(May 1978) Japanese in Sibford

The visitors’ book at the Friends’ Meeting House now contains one very unusual signature – that of the Rev. Chiwaki Nakamuza, from Japan. He recently visited the grave of Elizabeth R. Gillett in the burial ground here, while on a two-day visit to this country.

Mr. Nakamuza had been greatly influenced by the life of Elizabeth Gillett when she was a missionary in Japan. She went there in 1896 and for the next forty years worked among the poor employees of the government steam trains founding several missions from them. She lived a very simple life, teaching the love of Jesus wherever she went.

Although Elizabeth Gillett knew no Japanese, her influence was widespread, particularly on Chiwaki Nakamuza, who helped her in her work for seven years. He desired to visit and photograph her grave in order to show his gratitude for all the help he had received.

As the clouds of war gathered in the Far East, she made her way to Canada in 1940 and spent the next few years with friends and relatives. When she returned to England, she made her home in Banbury, continuing to refresh and strengthen all who visited her by the atmosphere of serenity end peacefulness which she radiated to the end.