Christ calls, Asians respond

Lent series 2024

Japan

‘Jesus is the ultimate mentor’

By Mariko Terada

March 13, 2024 03:28 AM

Tadashi felt that by continuing to study Catholicism, Christ would become his own flesh and blood

Tadashi Ikushima (left) is pictured with Father Nuno Lima of the Boa Nova Mission Society (right).

Tadashi Ikushima (left) is pictured with Father Nuno Lima of the Boa Nova Mission Society (right). (Photo supplied)

Tadashi Ikushima, 57, a resident of Osaka, Japan, was led to faith while attending church with his Catholic wife, Kasumi, 38. He plans to be baptized along with their son, Koki, who was born in April last year.

Tadashi says that his encounter with Jesus has changed the way he interacts with people at work.

He runs a crowdfunding website. Crowdfunding is a system in which people who want to make a specific dream, such as “I want to create a café,” come true post the content on the site, widely announce their activities on a social networking site, and solicit funds from those who agree with it.

Through operating the site, Tadashi receives consultations from “people who want to realize their dreams” and teaches them how to solicit support from the community.

Tadashi first encountered Catholicism three years ago when he married Kasumi, whose family has been Catholic for several generations. Until then, he had no connection with Christianity.

He said, “When I heard the word ‘cross’ I only had the image of an exorcism in a horror movie.”

After their marriage, Kasumi invited him to attend the Tamatsukuri Church in Osaka with her where he met a priest for the first time.

He says he was drawn to the smile of the priest, Father Nuno Lima of the Boa Nova Mission Society. When he heard that Lima would teach him the essentials personally, Tadashi started an introductory course in April last year.

The most surprising thing about learning the life and historical background of Jesus was that Jesus was a real person, not a fictional character from a legend or a fairy tale.

“Jesus was born into this world as a human like myself. I was amazed that the way of life and thinking of one person had been spread throughout the world for 2,000 years by his disciples, and I wanted to know more.”

Tadashi felt that by continuing to study Catholicism, Christ would become his own flesh and blood, and his way of life would change.

On the way home from the course, he discusses what he learns that day with Kasumi, who is taking the course with him.

Through the course he he's learned that the disciples who had once abandoned Jesus were transformed from the inside out and sent to evangelize after witnessing the passion and resurrection of Jesus.

Thanks to the course, Tadashi began rethinking the way he interacted with people.

"Since my job is to consult and advise, there are times when I have to be hard with the client by giving strict advice.”

He says, “Now when I say harsh things to people, I wonder what Jesus would do,” and, “You have to think about the other person's feelings and situation.”

Earlier this year, Tadashi ran into trouble when he was criticized on an internet live stream by a client who resented his manner. However, reconciliation came about through discussion.

In this event, Tadashi said that he felt as if Jesus was telling him to “listen to the other person’s words for a moment.”

Now, he tries to wait to give advice until he considers the other person's environment and thoughts. "I think Jesus is the ultimate mentor,” he says.

“I have not had a moment of hesitation about being baptized,” he says, adding that he is “excited” about the prospect.

Tadashi Ikushima plans to read the Bible more seriously after being baptized on March 30 at the Easter Vigil at Tamatsukuri Church.

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