The Words of the Richardson Family

Singing the Japanese National Anthem in Korea

Tokiko Richardson
January 2011

Mrs. Richardson (at the microphone, lower left) singing the Japanese national anthem for a largely Korean crowd

For most people in the stadium that day, the battle would be fought on the soccer pitch. But for one person, the fight was within herself.

My first performance for True Parents was at their birthday celebration in 1981. I went to America from Japan with my spiritual mother and our pianist. The next morning we were invited to breakfast with True Father. Breakfast was ham, eggs and toast. It was a typical American breakfast. Now, even after almost thirty years, I clearly remember what Father said: "You thought I would be eating kimchi for breakfast, didn't you? If you come to another country, you need to eat the food they eat. You need to love that country."

In October 2008, I moved to Korea to be with my American husband who has worked in Korea since 2003.

I work at the Japanese School in Seoul. I recently sang the Republic of Korea's national anthem at the recent opening ceremony of our new school building. Many principals from Korean schools were present, plus a delegation from the Japanese embassy. I love Korea, so I could put my heart and love into singing the Korean anthem, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

A few days later, I received a phone call from the Japanese embassy. They had been asked by the Korea Football Association to find someone to sing the Japanese national anthem at the opening of a soccer match between Korea and Japan a few days later on October 12 at the World Cup Stadium. Usually the anthem of the visiting team's country will be sung by a Korean, but Koreans don't want to sing the Japanese national anthem. A member of the embassy delegation that had come to our school had remembered me, and that is how I came to be called.

At the stadium, the rehearsal for the opening ceremony at four o'clock went smoothly, when I sang to the empty stadium. At 7:40 pm they called me to prepare to sing and I came out into the stadium again. Some fifty thousand people had come to watch the game. The spirit in the stadium had changed, but not just because of the number of people. I was waiting on the edge of the field. On my left I could see many flags and banners from the Korean side (which I could not read).

The announcer introduced each of the Japanese soccer players, followed by the Korean team one by one. With the introduction of each Korean player, the crowd let out a huge cheer. The more I heard the introductions of the Korean athletes, the more my body became stiff, beginning with my hands.

I felt something very strong coming from the large Korean crowd. I felt some heavy invisible spirits coming to me from the Korean side and they were attaching to my body. Then finally, I felt them come to my throat. It was not stage fright; I have no problem to sing on a stage. And the anthem is a simple melody that I know very well. I am not usually spiritually open; even so, I almost felt that I could not sing.

Yet I had to sing. My school colleagues had made a big banner reading, "Do your best, Tokiko, our teacher!" I thought, What can I do? The only thing left was prayer. So I prayed, "Heavenly Father, please, please guide these two nations to become like brother and sister under True Parents' love."

As I concluded my prayer, the strong, heavy spirit dissipated. My heart became peaceful. Right away, I heard, "Mrs. Tokiko Richardson will sing the Japanese national anthem." I walked out to the podium and sang. I felt the huge crowd listening. Then they applauded. After finishing, I felt so much warmth in my heart toward everyone in the stadium, and I smiled.

The next day, I spoke about my experience with my spiritual mother, who is blessed to a Korean. She has been in Korea more than twenty-five years. She said, "There were banners referring to Admiral Soon-shin Yi and Joong-geun Ahn who assassinated the Japanese resident-general, Hirobumi Ito. Korean comfort women were sitting as a group, dressed in white. If it had been me, I could not have sung the Japanese anthem."

Now I know why so many heavy spirits came to me.

I had heard many stories and testimonies during my twenty-five years in the United States about how the many Korean -- Japanese couples True Parents had blessed paid a great deal of indemnity because of the painful history their countries share. But at that time I had only heard. Now, I saw and I felt for myself, so it is different for me now.

God has given me a great opportunity to learn more about Korea, the Father nation. Through my experience at the stadium, I came to understand the existence of Korean spirits that are resentful toward Japan. I hope that the Koreans can forgive us.

As a blessed family, my husband, my daughter and I would like to be a bridge of true love. 

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