Testimony 16 & 17
A sister of a survivor shares her story and the testimony of her brother, a survivor.
Recorded in 2014.
To the Reverend Nakayama Disclosure Project Working Group (now known as the Healing Fund),
When I read the information in the Bulletin of the working group making plans for an apology for Reverend Nakayama’s abuse of children during his ministry, I was elated that at last something was being done. It brought back memories of his visit to our home in [Redacted] during the early 1950’s. Every time I read about how some honour was being bestowed upon him, I felt with contempt that a dishonour was being done to those he once abused.
My memory is of my older brother telling my mother what the Reverend was doing to him. The Reverend was staying at our home in the attic bedroom opposite my brother’s room. My brother explained that the Reverend had crept into his room in the middle of the night and slipped into his bed and felt him up and down and I don’t remember what else. When my mother heard this, I can remember my mother’s angry voice telling him how he could say such a thing? (Sonna koto eu tara haji ga kakaru!!) The Japanese culture was that shameful things were never discussed or spread and never to be mentioned again. After that, my brother disappeared whenever the Reverend came to our home. He would sleep in the woodshed and not come in for dinner. My eldest brother had similar stories. Amongst my sisters, we often talked about those shameful things he did to the boys in our community. We looked with derision at how he was being honoured from time to time and at his canonization by the church.
I asked my younger brother to write about his personal experiences in his contact with Reverend Nakayama. As it brings back distasteful memories whenever the reverend’s name comes up, he was reluctant to report about his experiences, However, he would do so but would like to remain anonymous. His memory of the late Rev Nakayama is still so vivid in his mind.
Here’s what he wrote to me:
I don’t know exactly how old I was when I first came into contact with Rev. Gordon Nakayama, probably 10 or 12 years old. He came to our house for a visit and hold religious meetings for the Japanese community. My mother put him up in one of the bedrooms. My bedroom was in the attic. He came up to my room in the middle of the afternoon and started to talk about religion and God. I listened like a good boy thinking that he was a very important person. I think he said that I should give him a hug and I complied. Then he started kissing me and sticking his tongue in my mouth. I was disgusted but I didn’t know what to do. Then his hand was in my pants and he was feeling me. I was confused but didn’t say anything. The next day he asked me to go into his car and pray. Like a good boy I did what he asked and got into his car. This was the middle of the day. He said some prayers and said I should give him a hug. Again I complied knowing what was coming. Again he started to kiss me. I think I made some excuse to get out of the car and went to visit my friend down the street. I stayed away from the house as long as I could.
The next visit about 2 years later he tried to lure me into his car again but I made some excuse and went to visit my friend and again stayed away as long as I could. I told mom that Rev Nakayama did some bad things to me and she said something like, “ I heard some stories of what was going on.” But that was the last I heard of it.
Thank you for working on an apology to survivors of Reverend Nakayama’s abuses. After all these years, to have recognition of his abuse to young boys, brings a relief to our family that a wrong was being made right.
-Sister of a survivor. Anonymized to protect the identities of the individuals mentioned.