The Seibo no Kishi Magazine, published by the Conventual Franciscans in Japan, has printed its thousandth issue. The magazine was founded by St. Maximilian M. Kolbe during his years as a missionary in Japan. The publication is Japan’s version of the Knight of the Immaculate magazine.
We should recall that Friar Maximilian was animated by an extraordinary missionary zeal. He used the media to spread the Gospel and devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He was a passionate amateur radio broadcaster, so much so, that he is the patron saint of amateur radio broadcasters. However, he was also a journalist and an extraordinary organizer. In 1922, he founded the Knight of the Immaculate magazine in order to spread love for the Mother of God. In 1927, he founded his first “City of the Immaculate,” Niepokalanów, in Poland. It became an extraordinary center for vocations.
In 1930, he set out for Japan with the intention of publishing a similar magazine in Japanese. The Bishop of Nagasaki gave him permission to publish, but in return, asked Friar Maximilian to teach theology at the seminary. In 1930, the first issue was published. Last year marked the 90th anniversary of the magazine’s founding. Its thousandth issue was published in May of 2021.
Seibo No Kishi means “Knight of the Mother of God.” The name was changed slightly from “Knight of the Immaculate Conception” to make it more understandable to the Japanese. The first issue was published just a month after Kolbe’s arrival in Nagasaki. In it, he published an article discussing the Immaculate Virgin Mary and the miraculous medal as well as on St. Teresa of the Child Jesus, patroness of missionaries. The thousandth issue featured an article on the magazine’s history, as written by Friar Luca Shin-ichiroh TANIZAKI, the Minister Provincial of the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. in Japan.
The thousandth issue also celebrates special issues from the past, such as Issue 72 published in May of 1936, which bade farewell to Maximilian Kolbe as he left Japan for the last time. Another, Issue 126, was published in November of 1940. This was the last issue before Japan attacked the United States, leading to the suspension of the magazine’s publication as ordered by the Japanese government. “The Knight” was only able to resume publication in 1946. Since 1970, the magazine’s editors have all been Japanese friars.
Ironically, the thousandth issue also corresponded with the death of Friar Tommaso Kozaki Koichi TAGAWA, (93) who was an editor and contributor of the magazine, under the pseudonym “Tomei Ozaki.” He survived the atomic blast at Nagasaki, which left him orphaned. He was a Conventual Franciscan since World War II, and wrote a great deal about Maximilian Kolbe, whom he had never met. Friar Tommaso Kozaki Koichi TAGAWA visited Poland twelve times and twice met with Franciszek GAJOWNICZEK, the man for whom St. Maximilian gave his life.