History of Clergy Sexual Abuse
Timeline of Nakayama, 1900-1995
Stories of clergy sexual abuse are full of secrecy and inaction. Nakayama's situation is no different. The information on Nakayama is fragmented, especially when concerning pivotal periods in his abuse. This is due to secrecy, the loss of information with time, deaths of knowledge keepers and limited access to information.
Early Life, Japan
Nakayama was born in 1900 on the island of Shikoku, Japan.¹ He was raised in the Buddhist faith and, after the passing of his father at age 14, he moved to Kyoto. During his childhood in Japan Nakayama was sexually abused.² ³
He moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1919 and the following year he converted to Christianity.¹ In 1929 he was appointed pastor of the Third Avenue Mission while attending the Vancouver Theological College. He would retain this position until 1942.¹
Nakayama went on missionary trips regularly throughout his career. The earliest trips began in 1929 where he would travel across British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.⁴ In 1930 he took his first missionary trip to Japan accompanied by his wife, Lois.⁴ In 1939 he undertook a North America-wide trip where he preached at 33 churches.⁴ The earliest testimony recording Nakayama abuse dates from the 1930s. It is likely many more incidents are now lost to time. The average age of offenders are in their mid-to-late 30s.⁵
WWII Internment, British Columbia
During the WWII internment period (1942-1949) Nakayama had unparalleled mobility rights as a Priest. Travel permits were available to priests and physicians. He and his family were interned in Anglican-administered Slocan City.¹ During this time survivors recollect that Nakayama would travel to internment camps for ministerial and community outreach, often staying the night with community members.⁶ This would become a pattern for his abuse. In 1943 he made a missionary trip to visit all Japanese Canadian internment camps: Tashme, Greenwood, New Denver, etc.⁴ By 1945 Nakayama had visited every community where Japanese Canadians were living, from Coaldale, AB, to Montreal, QC.⁴
In 1945 at the close of WWII hostilities Nakayama and his family move to Coaldale, AB,¹ while most of the Anglican congregation in Slocan City uproot to the Niagara peninsula.⁷ The exact reason why the Anglican Congregation did not follow their Priest is not known. The following year Nakayama becomes convinced that he must be a missionary.⁸ Survivor testimonies from Alberta at this time reveal rampant sexual abuse by Nakayama, often during his outreach missions when staying the night with local families.⁶ In 1947 Nakayama is granted a special permit from the United Stated government to preach.⁴ He visits 70+ Canadian and American cities. From 1949-1950 Nakayama visits Japan, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, America, and travels across Canada, preaching in hundreds of communities.⁴
A pivotal moment in the history of Nakayama's clergy sexual abuse came in 1952 while he was on a mission in Naha, Okinawa, Japan. Nakayama was caught in the act of sexually abusing a child by two priests.⁹ ¹⁰ He is sent home after 14 months in Okinawa to Coaldale, AB,⁷ where he is questioned by the Anglican Diocese of Calgary.⁹ ¹⁰ The details of those conversations are unknown but the result is that Nakayama is allowed to retain his position as a minister under the Bishop of Calgary, Harry Ragg (1943-1952) or Bishop George Calvert (1952-1967).
Three years later he is promoted by Bishop Ragg's successor, Bishop George Calvert and Archdeacon R. Axon.⁷ By 1958 is is on international missionary trips again, visiting 20 countries on all six populated continents by 1974.⁴ ⁷ ⁸ ¹¹ In 1966 he is made Canon of St. Paul of Calgary's Cathedral Church of the Redeemer.⁸ ¹²
Holy Cross Church, Vancouver
Arrangements were made to have Nakayama cover the position of Rev. John Shozowa, who was retiring as minister of Holy Cross, Vancouver, in September 1978.¹¹ ¹³ Nakayama was permitted a leave of absence by the Diocese of Calgary to Vancouver for six months to provide continuity to the congregation. At this time a consortium of congregants approached Bishop Hambidge to protest this appointment bringing specific examples of Nakayama's history of sexual abuse.¹⁴
By hiding the truth of his clergy sexual abuse Nakayama received many accolades from the Anglican Church and the public. Many articles regard Nakayama as a model of excellence in ministry.⁷ ⁸ His own conscience, however, must have weighed heavily on his decades of abuse in his later years.
A letter dated December 28th, 1994, was mailed to the Diocese of Calgary. Inside was a signed confession by Nakayama asking the Church for forgiveness for his crimes. Archdeacon Mitchell from the Diocese arrives in Vancouver from Calgary shortly thereafter to question Nakayama.¹¹ ¹⁵
Bishop of Calgary Barry Curtis (1983-1999) charges Nakayama with immorality on February 10th, 1995. Nakayama is allowed to resign his ministry rather than face an ecclesiastic trial.¹⁶
No mention of criminal charges have been found from correspondence from the 1995 immorality charge, the Holy Cross protest in 1978, or from the Okinawa scandal in 1952. No concern for the survivors of these heinous crimes has been found.
The actions of Nakayama up to his final months showed no remorse for his actions. Likewise, the Anglican Church of Canada remained protectionist for another two decades following the death of Nakayama. In 2014 information on Nakayama began to be released.¹¹ The Healing Fund for Japanese Canadians offers support against the traumatic legacy of Nakayama's clergy sexual abuse, and support against the traumatic legacy of the inaction of the Anglican Church of Canada to stop this abuse.
Inquiries made to the Healing Fund will remain fully confidential. The Healing Fund for Japanese Canadians was made possible by the combined efforts of the Japanese Canadian Working Group, the National Association of Japanese Canadians and the Anglican Church of Canada consisting of the Diocese of New Westminster, the Diocese of Calgary and the Primate of Canada.