On Chaplains

I have been “composing” this letter ever since I read the article on chaplains in the August 2007 “Lutheran Witness.” They served not only members of the armed forces but civilians as well. Chaplain William J. Reiss was stationed at Camp Crawford, Sapporo, Japan immediately after WWII. He was instrumental in helping the first LCMS missionaries to Japan establish mission stations in the Sapporo area. My father, Kosaku Nao, at that time was a United Lutheran minister who had evacuated from the bomb raids in Tokyo. Chaplain Reiss made it possible for my father and missionary Paul Heerboth to have services in the chapel for the Japan Police Force. Together they conducted services and baptized some men. My mother, who was a Nisei born and raised in San Francisco, was an accomplished pianist and became the organist at the chapel. On March 28, 1948 Chaplain Reiss baptized my sisters and me at the chapel. According to missionary Richard “Pedo” Meyer, we became the first LCMS baptized members in Japan. (In 1953, after completing a colloquy at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, my father became the first LCMS native pastor and served at Grace Lutheran Church in Kugenuma, which was founded by Rev. Richard Meyer. Much later, my father became the first president of the Japan Lutheran Church. The seed that was planted by Chaplain Reiss bloomed to the glory of God.

Naomi Weslock
Roselle, IL


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