Nakayama, Gordon Goichi

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Nakayama, Gordon Goichi

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Gordon Goichi Nakayama was born in Ozu, Japan, on 16 Nov. 1900, the third of seven children, to a farmer, Zengoro Nakayama, and his wife, Toku Nakayama. Following his father's death, Nakayama moved to Kyoto at the age of 14 and graduated from Ryoyo Gakuen High School in 1918 before entering Ritsumeikan University briefly. In October 1919, Nakayama traveled to Vancouver, B.C., with the intention of becoming a physician. Although he was raised in the Buddhist faith, Nakayama converted to Christianity and was baptized at the Japanese Methodist Church in September 1920. Forced to give up his studies due to poor health, Nakayama taught at the Japanese language school in Maple Ridge, B.C. (1922-1923), and later served as the principal of the Japanese language school in the Fairview area of Vancouver (1924-1929). During this time, Nakayama also attended Vancouver Bible School from 1924-1927.

Nakayama married Lois Masui Yao (25 May 1897-27 Nov. 1987), an Anglican missionary and kindergarten teacher, on 23 Sept. 1926, and became interested in the Anglican Church. Nakayama attended the Anglican Theological College, now known as the Vancouver School of Theology, from 1929-1934. After being confirmed as an Anglican in 1929, he was appointed pastor of the Church of the Ascension in Vancouver, where he served until 1942. Nakayama was ordained as a deacon in 1932 and as a priest in 1934. Nakayama had two children around this time: Timothy Makoto (b. 5 Oct. 1931) and Joy Nozomi (b. 6 June 1935).

During the internal displacement of Japanese Canadians during World War II, Nakayama served as pastor at the Slocan Japanese Anglican Church from 1942-1945 at the Slocan, B.C. internment camp. Following the war, Nakayama and his family were sent to Coaldale, Alta., to establish a Japanese Canadian Anglican Mission. Nakayama served as pastor and later vicar of the Church of the Ascension in Coaldale from 1945-1978. Nakayama was appointed vicar of the Parish of Coaldale by the Diocese of Calgary in 1955, served as rural dean of Lethbridge from 1961-1964, and was given the honorary title of Canon of St. Paul of the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer in Calgary in 1966.

In 1970, Nakayama officially retired, but carried on work at the Church of the Ascension until 1978, at which time he moved to Vancouver. Nakayama then served as priest-in-charge of the Holy Cross Anglican Japanese Church in Vancouver from 1978-1979. In retirement, Nakayama focused more on missionary out-reach work, which he had conducted throughout his career beginning in the 1930. As a missionary, Nakayama traveled to most major cities in Canada and the United States, Japan, many countries in South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Nakayama wrote nearly 20 books, primarily in Japanese, including religious tracts and collections of sermons, biographical or autobiographical books, non-fiction works on the Japanese Canadian / Issei community, and poetry collections, as well as a number of articles and pamphlets. Nakayama’s works include "A Flower in the Shade," about Lois Nakayama, “Issei: Stories of Japanese Canadian Pioneers,” “The Divine Love,” “The Story of My Life,” “Beautiful Stories of Conversion,” “The Way of Oremus (the Way of Prayer),” and “My Missionary Trip Around the World.” A one hour documentary film, “The Tides of War,” which was produced by Global TV, incorporated 16 mm film taken by Nakayama before and after World War II.

In 1994, Nakayama confirmed and admitted via letter and to an Anglican Church official to significant immoral sexual conduct over many years while in the office of priest. In February 1995, Nakayama voluntarily resigned the privileges of his ministry. Nakayama died on 8 Oct. 1995.

In March 2014, Nakayama’s children, Joy Kogawa and Timothy Nakayama, published an open letter in the Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association’s The Bulletin, acknowledging an initiative underway by the JCCA Human Rights committee to disclose Nakayama’s offences ( Later in May 2014, the Reverend Nakayama Disclosure Project Working Group was announced. On 15 June 2015 at the Vancouver Japanese Language School, an official apology was issued by the Right Reverend Gregory Kerr-Wilson, Bishop of the diocese of Calgary, and the Right Reverend Melissa Skelton, Bishop of the diocese of New Westminster, to all members of the Japanese Canadian Community affected by abuse perpetrated by Nakayama.


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