JANICE T. CONNELL
In northwestern Japan, in the city of Akita, not too distant from Nagasaki, a most amazing and inexplicable series of heavenly visitations occurred from 1973 that influenced in-the-know decision makers all over the world. Japan and much of the world was touched with Divine Grace in a special way, thanks to Our Blessed Mother Mary’s unique apparitions, with the miraculous help of certain angels, in Akita.
The secular mayor, high-ranking Buddhist dignitaries, Protestant officials, and a Roman Catholic Bishop of Akita officially acknowledged Mary’s supernatural apparitions in their city. This phenomenon happened fifty-six years after Mary’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917 [edited.]
The visionary at Akita was not a child. Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa (now elderly) is single and handicapped. She was a fully professed member of a Catholic Religious Order, the Servants of the Eucharist. Her convent at Yuzawadai is in a village within a two-hour drive of the Akita airport. Agnes’ Guardian Angel was and remains an active participant in the Blessed Mother’s ongoing apparitions to Agnes Sasagawa. And so also is a most remarkable being, the Guardian Angel of International Business.
In 1991, the presiding Catholic Bishop of Akita, Most Reverend John S. Ito, D.D., invited an American couple visiting in the Far East (us) to his diocese and to the convent where Mary appeared at Yuzawadai. He stressed the deep global component of Mary’s apparitions at Akita. Without angelic help, the following eyewitness account would not be available for us today.
Though we had no prior intentions of stopping in Akita, Japan, on our way home from a trip to Asia in July of 1991, the Bishop of Akita insisted that we accept his invitation to investigate and disseminate information about Marian apparitions and messages in his diocese at Akita. He said he was certain that when people realize the significance for the entire world of Mary’s apparitions in his diocese, they will do everything possible to speak the messages of Our Lady at Akita. Even though his beliefs were strong, we could not imagine the extraordinary manifestations that awaited us in Akita.
“Our Asian hosts graciously arranged to have our return tickets rerouted through Tokyo, with a one day stopover that allowed us to travel to Akita. As we neared our destination, my spouse realized that a time change would occur, making our connections from Tokyo to Akita nearly impossible.
“We were scheduled to land at Narita-Tokyo International Airport at the height of rush hour. It would then be necessary to travel across town, a journey of seventy-five miles to Haneda — the domestic airport. From there we would board the last departing flight of the day to Akita in northwestern Japan.
We asked about other alternatives to get to Akita that evening. The stewardess informed us that the distance from Narita-Tokyo International Airport to Akita was so great that airline connections, available only at the domestic airport, Haneda, would work for us on our tightly scheduled international stopover in Japan.
Is it possible that we could land early? we asked. ‘It rarely happens’ she responded. Perhaps the stewardess felt sorry for such ill-advised Americans. She kindly promised to allow us to depart the huge plane first. Then she told us if we were ‘lucky’ enough to have our luggage exit the plane first, and obtain seats on the helicopter from Narita-Tokyo International Airport to the Haneda domestic airport, we might make our connection to Akita. My incredulous spouse inhaled slowly before saying: ‘What chance do you really think we have of getting our luggage off this 747 first?’
“I did what I usually do when situations look humanly impossible: pray and remind our Blessed Mother that we are consecrated to her. After all, we did not seek to come to Akita. Rather, the Roman Catholic bishop requested our presence there in service to the church.
From a human point of view, there was no way we could get to Akita that night. The time change made a very tight connection essentially impossible.
We gathered our personal belongings as our jumbo jet approached Narita-Tokyo International Airport and proceeded to the front of the 747. We were the first to depart. So I hurried to the baggage claim area. There stood my spouse, as astonished as I had ever seen him. Our luggage was the first off the ramp!
A line opened and we sped through customs. Then we rushed to find a taxi. Though our cabdriver spoke no English, he understood our pressing need to get across town, more than seventy-five miles to the domestic airport. I prayed. My spouse ‘studied’ his wristwatch. Perhaps he was praying, too. Mysteriously we encountered no red lights or traffic jams along the way, though we were in the height of rush-hour traffic. We crossed town from northeast Tokyo to southwest Tokyo — at best an hour and three-quarters journey — in less than fifty minutes.
Arriving at Haneda, the domestic airport, a young Japanese woman wearing a smart uniform including a pink golf shirt, gray skirt, and black shoes was holding a pink flag as she opened our cab door and ushered us out of the car. We never communicated with her, for we do not speak Japanese. She, however, seemed to know all about us; she assigned our luggage to someone I did not see and hurriedly escorted us through the domestic airport. We did not go through airport security, we did not hand our tickets to anyone. The young woman led us to the disembarkation ramp of an All Nippon Airways jet. The door, though it had already closed for take-off, slid open. As we entered the plane, the door quickly closed behind us, the plane immediately taxied down the runway and ascended into the sky before we could reach our seats. I wondered where the luggage might be. My spouse was totally amazed. He inquired if the plane was actually en route to Akita. It was. Shortly after we fastened our seat belts, we were served a lovely meal. When we landed in Akita, we realized that our plane was the last one to land that day and the airport was closing. There was no one there to meet us.
We could find no one in the airport who spoke English. All the signs were in Japanese. We followed other fellow passengers to the baggage claim area. There, in full view, was our luggage. While my spouse assembled our bags, I tried to telephone the convent of the apparitions, but complex directions for using the public telephone were in Japanese. There was no cell phone service at all. My spouse then made an effort to engage a taxi to take us to the convent, but our instructions were written in English and the cabdriver could not understand where to take us.
