The Protestant Missions — October 21, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Baikwa Jogakko in Osaka and a school for the Blind in Tokyo!


Henry Faulds

In January, 1878, the two Congregational (or Kumi-ai, as they were afterwards called), churches in Osaka, each having about twenty-five members, opened the school for girls to which was given the name Baikwa Jogakko (Plum-blossom Girls’ School). Rev. H. Leavitt, a missionary of the American Board, was an earnest advocate of self-support, believing that the Christians should not depend on foreign funds for the expenses of churches, schools, publishing houses, or other Christian institutions. It was chiefly owing to his zeal, seconded by that of Rev. Paul Sawayama, that the enthusiasm, faith, and courage of the Christians were aroused for this undertaking which at first seemed far beyond their strength. Though individual missionaries showed their sympathy by personal contributions, no money was asked from the missionary board. Mr. Leavitt wrote: “The running expenses of the school — including rent of building, fuel, teacher, etc., etc., — are paid entirely by the tuition of the scholars and the contributions of the church members.” The American Board Mission allowed one of its lady missionaries to teach in the school, but gave it no pecuniary aid. At first there were fifteen pupils, a number that increased rapidly from month to month. It may be added that for about fifteen years the school continued upon this self-supporting basis; and then, in view of the financial straits into which the school was brought by the dishonesty of the man in whose name the real estate was held, the American Board made it one or two grants.

There was also difficulty in getting permission for employing foreign teachers in the Doshisha Schools. Two ladies had come to teach in the Girls’ Department, which bad been recently established; but when the local Governor, who had become hostile, forwarded the request to the Central Government, he added a suggestion that it should not be granted, since the schools were used to promote Christianity. There was further trouble at a later date when it was Neesima necessary to have Dr. Learned’s passport renewed. One objection suggested by the Governor was that, though Mr. Neesima nominally employed the foreign teachers, the school was really a foreign institution sustained by an annual grant from a missionary society. In February of the next year Mr. Neesima went to Tokyo where, since the passports must be obtained through the Foreign Department, he explained to Mr. Mori, the Vice-Minister, how the school was started and how it was sustained. After hearing his statement, Mr. Mori said: ”You have a right to exist and also to employ foreign teachers, if you use your own funds instead of those coming from a foreign society. The Foreign Office objects to your depending upon the American Board.” Mr. Neesima says:

“I told him that this annual aid was a free gift and that we made a good use of it. Is it forbidden us to receive any aid from a foreign nation? If so, the law ought to prohibit us from aiding other nations. Did not our people send an immense quantity of rice last year to a famishing district in China, and can we not also receive some aid for our moral and intellectual famine? This argument was just enough to bring him around to our side, and through his kindness I obtained the extension of Dr.Learned’s passport for five years.”

Bonin Islands

In the spring of 1878 Rev. F. B. Plummer of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, made a visit to the Bonin Islands, which are five hundred and fifty miles southeast of Yokohama. At this time the islands had a population of about a thousand persons, among them being English, French, Americans, Spanish, South Sea Islanders, Negroes, and cross-breeds. Webb, who was a leader among the foreign settlers, had been in the habit of baptizing the children of all but one of the families. These islands, which belong to Japan, have since that time been frequently visited by missionaries.

A school for teaching the blind was opened that year at Tokyo in the hospital conducted by Dr. Faulds, who also about the same time caused some portions of the Scriptures and other Christian literature to be printed in raised type. Three years before this he had been in conference with several Japanese Christians who united with him in forming a philanthropic society, one of whose objects was the education of the blind. An official who was induced to join the society “strongly objected to its dependence on a foreign church for its support,” and as his views were accepted, the society lost its distinctively Christian character, but gained contributions from the Emperor and others. The school for the blind and for deaf mutes established by this society was not opened until February, 1880, more than a year after that of Dr. Faulds, who continued to help the Japanese society in developing and carrying out its plans.

Naginata Hoko float carrying a son of a well known Kyoto family. He is adorned with the golden phoenix.

On certain Shinto festivals, sacred cars are carried through the streets upon the shoulders of men, who may number several scores. Often the car will suddenly stop, and though the men pretend to be trying to make it go forward, they will all be carried backward or swayed from side to side, the idea being that for some reason or other the god, whose spirit is supposed to be in the car, does not wish to go in the direction that is being taken. Sometimes the car strikes against a house whose inmates have in some way displeased the deity. In August, 1878, as the car belonging to the tutelary shrine of Yotsuya, Tokyo, was being carried in front of the Christian church that had been built in that district, the spirit of the deity became so turbulent that finally the car was hurled against the building with such violence as to do considerable damage. Soon after this, the persons in charge of the proceedings were called before the police, and as a result were led to write a document acknowledging that they had not exerted sufficient care, asking forgiveness for the offense, and promising that there should be no trouble next year. They also sent eighteen persons to offer apologies to the Christians. When a somewhat similar affair occurred in Kobe, the Shinto priests were warned that a recurrence would lead the authorities to prohibit the taking out of the car in future years.



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