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Fr. Joseph Kamezawa went to the house of the Father

By Fr. Mario Yamanouchi, SDB

Beppu, Japan, 16 June 2018 -- Last Sunday, June 16th passed away Fr. Joseph KAMEZAWA Tsunemizu in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, Kyushu Island at the age of 90 years.

Salesian vocation journey

Fr. Tsunemizu was born in a rural agricultural family in town of Ebino with 30.000 population in 1927, at distance 50 km from Miyazaki City. After his primary school studies joined the Salesian Aspirantate in Miyzaki (Hyuga Gakuen secondary school) until 1951. His novitiate formation was in Chofu – Tokyo (1951-1952) and after philosophy studies returned to Miyzaki for his practical training. Straight after his perpetual profession in 1955 was sent to Turin, Italy for the study of theology (PAS – Crocetta), where he got his MA degree in Theology and was ordained on 11 February 1960 in Turin.

Salesian Priestly ministry as catechist, teacher and economer

After his return to Japan was assigned as theology profesor in Chofu (1963) as well was active as catechist and profesor in the Ikuei Kosen (Salesian Polytechnic) in Suginami, Tokyo. Following years was teaching in the Salesian Secondary School in Kawasaki as catechist and teacher until 1973. Between 1974-75 was assigned to the Provincial Economer office and was in charge of the summer camp site of Nojiriko (250 km from Tokyo). After two years in Beppu, Salesio House as economer, continues as economer in Nakatsu 1977-1979 and until 1983 as the catechist of the social work (orphanage) and the ajdacent school.

After the Rome ongoing formation course

In 1982 was sent by the Superiors to Rome – Salesianum, for the ongoing formation course (September – February 1983). At this occasion also visited Germany, the home place of German missionary in Japan (Nakatsu) Fr. Joseph Karl Demleitner. After this course returned to Japan with a new spiritual energy and served in Adachi (Tokyo) as economer and was assigned as teacher of mathematics to Kodaira (1974-1984). Then returns again to Nakatsu, but this time as a parish priest until 2006, then moved to the Salesio House for senior confreres in Beppu until his last moments.

Last stage of Fr. Kamezawa life

In 2011 Fr. Joseph was serving the 3 communities of 70 Caritas Sisters of Jesus in Sotome (Nagasaki – the place of the famous ‘Silence’ movie and novel of Endo Shusaku. During the pilgrimage of Don Bosco relics (2011) took care to prepare the Caritas sister for this important spiritual moments of grace.

Due his failing health moved again to Nakatsu community to accompanied by three Salesian Brothers and still helped in the parish of Nakatsu. In the same year of 2011 received his last obedience to return again to Salesio House in Beppu. Here in silence and prayer prepared day by day his departure for Paradise and encounter with Don Bosco, with Don Cimatti and all other Salesians.

Short Life-line

  • 1927 Born in Ebino, Miyazaki Prefecture (Kyushu)
  • 1952 First profession in Chofu - Tokyo
  • 1954-55 Practical training in Hyuga Gakuin School, Miyazaki
  • 1955 Theology study in Crocetta, Turin – Salesian International Study Center
  • 1960 Priestly ordination in Turin
  • 1960-75 Professor of theology in Chofu, Teaching ministry in Tokyo-Salesian Polytechnic, Salesian Schools in Kawasaki (Yokohama), Osaka and Miyazaki
  • 1976-2010 Economer of Salesio House, Beppu; Parish of Adachi (Tokyo), teacher in Kodaira (Tokyo), Parish of Nakatsu
  • 2011 Nakatsu, Vicerector
  • 2015 Beppu, Salesio House resident
  • 2018. June 16 passed away at the age of 90, 66 years of religious life, 58 years of priesthood.


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