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Kiyotaka Shirai

Photo courtesy of the Brazilian White Center – UNASP.

Shirai, Kiyotaka (1920–1987)

By The Brazilian White Center – UNASP

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The Brazilian White Center – UNASP is a team of teachers and students at the Brazilian Ellen G. White Research Center – UNASP at the Brazilian Adventist University, Campus Engenheiro, Coelho, SP. The team was supervised by Drs. Adolfo Semo Suárez, Renato Stencel, and Carlos Flávio Teixeira. Bruno Sales Gomes Ferreira provided technical support. The following names are of team members: Adriane Ferrari Silva, Álan Gracioto Alexandre, Allen Jair Urcia Santa Cruz, Camila Chede Amaral Lucena, Camilla Rodrigues Seixas, Daniel Fernandes Teodoro, Danillo Alfredo Rios Junior, Danilo Fauster de Souza, Débora Arana Mayer, Elvis Eli Martins Filho, Felipe Cardoso do Nascimento, Fernanda Nascimento Oliveira, Gabriel Pilon Galvani, Giovana de Castro Vaz, Guilherme Cardoso Ricardo Martins, Gustavo Costa Vieira Novaes, Ingrid Sthéfane Santos Andrade, Isabela Pimenta Gravina, Ivo Ribeiro de Carvalho, Jhoseyr Davison Voos dos Santos, João Lucas Moraes Pereira, Kalline Meira Rocha Santos, Larissa Menegazzo Nunes, Letícia Miola Figueiredo, Luan Alves Cota Mól, Lucas Almeida dos Santos, Lucas Arteaga Aquino, Lucas Dias de Melo, Matheus Brabo Peres, Mayla Magaieski Graepp, Milena Guimarães Silva, Natália Padilha Corrêa, Rafaela Lima Gouvêa, Rogel Maio Nogueira Tavares Filho, Ryan Matheus do Ouro Medeiros, Samara Souza Santos, Sergio Henrique Micael Santos, Suelen Alves de Almeida, Talita Paim Veloso de Castro, Thais Cristina Benedetti, Thaís Caroline de Almeida Lima, Vanessa Stehling Belgd, Victor Alves Pereira, Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Vinícius Pereira Nascimento, Vitória Regina Boita da Silva, William Edward Timm, Julio Cesar Ribeiro, Ellen Deó Bortolotte, Maria Júlia dos Santos Galvani, Giovana Souto Pereira, Victor Hugo Vaz Storch, and Dinely Luana Pereira.

 

 

Kiyotaka Shirai was a pastor, photographic reporter, and pioneer producer of the Adventist radio/TV programs in the Japanese language.

Early Life and Education

Kiyotaka Shirai was born September 27, 1920, in the Sapporo province, Hokkaido, Japan.1 Son of Haruzo and Tsuneyo Shirai, he was the oldest of six brothers.2

When he was 13 years old, in search for better opportunities, his family decided to move to Brazil.3 In 1933 the Shirai family arrived at the Santos dock aboard the Santos Maru vessel. They settled in the city of Sete Barras, in the countryside of São Paulo state, where they cultivated green tea.4 The Shirais were part of the first wave of Japanese colonists that arrived in Brazil. The immigration of Japanese in the country was allowed by the government at the beginning of the 20th century and had a significant growth until the beginning of World War II (1939-1945).5

The story of Kiyotaka’s involvement with the Seventh-day Adventist Church began when he moved to São Paulo city. Japanese commerce in Brazil had been affected by the war, resulting in financial and health problems in his family. Soon after his arrival, all his money was stolen from an apartment where he was staying in the center of São Paulo. In addition, he was suffering from tuberculosis. As he walked aimlessly down the road, by the providence of God a Japanese man going in his direction offered help.6

The man offered him an opportunity to work in his vegetable garden in Santo André city, which was located alongside the Brazilian Adventist publisher. One of the Adventists who went there to buy her supplies was the mother of Pastor Durval Stockler de Lima. Through her, Kiyotaka learned about the Brazilian Adventist College (now referred to as UNASP-SP),7 where in 1946 he started a preparatory course for entering middle school. Born into a Buddhist family, at the college he got to know the Adventist message and was impressed by the power of God in curing him of tuberculosis. He was baptized by Pastor Luiz Waldvogel.8 He continued his studies at Brazil Adventist College until 1955, when he graduated with a degree in theology.9

