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FREE EVENT: Book Talk | “A Christian in the Land of the Gods,” by Joanna Shelton

April 25, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Free and Open to the Public! Space is Limited.

Please come to the Kinokuniya book store in Japan Town on April 25 at 6:00PM to hear author and former US trade official Joanna Reed Shelton talk about her book, A Christian in the Land of the Gods, the remarkable story of her great-grandfather who was a Christian missionary in Meiji Japan.  In November 1877, three months after Emperor Meiji’s conscript army of commoners defeated forces led by Japan’s famous “last samurai,” the Reverend Tom Alexander and his new wife, Emma, arrived in Japan, a country where practicing Christianity had been punishable by death until 1868. Joanna’s book offers an intimate view of the hardships and challenges faced by nineteenth-century missionaries working to plant their faith in a country just emerging from two and a half centuries of self-imposed seclusion. The narrative takes place against the backdrop of wrenching change in Japan and the jockeying for territory and influence by foreign powers in East Asia, as seen through the eyes of a Presbyterian missionary from East Tennessee.

Please come to this FREE program.  Copies of the A Christian in the Land of the Gods, as well as the Japanese-language version, Watashi-no Kazoku-no Meiji Nihon (My Family in Meiji Japan) will be available for sale. A light meal will be provided. Space is limited, so register here now or bottom of this page!


6:00 – 6:30: Registration, Networking
6:30 – 7:30: Interview and Audience Q&A
7:30 – 7:45: Networking


Joanna Shelton teaches, lectures, and writes on economic policy issues, drawing on her long public service at national and international levels. Since moving to Montana in 1999, she has taught undergraduates and adults at the University of Montana, served as Senior Fellow and Interim Director of UM’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, and lectured to numerous public and private audiences. She writes a monthly column for the Missoulian newspaper, has written for the New York Times, and has appeared on radio and television in the United States and abroad. She participates in local and international conferences and consults with private investors and other groups.

Prior to moving to Montana, Ms. Shelton served as Deputy Secretary General of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the second-ranking official of a (then) $200 million international organization with 1700 employees, where she bore major management and substantive responsibilities.  Ms. Shelton previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Programs at the US Department of State; senior staff member and economist with the US House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee; and economist with the US Treasury Department. She also worked for the US Trade Representative’s Office and in the Japanese operations of a major US multinational company. She has advised Cabinet and subcabinet officials, Members of Congress, and participated in numerous bilateral and multilateral trade and investment negotiations.  Ms. Shelton has a BA from Duke University and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and speaks French, Danish, and some Japanese. Ms. Shelton is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Japan America Society of Washington State, and the Montana World Affairs Council.


Event Venue Generously Provided By:





Japan Center – Kinokuniya
1581 Webster St., #218
San Francisco, 94115
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