China, Japan, and Utah: The Transnational Passages of a Mormon Family

Presented by Melissa Inouye

The first missions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to China (1853) and Japan (1901–1924) were very difficult. And yet the history of Latter-day Saints in greater China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) and Japan since World War II is a story of transnational endeavor and cultural resilience. This lecture will focus on the Chinese and Japanese roots of one large Mormon Asian-American family in order to reveal one of the ways in which Mormonism has provided a framework to which global Mormon pioneers have anchored their lives since World War II.

Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye was raised in Costa Mesa, California. She served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Taiwan Kaohsiung Mission from 2000 to 2001. She studied at Harvard College and delivered the Harvard Oration at the Class Day graduation exercises for the class of 2003. She earned her PhD from Harvard University in East Asian languages and civilizations. Dr. Inouye’s research includes the history of Christianity in China and the study of global Mormonism. Her current book manuscript project is titled "China’s True Jesus: Charisma and Institution-Building in a 20th Century Native Church." Dr. Inouye has taught Chinese history and American religious history at California State University—Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, the University of Hong Kong, and the University of Auckland, where she is currently a lecturer in Asian studies. Dr. Inouye, her husband, and four children live in Henderson Valley, Auckland, New Zealand, surrounded by the beautiful Waitakere ranges, vineyards, and, yes, a lot of sheep.

This free lecture is part of the 2015 Pioneers in Every Land lecture series sponsored by the Church History Library.