Gaetano Compri – “The beginning and the development of the salesian work in Japan” in “The beginning of the Salesian presence in east Asia”.

To write this paper, I used a great part of the materials gathered by the deceased Fr. Alfonso Crevacore in the “Cimatti Museum” of Tokyo (CMT), situated in the Salesian Seminary of Chofu. It deals specially with the mail correspondence. The originals are found according to the container, or in the Vatican Archives, or in the Central Salesian Archives of Rome (ASC) or in the archive of the China Province in Hong Kong or in the said Cimatti Museum. Fr. Mario Rassiga’s manuscript “Breve cenno storico dell’opera salesiana in Cina” (vol. II, chapter XCIX, pp. 125-136), which reported the correspondence between the Holy See and the Superiors in Turin before the foundation of the Salesian work in Japan. One should note that the actual Japanese Province, up to I January 1928, was part of the Visitatoria of China, of which the superior was Fr. Ignazio Canazei.

Per scrivere questo lavoro ho utilizzato gran parte dei materiali raccolti dal defunto  Alfonso Crevacore nel “Museo Cimatti” di Tokyo (CMT), situato nel Seminario Salesiano di Chofu. Gli originali si trovano nell’Archivio Vaticano, o nell’Archivio Salesiano Centrale di Roma (ASC) o nell’archivio della Provincia Cinese di Hong Kong o nel Museo Cimatti. Il Manoscritto di Mario Rassiga “Breve cenno storico dell’opera salesiana in Cina” (vol. II, cap. XCIX, pp. 125-136), che riportava la corrispondenza tra la Santa Sede e i Superiori a Torino prima della fondazione dell’opera salesiana in Giappone. Si noti che  l’attuale Provincia giapponese, fino al I gennaio 1928, fece parte della Visitatoria della Cina, di cui il superiore era Ignazio Canazei.


  • 1. The Negotiations for the Salesian Work in Japan
  • 2. Choice, Departure and Travel of the Missionaries
  • 3. Arrival in Japan
  • 4. The First Difficulties to Adaptation and to the Language
  • 4. The Missionary Work Begins
  • 5. The extraordinary visit of Fr. Ricaldone
  • 6. The Formation of Personnel
  • 7. The Apostolate of the Press
  • 8. 6,000 Letters to Superiors, Friends and Benefactors
  • 9. The Music as Means of Apostolate
  • Conclusion

Reference time period: 1923 – 1940

G. Compri, The beginning and the development of the salesian work in japan, in N. C. Impelido, The beginning of the Salesian presence in east Asia. Acts of the Seminar on Salesian history, Hong Kong, 4-6 December 2004. Vol.I, Don Bosco Press Inc., Hong Kong, 2006, 63-88.

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