History & Boundaries

History of the Church in Japan LDS Missionaries first arrived in Japan in 1901, with Heber J. Grant as the first mission president.  Missionary efforts continued until 1925, and included missionary work opened in Sendai and Morioka, but were abandoned until post-World War II.   LDS missionaries have been serving in Japan continuously since 1948.  A chart of the ever-changing History of LDS Japan Mission Names and Area Boundaries appears below.

Sendai Mission History and Boundaries The Sendai Mission was established 01 July 1974 when the Japan East Mission, which was headquartered in Sapporo and had only existed for four years, was split into two missions. The island of Hokkaidō became the Sapporo Mission and the six-prefecture Tōhoku (Northeast) region of the island of Honshū became the Sendai Mission, including the southeastern-most city of Iwaki, which had been part of the Tōkyō Mission prior to this date. Many of the pioneer Sendai missionaries started as Japan East missionaries serving on Hokkaidō. Ironically, a few days after the Higashi Nihon Daishinsai (East Japan Great Earthquake Disaster) occurred on 11 Mar 2011, all Sendai Missionaries were temporarily transferred to the Sapporo Mission, not knowing if or when they would return. By 24 May 2011, only just over two months later, all Sendai Missionaries had returned to the Sendai Mission and were assigned to areas considered safe.

The six-prefecture Tōhoku area is also referred to as Michinoku, and retains a reputation as a remote region, offering breathtaking scenery but a harsh climate. The famous haiku poet Matsuo Basho wrote Oku no Hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North) during his travels through the region in 1689, and the term Michinoku is derived from that work.

The Tōhoku-only Sendai Mission boundaries remained consistent for 27 years until 01 July 2001, when the prefecture of Niigata, formerly part of Tōkyō North Mission, became part of the Sendai Mission, adding new branches and a logistical challange for transfers and administration. Similar border shifts also took place in all missions on Honshū. Due to the (re)creation of the Tokyo South Mission effective 01 Jul 2013, Niigata and its branches (Niigata, Nagaoka, Sanjo, Joetsu, Sado) once again returned to be part of the Tōkyō Mission, after having been part of the Sendai Mission for the previous 12 years.

Mission Names and Boundaries History Over the years, border shifts, mission dissolutions, additions and consolidations have affected all missions in Japan. I've created a chart of the History of LDS Japan Mission Names and Area Boundaries that appears below. I've added a 'unit count' row at the bottom to illustrate the relative number of church units in each mission (as of 2013); the two most rural missions, Sendai and Sapporo, also have the lowest unit counts. Please feel free to address questions or corrections using a 'Contact Us' entry.

Sources: Church Almanac, Thesis: History of Japan Mission 1901-1924 Nichols, Murray, Riding on the Eagle’s Wings: The Japanese Mission under American Occupation, 1948-52. Shinji Takagi, Ph.D.Thesis: History of LDS Church in Japan 1948-1980 Nelson, Terry G, 世紀を越えて末日聖徒イエス・キリスト教会100年のあゆみ

Mission History Section Links:
Senkyoushi-go: Teruya Jidai   post-77
Temples:  Tokyo   Fukuoka   Sapporo