Billy Graham Center

BGEA: Records of the Tokyo Office - Collection 34

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent.]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

General Historical Background of Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Historical Background of the BGEA Tokyo Office

Biography of Kenneth McVety

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

Lists of Artifacts and Photographs in This Collection (Location Records)
List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)

Brief Description
Correspondence, posters, reports, etc. of the Tokyo branch of the BGEA, which was started in 1967. Records relate mostly to the office's involvement in the publication of KETSUDAN NO TOKI (the Japanese edition of DECISION magazine); in the showing of the films of World Wide Pictures, a BGEA subsidiary; in the production and distribution of the film SHIAKARI TOKI; and in arranging for BGEA television programs to be broadcast. The collection also contains some correspondence from the 1967 Tokyo International Crusade. There are restrictions on the use of this collection.

Collection 34 [October 19,2016]
BGEA: Tokyo Office; 1967
Records; 1966-1976, n.d.
1 Box (DC, .5 cubic feet), Photographs


The BGEA retains the copyright to their materials and their permission is needed for quotation. BGEA permission is also required to copy photos, audio recordings, or films in this collection, as well as paper records in any restricted files. The Archives staff will provide the form needed to request copying permission. Paper records in files not otherwise restricted may be copied. For quotation permission, contact the BGEA at

Historical Background

The Tokyo Office of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) grew out of the successful Billy Graham Crusade in Tokyo in 1967. During that crusade, a special edition of the BGEA's tabloid Decision was edited for the Japanese by Kenneth McVety. After the end of the crusade in October, President Donald Hoke of Tokyo Christian College, Rev. Akira Hatori (Graham's interpreter during the crusade), and McVety showed Graham substantial donations which had come in from Japan for publishing Decision in Japanese and they persuaded him to authorize the magazine's publication on a regular basis. After a period of producing bi-monthly issues, it went to a monthly publication schedule. The name Ketsudan no Toki (Your Time of Decision) was adopted. Each issue was made up partly of articles written by Japanese and partly of translations of articles from the United States' edition of the magazine. Sherwood Wirt, edition of Decision, worked closely with McVety, editorial associate and later editor of the Japanese edition.

A branch office of the BGEA in Japan had been set up as an unincorporated, non-profit body with McVety as director. In the beginning the Word of Life Press of the Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) helped the Tokyo office by allowing it to use its foreign exchange facilities. By 1971 the staff included, besides McVety, fourteen Japanese members. The office was involved in several other activities besides Kesudan no Toki. In 1969 it began arranging for the showing in Japan of the films of World Wide Pictures (WWP), the BGEA's movie production subsidiary. These showings usually involved a follow-up program for those interested in finding out more about Christianity. In 1973 WWP made a film especially for Japan called Shiokari Togi. The film was later released in the United States as Shiokari Pass. The Tokyo office also, starting in 1973, aided the television crusades office of the BGEA in arranging for the showing of a series of Billy Graham television programs and coordinating local churches in follow-up.



Kenneth McVety grew up in Moose Jaw, Canada, and attended Canadian Bible College in Regina, where he met his wife, Olive. After their graduation, they traveled to Japan as missionaries of the Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM). In 1950 they founded Word of Life Press in Japan to publish Christian literature. The publishing house eventually grew to over 140 full staff members and published translations of the Bible into thirty-eight Asian languages.

McVety began as director of the BGEA's operations in Japan after the 1967 Tokyo Crusade, which he helped plan. He continued to hold his preaching and publishing responsibilities. In addition he also served on the board of Tokyo Christian College, Ochanomizu Student Christian Center, Total Mobilization Evangelism, and Wycliffe Bible Translators. The McVetys had four children: Sharon, Rose Ann, Jonathan and Daniel.

Scope and Content

[NOTE: In the Scope and Content section, the notation "folder 2-5 means box 2, folder 5.]

The bulk of this collection consists of correspondence, although there are also folders containing posters, Bible study kits, and publicity for films, television programs, crusades, and books. Issues of Ketsudan no Toki were sent to the Billy Graham Center Library. Folders are arranged alphabetically according to title.

The correspondence is almost all between McVety and other departments heads of the BGEA, although a few early letters are with other participants in the 1967 Tokyo Crusade. Sherwood Wirt and Roger Palms, Wirt's replacement as editor, sent regular reports to all the editors of different editions of Decision bringing them up to date on new developments. These reports illustrate very well the internal workings of the magazine. Correspondence with WWP was usually with either William Brown, David Barr, or Kenneth Bliss and involved scheduling of films, finances, follow-up results, dubbing procedures, and the production of Shiokaro Togi. There are many letters and reports from 1970-1976 on the latter film dealing with the development of story concept, problems with distribution, reaction, and the preparation of the film for the U.S. market. Correspondence with Chuck Ward from 1973 to 1976 concern the problems and opportunities of using television as a means for communicating the gospel. Also in the correspondence files are some of the yearly reports McVety filed summing up twelve months of activities and containing numerous quotes from people who had been affected by the BGEA's activities. Other correspondents within the BGEA include George Wilson, Cliff Barrows, W. B. Berryman (director of the Australian office), Russ Busby, and Walter Smyth. Of special interest are newsletters from WWP telling about their activities, several memos in 1972 from John Pollock asking for help in collecting several types of personal testimonies for a book Pollock was writing about the effect of Graham's crusades, and several addresses by Wirt in the folder for the years 1966 to 1970 on Christian literature. They were probably given at a Christian Writer's School.

The posters used in Japan by the BGEA were extremely colorful, as illustrated by the samples in this collection. They are for every phase of the work of the Tokyo office - Ketsudan no Toki, television, crusades, films. The folder of publicity materials for the films also contains a number of color stills from Shiokari Togi. Three folders contain records from the 1967 Tokyo crusade including instructions on how to carry out visitation, (during the crusade over four million homes were visited by Christian workers who wanted each family to come hear Graham) and the Bible study booklets given to those who came forward at the meeting.



The records in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in December 1977 from the Tokyo office of the BGEA.

Accession 77-26, 77-27
Robert Shuster
November 4, 1977

Accession 77-26, 77-27
Type of material: Photographs
The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE unless otherwise noted. Request by the boldfaced folder titles at the beginning of each entry below:

WORLD WIDE PICTURES, SHIOKAIR TOGI. Eight color stills, 10" x 14.5" from the film Shiokari Togi.

Box Folder Description
BGEA, Tokyo: Correspondence;
1 1 1966-1970, n.d.
1 2 1971, n.d.
1 3 1972, n.d.
1 4 1973, n.d.
1 5 1974, n.d.
1 6 1975, n.d.
1 7 1976, n.d.
BGEA, Tokyo: Publicity for:
1 8 Decision; 1969-1970, n.d.
1 9 Billy Graham television porgrams; 1974-1977
1 10 World Wide Pictures films; 1972-1977
BGEA, Tokyo Crusade, 1967:
1 11 Miscellaneous Materials; n.d.
1 12 Visitation Materials; 1967

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