TOKYO, Japan — Katsushi Toyama, chief priest at Tokyo’s historic Meiji Shrine, met with Elder Henry B. Eyring, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, during a special event that was part of Elder Eyring’s tour of Church areas in Asia and the Pacific islands.

Elder Eyring, along with Latter-day Saint leaders D. Todd Christofferson and David F. Evans, was invited to meet with Toyama to build bridges of understanding and goodwill.

Elder Henry B. Eyring greets Katsushi Toyama, the chief priest at the Meiji Shrine. © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Toyama told the visitors that there was no written book of Shinto doctrine similar to the Bible or other scriptures but that followers manifest their relationship to God by striving for purity and righteousness in their lives.

Elder Eyring said that Mormons similarly strive for personal purity and righteousness in their lives. “Our prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, regularly admonishes members of our Church to make their beliefs an integral part of their daily life,” he said.

Toyama first became familiar with the Church when he was hosted in Salt Lake City in the 1970s.
More recently, this relationship has been nurtured as other priests from the shrine have visited Salt Lake City and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

In 2005, the BYU-Hawaii Concert Choir was hosted in a first-ever performance by a Christian group at the Meiji Shrine.

The meeting with Toyama took place in a small room generally reserved for conversations with heads of state and their emissaries.

Emperor Meiji, for whom the shrine is named, ruled Japan from 1867 to 1912, balancing the desire to retain the uniqueness of Japanese culture with a strong thrust to bring his country into the industrialized world.

The first Latter-day Saint meeting in Japan occurred in 1903 with about 300 people in attendance. Today there are more than 120,000 members of the Church in Japan. The Church also has two temples there, one in Tokyo and one in Fukuoka.

This article was prepared by the LDS Newsroom at