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Japan ordains first female bishop in east Asia

Posted on: April 22, 2022 12:32 PM
Bishop-elect Maria Grace Tazu Sasamori

The Nippon Sei Ko Kei (NSKK), the Anglican Communion in Japan, is set to ordain Maria Grace Tazu Sasamori as Bishop of Hokkaido, making her the first female bishop in east Asia. 

The service will take place on Saturday 23 April at 10 am JST (1 am GMT) at the Cathedral Church of Sapporo Christ Church. It will be presided over by the Primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, Bishop Luke Kenichi Muto of the Diocese of Kyushu. 

Covid restrictions means attendance is limited, but the service will be streamed live on the diocese website. 

Bishop-elect Maria Grace, a priest from the Diocese of Tokyo, was elected to her new role in November 2021, at the 80th Synod of the Diocese of Hokkaido. 

She is only the second female bishop in Asia, and the first in Japan and east Asia. 

Her election was welcomed at the time by Mandy Marshall, Director for Gender Justice at the Anglican Communion Office, as “a real breakthrough”. 

Marshall said the bishop-elect would “need our prayers as she steps into a very male space and has the pressure and holds the hopes of Anglican women in Japan”. 

The NSKK become a province of the Anglican Communion in 1972. It now comprises 11 dioceses with some 32,000 church members. 

Bishop-elect Maria Grace will succeed Bishop Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, former Primate of the NSKK.