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NSKK NEWSLETTER distributed by
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai
(Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan)
New Hymn Book published: The Hymnal of Nippon Sei Ko Kai
The Rt Revd Toshiaki Mori, Chair of the Hymn Book Revision Committee
JAPAN 071015-1
October 15, 2007

NSKK Newsletter September 07

[The Nippon Sei Ko Kai - Japan] NSKK has published a new hymn book, The Hymnal of Nippon Sei Ko Kai in November 2006. For 47 years from 1959 to the present, NSKK has used Hymns New and Old, and now we have been given a new hymn book, The Hymnal of Nippon Sei Ko Kai, which includes 590 hymns and 77 liturgical chants.

The proposal of revision of the conventional hymn book was first resolved by the NSKK General Synod in 1994. For 12 years since then, the members of the Hymn Book Revision Committee have taken a leading role in the necessary revision of Hymns Old and New with great effort. During this period, the members of the Committee have repeatedly met and discussed how to revise the conventional hymn book, and after consecutive efforts and work, The Hymnal of Nippon Sei Ko Kai was finally completed in November 2006.

The major characteristics of this new version are:

(1) Colloquial language is used as much as possible.
Literary style of verses, which was used in Hymns Old and New, has now been changed to current colloquial language as much as possible.

(2) Emphasis is placed on vivid rhythm.
We sing hymns with vivid rhythm, thanking and praising God, by whom we are redeemed and given strength to live.

(3) Sing out the love of God as well as of our neighbour.
Throughout the hymn book, we sing out clearly that together we exist to love God as well as our neighbour, as Jesus taught us "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. Love your neighbour as you love yourself." (Luke:10.22.)

(4) Sing together the relationship between God and "We, Christians".
It is emphasized that the church is a community of "God's people". Included in the hymnal are hymns which emphasize the relationship between God and "We, Christians".

(5) Adopting contemporary expressions.
Antiquated words are replaced by daily used words as much as possible. Also, placing importance on human rights, certain expressions which might imply discrimination against the disabled have been avoided.

(6) Praise God's creation.
As human beings are presently destroying God's creation, the earth, it is our duty to restore the earth as it originally was: "God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased." (Genesis 1.31.) There are hymns in which we praise God's creation and acknowledge the importance of restoring the earth as God had made.

(7) Asian hymns are included.
In the past, hymns were mostly taken from the American and European verses translated into Japanese. As Nippon Sei Ko Kai is a member of the Asian community, hymns which originated from the Asian countries are included. Included also are hymns which were originally written and composed by the Japanese members of NSKK.

It is generally required that whenever hymns are edited and/or published, persons concerned should have respective theological knowledge. Each member of the Committee has seriously considered "What does mission mean?" or "How do we interpret the mission?" They have been engaged on the task of revising the hymn book with painstaking efforts and wisdom for 12 long years, and eventually the new Hymnal of NSKK has been completed. Every member of the NSKK church has now used the new hymnal book with sincere thanks for the effort made by the members of the Committee and attainment of the goal.