日本基督教団 The United Church of Christ in Japan

【December 2021 No.409】Ecumenical Groups Meet Unique Challenges of Tokyo Olympic Games


Ecumenical Groups Meet Unique Challenges of Tokyo Olympic Games

by Kato Makoto, executive director Multi-Faith Center of Tokyo 2020

In December 2019, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and the Japanese Paralympic Committee (JPC) requested the Metropolitan Association of Religious Organizations, of which Yoshimura Masanori was chief director, to undertake management of the Multi-Faith Center of Tokyo 2020, following the guidelines of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The first preparatory meeting for the Multi-Faith Center was held at Oomoto Tokyo headquarters on Feb. 28, 2020. Yoshimura Masanori, a Shinto priest, was elected chairman, and Niikura Tensho, a Buddhist priest, was elected executive director. After the postponement of Tokyo 2020 was announced on March 25, four committee meetings were held, and on Oct. 8, a “Multi-Faith Center Meeting” convened at Shinshu Kaikan Hall (Shinto). The first theme lecture, “Countermeasures Against Covid-19 Pandemic,” was given by Tomatsu Yoshiharu, now chief director of the Japan Association of Religious Organizations and also chief director of the Japan Buddhist Federation; and the second theme lecture, “Chaplaincy Services at the Multi-Faith Center,” was given by Duncan Green, an Anglican priest, who was head of multi-faith chaplaincy services of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I was an interpreter there.

On Feb. 3, 2021, a Multi-Faith Center secretariat meeting was held online, where it was reported that the protocol for spiritual care would have to be changed drastically. On April 8, officials in charge of the multi-faith service of JOC held a “kick-off meeting” and announced that from the standpoint of infection control, all multi-faith services would need to be provided virtually. It was an unprecedented situation, with less than 100 days until the opening ceremony, and as representative of the Japan Confederation of Christian Churches, I was appointed executive director in place of Niikura Tensho, who later passed away in May. The ten officers of the Multi-Faith Center secretariat were divided into four teams to focus on public relations, online registration, online video distribution, and counseling services.

The Multi-Faith Center was, in reality, a kind of ecumenical workshop. Each denomination of Buddhist,Shintoism, Christianity, and other religions of the Tokyo Metropolitan Association of Religious Organizations sent people to create a website and prepare its various contents. There were also Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish online counseling services from opening day until closing day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village.

Cooperation from the Japan Confederation of Christian Churches included the Catholic Church in Japan sending English-, Spanish-, and Portuguese-speaking chaplains and three video messages from the Vatican. The athletes could attend live streaming masses from St. Ignatius Church in Tokyo in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese every week. Koshigaya Church, a Protestant church, distributed live streaming Sunday worships. Over 100 video messages were prepared in  9 languages, to which athletes had access whenever they liked. Messages in Korean were recorded by missionaries of The Korean Christian Church in Japan. The Japan Evangelical Association helped to make music videos by young artists as well as message videos. Kanda Nozomi, a member of the Brussels Japanese Protestant Church, made classical music videos for the website.

Kyodan missionaries attended a special training course led by specialists from Canada and Germany to learn about chaplaincy services for Olympic athletes under quite specific restrictions. As the summer days were very hot, young volunteer staff did most of the publicity, with three seminarians and young people from Yu-ai Dormitory, which stands on the same site as Waseda Church in Tokyo, joining in.

It was a lot of hard work for us to create an online system for the Multi-Faith Center in such a short period of time, as it involved preparing many pages and making them work, but we devoted ourselves to giving spiritual support to athletes and coaches. It was indeed an exercise in ecumenicism. (Tr. SK)


東京2020多宗教センター事務局長 加藤誠

 201912月、東京オリンピック・パラリンピック組織委員会より東京都宗教連盟(理事長:芳村正徳Yoshimura Masanori)に、IOCのガイドラインに則り多宗教センター運営が依頼される。東京都宗教連盟は2020228日、大本東京本部において第一回多宗教センター(Multi-Faith Center)会議を開催し、委員長に芳村正徳師、事務局長に新倉典生師を選任する。2020325日に東京2020の延期が決定されるが、多宗教センター会議は4回の委員会を経て2020108日に神習会館において” MULTI-FAITH CENTRE MEETING”を主催する。主題講演Ⅰは「コロナの現状と対策」講師:戸松義晴(現日本宗教連盟理事長 全日本仏教会理事長)。主題講演Ⅱは「多宗教センターにおける宗教サービスについて」講師:ダンカン・グリーン(Dunan Green)師(ロンドン五輪多宗教センター長・英国国教会司祭)通訳:加藤誠。


 20214月8日、組織委員会多宗教サービス担当者による「キックオフミーティング」が開催され、感染防止の観点から全ての宗教サービスを完全オンラインで行う前例のない事態に直面する。開幕まで100日を切る時間のない状況で、しかも事務局長が新倉典生(Niikura Norio)師からキリスト教連合会の加藤誠に変更となる。多宗教センター事務局は10名ほどの宗教ボランティアからなる事務局員を4グループに分け、それぞれ「渉外」「オンライン受付」「映像配信」「カウンセリング」を担当した。


 キリスト教連合会としての協力体制であるが、カトリックからは英語、スペイン語、ポルトガル語対応のチャプレンを準備していただき、バチカンからは3本のビデオメッセージが送られてきた。麹町教会では毎週の英語、スペイン語、ベトナム語でのライブストリーミングに選手が参加する機会を提供していただいた。プロテスタントは越谷教会の聖日礼拝を同じようにライブストリーミングで提供した。映像コンテンツについては、9言語100本以上のメッセージビデオをユーチューブ上にアップロードし、選手たちが都合の良い時間に視聴できるようにした。韓国語のメッセージは全て宣教協約のある在日大韓基督教会(The Korean Christian Church in Japan)の宣教師にお願いをした。音楽コンテンツに関しては福音派の協力を得て、メッセージビデオのみならず若手のアーティストたちにビデオを作成していただき、クラシックに関してはベルギー日本語プロテスタント教会員の神田望美(Kanda Nozomi)さんに作成とユーチューブへのアップロードを担当していただいた。


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