Scotland had a key role in the development of Christianity in Japan. That was the key message brought back from Tokyo this week by John Binnington of the Scottish Bible Society. At a Mass at St Mary's cathedral, celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Society, Cardinal Sei'ichi Shirayanagi said that it was largely thanks to the work of Robert Lilley, from the Society, that the Bible became widely accessible to the Japanese. He said in 1875 the Bible became a "hidden best-seller" with many readers who were perhaps anonymous Christians. He added that Catholicism had come to Japan 300 years before but had virtually been wiped out by persecution. "It was particularly moving," recalled Mr Binnington, "To watch an animated map on a giant screen, tracing Robert Lilley's journey from Scotland to Japan, and then to receive an engraved memento bearing the words: The Scottish Bible Society - in appreciation of the pioneer work started in Japan in 1875 to bring to Word of God to our people." The Society now supplies different versions of the Bible to all churches in Japan.
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