The Korean YMCA in Japan
The Korean YMCA in Japan was born in 1906 as Korea’s second YMCA, following the formation of the YMCA in Seoul. At a time of great suffering for the Korean homeland, this YMCA took the place of the Korean legation in Japan, which had been closed the previous year. With the purpose of fostering future leaders with a foundation in the Christian faith, it became actively involved in protecting Korean students studying in Japan, providing Japanese language education, introducing student lodging arrangements, and offering students consultation about their future paths in life.
As symbolized by the fact that the February 8th Declaration of Independence, which became the fuse that led to the 1919 March First Movement for Korean independence, was announced at the Korean YMCA in Japan, this Association was a character-forming space for Korean students studying in Japan who longed for independence from the cruelty of colonial rule and also a base of the Korean independence movement. It has also dedicatedly continued holding Bible study classes and prayer meetings from its very beginning; two years after the Korean YMCA in Japan’s founding, it gave rise to the Korean Christian Church in Japan. It thus served alongside the Church as the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Based upon this longstanding history and tradition, and under the slogan of “aiming to create a culture of Korean compatriots who are residents of Japan,” the Korean YMCA in Japan actively develops language education, including Korean language courses and Japanese language schools as well as introductions to Korean culture and activities to help spread it, Korean-Japanese cultural exchange and retreat-style training programs using the facilities of the Korean Cultural Center in Japan (Space Y), and a broad range of social services to serve the local community.
The Korean YMCA in Japan belongs to both the National Council of YMCAs of Korea and Japan as well as the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs and the World Alliance of YMCA. We believe that this dual affiliation gives us a noble mission to serve as a cultural bridge through our double existence as an institution with Korean and Japanese identities.