Ministry

After his graduation, he accepted the call of the Brazilian Publishing House (CPB) to work as a linotype operator. Next he went to the city of Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo state, desiring to learn a new profession. There he worked as a photographer with the Miyasaka family, who helped him financially to study abroad. In the United States he studied business administration, music, and drama. Remembering the necessity of a ministry in Brazil with focus on the Japanese public, he prepared himself to assume this mission. He purchased the most developed microphones and recorders of the time and collected material that had been produced by the American SDA Church in the Japanese language, such as hymns sung by The King’s Heralds.10

Kiyotaka returned to Brazil at the end of 1958, and in the following year he accepted a call to work as a photographic reporter in the Public Relation department of the São Paulo Conference, together with Pastor Alcides Campolongo. At the end of 1959, in São Paulo city, he established the evangelic radio program Voice of Prophecy Brazil in the Japanese language.11

By means of this program, some families were converted, setting up the first Japanese church in São Paulo. Their first meetings were held at the Central São Paulo Church, in the district of Liberdade, under the leadership of Tossako Kanada, Noboru Nishide, and Seiji Onoda. Their first church was constructed in the district of Capão Redondo in 1981.12 Kyiotaka contributed to the establishment of the church, assisting those coming from a Buddhist context in increasing their knowledge of the Bible.13

While working in the São Paulo Conference, he met Maria da Glória Ottoni (1935-?), who at the time was Alcides Campolongo’s secretary. On January 17, 1961, they married at Tucuruvi’s Church, São Paulo, in a ceremony officiated by Pastor Campolongo. Along with her husband, she worked for 34 years for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She was teacher of the SDA elementary school of Campo Grande Mato Grosso do Sul in the areas of history and geography. Later she worked for the São Paulo Conference, at the schools in Moema, Santo Amaro, Ademar City, Diadema, and Brooklin, where she also was the principal.14

The Voice of Prophecy program was kept on air in the Japanese language until 1964.15 On January 18, 1964, Kiyotaka was ordained to the ministry.16 He served in the São Paulo Conference between 1959 and 1977.17 After its reorganization in 1977,18 he worked in the East São Paulo Conference between 1978 and 1982.19 After a new division was organized, he worked in the South São Paulo Conference between 1983 and 1986,20 at which time it was located in the district of Brooklin.21

Kiyotaka made an important contribution to the SDA Church as photographic reporter and radio/TV producer in São Paulo. He participated in the production of documentaries about the Carajá Indians in the West Central region of Brazil. He also published material in newspapers of São Paulo about the work of the Samaritana Adventist Social Assistant boats, collecting medical resources to help the region. In addition, he was one of the founders of the first recording studio of the Voice of Prophecy in South America in 1964, and he assisted Alcides Campolongo in the production of the first evangelic program on Brazilian TV, Faith for Today.22

Death and Legacy

Kiyotaka Shirai died September 27, 1987, at the age of 67. He was buried at the Getsêmani Cemetery in São Paulo. The ceremony was officiated by Pastor Alcides Campolongo.23

Kiyotaka Shirai left an important legacy of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, serving it for 28 years. Since the beginning of his ministry he was connected with the communication area, standing out as a photographic reporter in the Public Relations and Communication departments of the São Paulo Conference. He also was one of the pioneers of preaching the Adventist message to the Japanese in Brazil.24

Sources

“A Voz da Profecia em Japonês.” Revista Adventista, year 58, no. 3, March 1963, 26. Acessed November 13, 2019. http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb

Campolongo, Alcides. “Curso de Instrutoras de Dietética, Nutrição e Arte Culinária.” Revista Adventista, year 62, no. 4, April 1967, 26. Accessed September 16, 2018, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb

Conceição, Jonatan. Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas: Conheça a História de A Voz da Profecia e do Quarteto Arautos do Rei, Nova Friburgo, RJ: Author’s Edition, 2014.

Elder Hosokawa, “A Conversão de Imigrantes Japoneses no Brasil à Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia.” Revista de EStudos da Religião, September 2008. Accessed September 14, 2018, https://www.pucsp.br/rever/rv3_2008/i_hosokawa.htm

“História da Associação Paulistana,” Paulistana Conference of the SDA Church Network. Accessed November 12, 2019. http://ap.adventistas.org/conhecendo/historia/

“Informativo Nacional.” Revista Adventista, year 69, no. 6, June 1974, 23. Accessed September 16, 2018. http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb

“Kiyotaka Shirai.” Revista Adventista, year 11, no. 83, November 1987. Accessed September 16, 2018. http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb

Martins, Guilherme Cardoso Ricardo and dos Santos, Lucas Almeida. “Programa Fé para Hoje: Pioneirismo no Televangelismo Brasileiro.” Conferência Brasileira de Comunicação Eclesial (Eclesiocom), August 18, 2016, accessed May 11, 2018. http://portal.metodista.br/eclesiocom/edicoes-anteriores/2016/arquivos/programa-fe-para-hoje-pioneirismo-no-televangelismo-brasileiro.

