Tokyo (Photo: Jazael Melgoza/Unslash)

My family in Japan

Marco moved to Tokyo with his wife and children. The experience of the movement had won him over a number of years earlier in Italy, but over time his enthusiasm began to wane...

Here in Japan I have rediscovered the living beauty of the charism, perceiving it as more fertile than ever in recent times. I joined the movement when I was 26 years old (I am now 47) and seven years ago, at the request of the company I work for, I moved to Tokyo with Elena and our three children.

When I was living in Italy, Fr. Giussani's charism literally changed my life, overwhelming me. In terms of family and work, things always went very well. Yet, as the years went by, I was accompanied by a sense of melancholy, of lack, which also marked my first years here in Japan.

Moving here, I had realized that I lived all the proposals of the movement mechanically, without ever involving myself fully. If I did not like a proposal, I ignored it and no one noticed. I got to the point where, when the cycle of Giussani's books began to repeat itself, the charism no longer said anything new to me. In short, I lived the movement as something cultural, which I took for granted thinking I had "studied" it well. Nothing interested me anymore.

That is, until the world changed. Not only because of Covid, but for a series of facts that happened on this side of the globe. For example, the departure, within a short period of time, of so many people who had been here for years. This left us with a void that screamed louder than before. Then, fortunately, some new friends arrived with the intention of staying here for a long time, giving up their comfortable situation in Italy. This, at first, was not easy for them, but seeing their desire called me back to why I do things, what I am doing here. Thus the fascinating encounter (but only cultural) of the charism, which I made 20 years ago, appeared before me as a new and living fact. Suddenly I felt called back to take a more serious look at what I was doing, what I wanted, and to ask myself what really made me happy.

Then, one day, unable to return to Italy as usual because of the pandemic, we found ourselves organizing a pilgrimage to Nagasaki. We set out in the footsteps of the hidden Christians on the sites of Takashi and Midori Nagai guided by Gabriele Di Comite. That was the moment when the people I had known for years suddenly assumed the face of a real family and companionship. In short, during this year of Covid, I have discovered that this is my family in Japan. I cannot help but feel responsible for them, because I know they feel responsible for me. I think of Naoko tearfully telling us that she is grateful to have us here and that we are important to her, reminding us of the importance of how we stand before her. And so all of a sudden, in a moment like so many others, I was placed in front of a new fact and I felt called back to look seriously at what happened to me and to take seriously what is happening to me.

Read also – The struggle for happiness

And the charism is now happening again here; it is no longer a theoretical-cultural sequel, but a carnal relationship, which answers the questions in our hearts. And these hearts are incredibly equal, because the heart of a Japanese person, or a Korean person, is the same as mine, and they all cry out and seek the fulfillment that I want, even though we come from very different histories. In fact, their hearts move me even more because they have not had the abundance of proposals of the movement that we have had in Italy; but in this small place they have found Someone who answers their questions and welcomes them, even if sometimes they are not even Christians. This is a miracle from which I can no longer escape.

Marco, Tokyo, Japan