The destruction and horrors of the Second World War ravaged many countries, and in the late 1940s the world was still dealing with the aftermath of the war.
Nonetheless, the island nation of Japan, as one of the principal participants in World War II, had been particularly hard hit. The Columban Fathers saw an opportunity to spread the Gospel and establish a new mission in this rebuilding country.
The Columbans were already fairly familiar with Japan. In late 1934, three Columban Fathers: Joseph F. O’Brien, James F. Doyle and Jerome Sweeney, went to language school in Tokyo, for their eventual assignments in Korea.
They were fascinated with Japan and wrote accounts of life there. Additionally, many Columbans had seen Japan when the ships that were taking them to the other Asian mission countries stopped there to refuel.
By 1948, the Columbans had made a decision to start a permanent mission in Japan. In January of 1948, Fathers Doyle and O’Brien went back to the bombed-out city of Tokyo, and within a year about 30 more Columbans had arrived in Japan.
As the nation of Japan began to recreate itself after the devastation of World War II, the Columbans were creating their mission there.