Anglican Episcopal Church of Japan

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Interior of St Mary's Church, Kyōto

The Anglican Episcopal Church of Japan (日本聖公会 Nippon Sei Kō Kai, or NSKK), is a division of the Anglican Communion, falling within the Province of Japan (日本管区 Nippon Kanku) of the Anglican Communion. It currently has a congregation of some 58,000.

According to the World Council of Churches there are currently 315 parishes, within the 11 dioceses. There are 11 bishops, 288 clergy and 219 lay readers.[1]


The church was founded in 1859, with the arrivals of the first missionaries of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA in the country, closely followed by missionaries from the Anglican Church in England and Canada. It was legally established as a Church in 1887, during the Meiji era and the first Japanese bishops were consecrated in 1923. The Church was accepted as an official province of the Anglican Church in 1930.

World War II forced the church to go underground, although it remained active and returned to prominence after the war, serving the spiritual needs of members of the occupying forces. Since 1978 it has been financially self-supporting and continues to exchange missionaries with overseas partner churches. All the current bishops and other church leaders are Japanese, and the current Primate of the NSKK is the The Most Reverend Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, the Bishop of the Diocese of Hokkaidō

The church is the third largest Christian community in the country, after the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Christ.

The first Japanese translation of the Anglican prayer book was published in 1959, to commemorate the centenary of Anglican missionary work in Japan, and the latest edition of the hymn book, published in 2006, contains over 600 hymns. Among these are original Japanese hymns, especially written for the Church, translations of common Anglican hymns, as well as original language versions. The latest edition of the Japanese-language Bible (経典 Kyouten) was also published in 2006, under the auspices of the Japan Bible Society and the Church's Common Bible Translation Executive Committee.


The Church is widely distributed within Japan, with a total of 11 dioceses, serving 315 parishes in and around 46 cities. The diocese cover almost all of Japan, from Hokkaidō in the north, to Okinawa in the south.

The 11 dioceses of the Nippon Sei Kō Kai, and the major cities each serves are:

  • Hokkaidō (北海道) - Hokkaido
  • Tōhoku (東北) - Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Fu'kushima
  • Kita-Kanto (北関東 north-eastern Japan) - Ibaragi, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama
  • Tōkyō (東京)
  • Yokohama (横浜) - Kanagawa, Chiba, Shizuoka, Yamanashi
  • Chūbu (中部 south-west of Tōkyō) - Niigata, Nagano, Gifu, Aichi
  • Kyōto (京都) - Kyōto, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fu'kui, Shiga, Mie, Nara, Wakayama
  • Ōsaka (大阪) - Ōsaka, Hyogo
  • Kōbe (神戸) - Okayama, Hiroshima, Tottori, Shimane, Yamaguchi, Shikoku
  • Kyushu (九州) - Fu'kuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Oita
  • Okinawa (沖縄) - Mihara, Yagaji, Ishigaki, Nago, Shuri


A total of 18 private schools, colleges and theological colleges are run by the various dioceses. These are all currently located within the Kanto and Kansai areas, with the majority of the schools being located in Tōkyō and Ōsaka. They cover the entire educational spectrum, including elementary-, middle- and high school, as well as several post-graduate theology colleges and the St. Barnabas Medical School.

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