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Tokyo officially opened to Westerners who are restricted to residing in the reclaimed land district of Tuskiji.

Five missionary families begin holding informal afternoon worship services in English following their Sunday morning services for their Japanese congregations.

One of the families, the Greenes, move to Kansai.

Kobe Union Church is founded by the Greenes and others.

Plans are approved to erect a church building, complete with steeple, to house "Union Church" services in Tsukiji on Lot Number 17 - later to be referred as late as 1932 as "the old Presbyterian Meeting House in Tsukiji."


This is the date conservatively regarded as the date of dedication of Union Church - but other records suggest as early as late July 1872. Records state the congregation consisted of 43 persons: 22 foreign men, 18 foreign women, and 13 Japanese. Initial collection of $1300 paid off remaining building debt of $900.

Reverend David Thompson "married two native couples in the Christian way" and unwittingly help launch what would become a new Japanese industry: marriages in Christian chapels.

1875 - 1900
Union Church is used by various congregations including Shinsakaye-bashi (Presbyterian) Church and a German congregation. The church building is also used as a school for foreign children.

Foreigners are allowed to hold land and reside outside of the Tsukiji District in Tokyo.

Union Church congregation follows exodus of foreigners from the unhealthy mud flats surrounded Tsukiji to largely what is now Ginza. The congregation meets in various Japanese churches and halls.

Tokyo School for Foreign Children, forerunner of the American School in Japan (ASIJ), leases the Tsukiji Union Church building for 5 years.

Union Church congregation moves to the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Sukiyabashi.

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While music must have been very important before, this year provides the earliest surviving record of the unique importance of music in TUC’s worship.

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Largely from
A Church For All Seasons:
Tokyo Union Church 1872-1980
by Robert F. Hemphill

(Photos mainly from National Geographic and TUC archives)



























Union Church congregation moves again to Ginza Methodist Church, now the site of Sukiyabashi Arcade and Shopping Center. Still without their own pastor, Union Church pulpit is shared by various missionaries including by Dr. A.K. Reischauer, father of future Harvard professor and US Ambassador to Japan, Edwin O. Reischauer.

Tsukiji Lot Number 14 is sold and the Union Church building is torn down.

Congregation adopts a new constitution formally declaring itself to be "Tokyo Union Church" - later regarded simply as "TUC."

TUC congregation consists of 193 members from 20 different communities and 8 nationalities comprised of 113 women and 80 men with worship attendance average between 125 and 200 people. Many worshipers traveling "long distances" of 3 miles or more. A Site and Building Fund is established and end the year in raising a total of $8,500 - a tenth of the long-term goal.