Founder of Methodism in Japan

. 1 min read

By S.E. Hager, an obituary in 1938
The Rev. Teikichi Sunamoto was born September 30, 1857, at Koi, Hiroshima. When sixteen years old he applied for enlistment in the navy, and served on gunboats until 1880. In October of that year, he sailed as second mate in a merchant vessel to San Francisco. His purpose was to get an education and support his mother. In San Francisco he became a faithful attendant at the preaching services of the Gospel Society. On May 7, 1881, he was baptized by Dr. Otis Gibson.
Mr. Sunamoto worked for the Gospel Society until August 1886 when he returned to Japan with the one purpose of leading his mother to Christ. He went to Kobe and presented a letter of introduction from Dr. McClay, of Tokyo to Dr. J.W. Lambuth [a missionary]. Then he went on to his home in Hiroshima and was warmly welcomed by his family.
Shortly after this Dr. Lambuth went to Hiroshima and held quiet meetings in his hotel. In February 1887, Mr. Sunamoto’s mother and eleven others were baptized; among these were M. Matsumoto, G. Ota, and K. Mito, all three of whom became prominent preachers. The first chapel, located on Daiku Machi, was used also for a girls’ school with forty students enrolled in 1887 and conducted by Mr. Sunamoto. Miss N. B. Gaines became the principal of this school, and under her leadership the present Hiroshima Girls’ School was developed. Mr. Sunamoto was married to Miss Watanabe, August 8, 1887.