My weary spouse was becoming visibly upset. ‘I suppose we will sleep on the sidewalk with our luggage tonight and wait for the airport to open in the morning, he ventured as guards were locking doors. Only then did I experience a moment of concern. ‘Never mind,’ I told him. ‘We’ll rent a car!’ I found the Hertz counter and handed the agent my credit card. But I received only a blank stare from the agent. ‘Do you speak English?’
Immediately a highly refined Japanese man stepped forward and said: ‘May I be of assistance to you, Madam?’
‘Oh yes!’ I exclaimed. ‘Will you help me fill out the forms to rent a car?’
‘Where are you going?’ he inquired. I showed him the piece of paper I was carrying with the telephone number and address of the convent at Yuzawadai.
‘Ah yes,’ he said as he bowed. ‘It will not be necessary for you to rent a car. It would be my great honor to take you to this place.’
Just then, my spouse approached the rental car counter where I was standing. The gracious Japanese gentleman by now was insisting that he personally take us to the convent. He put my spouse at ease immediately. That was highly unusual. I looked at the man again. ‘This is no ordinary human being,’ I realized. His blue suit was of the finest fabric, perfectly fitted. His starched white shirt and dark tie were the best. His shoes were shiny black leather. It is difficult to remember his features though he had extraordinarily kind eyes filled with compassion and a smile that warmed our hearts.
I was praying: ‘Dear Lord, if this truly is an angel, please give me a sign. Let him have a white car.’
I was not surprised when we approached the white car he pointed out, though to this day I do not know how our luggage got into the car. By now, I was somewhat convinced the caring man who was driving us to the convent of Akita was in fact a celestial being sent to help us. But I quickly disregarded that thought as foolishness.
I listened carefully from the backseat as the man and my spouse spoke about many things, including global business and finance. The man’s diction, vocabulary, and choice of phrases were inspiringly beautiful. His wisdom was immense. I commented on the brilliancy of his language and asked the man where he had acquired such exquisite linguistic skills. Chuckling agreeably, he did not respond.
My unsuspecting spouse asked the man many questions. It was amazing to hear his eloquent responses. One particular conversation was logically enigmatic. He said: ‘I travel much in my work.’ My husband asked: ‘Are you a golfer?’ The gentleman replied: ‘I know well the golf courses of the world. Some are truly magnificent.’ When my husband asked where the most challenges might be, the man spoke of some extraordinary challenges in the Middle East. Though my spouse rightfully thought the man was speaking of golf, I believe he was speaking of global politics. My spouse asked about the difficulty (of such golf courses). The man (angel?) spoke of problems that flow from not concentrating at all times on the right thing to do. This double entendre-infused conversation continued for quite a while. The more I listened, the more impossible it was becoming to believe the man was not an angel. Though I tried to get my spouse’s attention to alert him to the probability of a celestial companion, he had no ears to hear anything but the wisdom emanating from the man’s conversation.
Gradually I began to realize the angel was speaking to both of us about different things we each were meant to hear. My sorrow now is that I did not take notes or record the conversation, for it was filled with information about the coming of God’s kingdom on earth. The man truly sounded like an angel as he ever so graciously assured us the population of the world will be Judeo-Christian. Incredulous, we asked how that could come to pass. ‘It is only international business language that make sense,’ he firmly responded. Then he looked at me in the backseat and said: ‘Unless the world becomes Christianized, there will be no more family life. Without family life, there will be no purpose to life on earth at all.’ We asked him if he was aware of the multitude of religions on earth, most of which have no knowledge of Christ as the World Incarnate. He said: ‘When Christians realize who Christ is, all will come to know.’
I spoke briefly to the man about a book I had with me. The man said: ‘Oh yes, I know all about that book.’ I was surprised, in spite of myself. ‘Would you like one?’ I asked, presenting a copy to him. ‘Mary’s messages are for everyone, especially the lost,’ he responded as he returned the book to me.
At that moment my spouse returned to the car and amazingly stated: ‘You won’t believe this! A young Japanese journalist who speaks excellent English opened the convent door holding [a copy of my book] in his hand. He is reading (translating) the book to the sisters and their guests at the dinner table right now. They did not even know we were coming. Apparently the Bishop forgot to tell them.’
Before I could explain to my spouse that our mysterious driver might be an angel, we noticed our luggage beside us on the front porch of the convent.
At that moment, my spouse’s startled voice shocked me: ‘The car is gone! There is no way that man could have driven out of here on this one-way road! How did he and the car vanish?’
‘We’re here on God’s business.’ I sighed, realized there is far more global significance to the apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Akita than heretofore recognized. We were learning that when God sends our Blessed Mother on a mission to the earth, His angels are overjoyed to assist her.
During the evening meal, pilgrims at the convent were invited to stand and speak of their reasons for being there. Approximately twenty pilgrims from five continents did so. Only afterward did we realize that no one else in the group spoke English. Yet we understood one another perfectly. It was Mother Superior who told us that such experiences are normal for pilgrims of Our Lady of Akita at the convent of the Servants of the Eucharist.
This article we reprint today (slightly edited) was previously published by Spirit Daily in 2017.
The apparitions at Akita began in 1973, not 1981. Wonderful story here, but that incorrect detail, and the fact that Medjugorje is mentioned favorably, make me wonder about the story.
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You are right, Brian. Thank you for the timely observation. I edited that part and also the part where it says that Akita was simultaneous with the alleged apparitions at Medjugore. I have very good friends that are very involved with Medjugore and I was even invited to go there (I declined) but to this day I remain doubtful. I compare the lifestyles of the seers of Garabandal (for example) and their counterparts at Medjugore and something does not quite click. Then there are some matters of disobedience that (if you hear the podcast/video below the article) Our Lady herself has pointed at as the supreme virtue of those who live a true Christian life: poverty, chastity, and obedience. I bear no animosity to the Medjugore events but I remain cautious to say the least.
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