Movement in Japan: Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon and the Developments of the Unification Church and Unification Movement in Japan Compiled by Rekishihensan 2000, Published by Kogensha.

6 Father is referring to the persistent taint to our church's public image from the Ewha University imbroglio to which he attributes his arrest and confinement in Seodaemun Prison while awaiting trial, at which he was acquitted.

7 The government of Syngman Rhee (1948-1960)

8 Young-oon Kim went to the west coast on January 2, 1959. Mr. David Sang-chul Kim went to the east coast on September 18, 1959. True Father saw off the third missionary, Mr. Pak Bo-hi, at the airport on March 1, 1961, when then Major Pak of the Korean army went to Washington DC as an assistant military attaché.

9 Among other methods of making money, selling used postage stamps to collectors was one that early Unification Church members employed. This continued until the mid-1960s. Here, Father is speaking during those years.

10 Two of the most famous sightseeing destinations in South Korea 

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