“Obreiro Kiyotaka Shirai . . . .” Revista Adventista, year 58, no. 3, March 1963, 7. Accessed November 12, 2019. http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb.

O. R. Azevedo. “Noticias da União Sul-Brasileira.” Revista Adventista, year 59, no. 6, June 1964, 15. Accessed September 16, 2018, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1961, 1978, 1979, 1983-1984, 1987. Accessed September 16, 2018. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

Notes

  1. Jonatan Conceição, Fé, Coragem e Vidas Transformadas: Conheça a História de A Voz da Profecia e do Quarteto Arautos do Rei (Nova Friburgo, RJ: Author’s Edition, 2014), 52-53; and “Kiyotaka Shirai,” Revista Adventista, year 11, no. 83, November 1987, 30.

  2. Maria da Glória Ottoni Shirai, interviewed by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, September 12, 2018; Maria da Glória Ottoni Shirai, interviewed by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, September 14, 2018.

  3. Conceição, 52-53; and “Kiyotaka Shirai.”

  4. Elder Hosokawa, “A Conversão de Imigrantes Japoneses no Brasil à Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia,” Revista de Estudos da Religião,” September 2008, accessed September 14, 2018, https://www.pucsp.br/rever/rv3_2008/i_hosokawa.htm; and Maria da Glória Ottoni Shirai, interview by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, September 12, 2018.

  5. Ibid.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Maria da Glória Ottoni Shirai, interviewed by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, September 12, 2018; and Hosokawa, “A Conversão de Imigrantes Japoneses no Brasil à Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia.”

  9. “Kiyotaka Shirai.”

  10. Ibid., and Maria da Glória Ottoni Shirai, interviewed by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, September 14, 2018.

  11. Hosokawa, “A Conversão de Imigrantes Japoneses no Brasil à Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia;” and “Kiyotaka Shirai.”

  12. Ibid.

  13. Maria da Glória Ottoni Shirai, interviewd by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, September 12 and 14, 2018.

  14. Ibid.

  15. Hosokawa, “A Conversão de Imigrantes Japoneses no Brasil à Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia;” “Obreiro Kiyotaka Shirai...”, Revista Adventista, year 58, no. 3, March 1963, 7.

  16. O. R. Azevedo, “Noticias da União Sul-Brasileira,” Revista Adventista, year 59, no. 6, June 1964, 15.

  17. “São Paulo Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1961), 171; and “São Paulo Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1978), 272.

  18. “História da Associação Paulistana,” Paulistana Conference of the SDA Church Network, accessed November 12, 2019, http://ap.adventistas.org/conhecendo/historia/.

  19. “East São Paulo Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1979), 277; and “East São Paulo Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1983), 304.

  20. “South São Paulo Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1984), 312; and “South São Paulo Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1987), 274.

  21. “História da Associação Paulistana.”

  22. Hosokawa, “A Conversão de Imigrantes Japoneses no Brasil à Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia;” Guilherme Cardoso Ricardo Martins and Lucas Almeida dos Santos, Programa Fé para Hoje: Pioneirismo no Televangelismo Brasileiro, Conferência Brasileira de Comunicação Eclesial (Eclesiocom), August 18, 2016; “A Voz da Profecia em Japonês,” Revista Adventista, year 58, no. 3, March 1963, 26.

  23. “Kiyotaka Shirai;” and Maria da Glória Ottoni Shirai, interview by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, September 14, 2018.

  24. “Informativo Nacional,” Revista Adventista, year 69, no. 6, June 1974, 23; Maria da Glória Ottoni Shirai, interview by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, September 12, 2018; Maria da Glória Ottoni Shirai, interview by Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, September 14, 2018.

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UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Shirai, Kiyotaka (1920–1987)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed January 26, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BGOV.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Shirai, Kiyotaka (1920–1987)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access January 26, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BGOV.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center – (2021, April 28). Shirai, Kiyotaka (1920–1987). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 26, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BGOV.