【December 2017 No.395】The Life and Legacy of Keisen Jogakuen Founder Kawai Michi

Ms. Kawai Michi (1877-1953) often said, “The true principal of Keisen Jogakuen is our loving God.” This principle lives on to this day in the educational programs of Keisen Jogakuen Junior and Senior High School and of Keisen Jogakuen University and Graduate School. Keisen Jogakuen is not a mission school that was established by receiving support from an overseas mission organization. It is a Christian school that was founded, based on faith, by Kawai, a Japanese Christian.

 

In the words of Rev. Isshiki Yoshiko, “Throughout her life, Kawai Michi made church a priority and devoted herself to fervent prayer and to the school’s students, teachers and staff, along with the families of students and friends all over the world. She loved those people. She was an educator who could lead women to have independence, autonomy, and self-realization as a person who stands before God.” A special counselor at Keisen Jogakuen, Isshiki was educated by and lived with Kawai, just like a family member.

 

Kawai Michi was born in Mie Prefecture to the family of a Shinto priest at Ise Shrine, the most famous shrine in Japan. As a result of reformation that occurred during the Meiji Restoration, however, her father lost his job and moved to Hokkaido while she was still very young. She met Sarah Smith, a missionary in Hakodate, followed her to Sapporo, and studied at Smith Girls’ School, which later became Hokusei Jogakko. It can be said that the guidance provided by Nitobe Inazo and Smith in Sapporo gave Kawai direction for her life. Through a recommendation by Tsuda Umeko, Kawai received scholarship funds and, at the age of 21, traveled with Nitobe Inazo and his wife to the United States. In the autumn of 1904, Kawai graduated from Bryn Mawr College, returned to Japan, and became a teacher at Joshi Eigaku Juku, the school founded by Tsuda Umeko that now became Tsuda University. At the same time, Kawai also became a founding member of the Japan YWCA. When she became the first Japanese person to serve as its national secretary, she was 35 years old. During her 14 years as the national secretary, she traveled not only within Japan but also to Western and Asian countries, attending conferences, investigations, and lectures. She was also extremely busy gathering support for relief efforts after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 as well as holding training sessions and nation-wide conventions.

 

When Kawai retired from the Japan YWCA and felt called to school education, Watanabe Yuri (later Isshiki Yuri), Morikubo Hisa, and other former students of Kawai at Joshi Eigaku Juku supported her through prayer and by raising money. This group, named “Little Flock Of Disciples,” sustained Kawai and eventually led to the work of Keisen Fellowship, which still exists today.

 

In 1929 Kawai founded Keisen Jogakuen with nine students. A friend from YWCA days, Florence Wells, along with friends from her Hokkaido days, Suemitsu Isao and Hongo Shin, served together with her as teachers. The following is a passage from her autobiography, My Lantern, which was published in 1939. The Japanese language version came later, in 1968.

“My school—what kind should it be? Besides giving girls a practical religious education along with their regular curriculum, is there not some way, I wondered, of making international study a practical element in their education? Might not I, through my pupils, make a contribution to the cause of international friendship? Wars will never cease until women interest themselves in world affairs. Then, begin with the young—with girls! From mere curiosity they can be led into appreciation of foreign people and things. If Christianity first teaches us self-respect, it next teaches us respect for others, regardless of race or rank; for all human beings are God’s children.” (My Lantern)

 

My Lantern (1939) and Sliding Doors (1950), both written in English by Kawai, were widely read in the West. Proceeds from the sale of the books were used as educational funds for Keisen Jogakuen. Bertha Lambert, Esther Nuendorffer and others who were friends of Kawai when she was at Bryn Mawr University, Kawai herself, Bonner Fellers (an a college friend of Isshiki Yuri), John Mott, and Elizabeth Vining joined together to organize the “Michi Kawai Christian Fellowship,” which continued to support Keisen Jogakuen even after her death. Uemura Masahisa, the pastor of Fujimicho Church to which she belonged, and Kagawa Toyohiko who relied on her for the education of his children, continued in fellowship with Kawai throughout her entire life. Isshiki Yuri’s husband, Isshiki Toraji, strongly supported Kawai by serving as Keisen Jogakuen’s chairman of the board. Within Japan, and in other countries all over the world, she had very many friendships that crossed Christian denominational lines!

 

Kawai attended a worldwide Christian conference held in Madras in 1931. She also visited the US in 1941 as a member of a peace group delegation. Even during World War II, she prayed for peace as she prayed for her friends around the world. She worshiped every morning at Keisen Jogakuen and continued to teach the English language. From the founding of Keisen Jogakuen, horticulture had always been an important subject, but the official authorization granted in March 1945 to establish Keisen Jogakuen as an agricultural school for girls marked the real starting point of horticulture as a part of junior college education. To this day, in Keisen Jogakuen Junior High School and High School and in Keisen Jogakuen University, the subject of horticulture is a required course of study.

 

In 1946, Kawai became a member of the National Educational Reformation Committee and worked for the passage of the Basic Education Act. In 1950, she was asked to write the English language prayers for the World Day of Prayer of that year. As a representative of the Japan Junior College Association, she went to the US in 1951 and, after finishing her duties, traveled around every part of the US, giving lectures and raising money for the establishment of International Christian University in Japan.

 

In February 1953, after being hospitalized for five months, Kawai Michi passed away at 75 years of age. Isshiki Yuri and Isshiki Yoshiko were at her bedside. Many people connected with Keisen Jogakuen filled the hospital both inside and outside. As they were praying, she went to be with the Lord. Even now, more than 60 years after Kawai’s death, many graduates still refer to her as “my teacher.” They say things like, “She taught me to be a person who can say ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Thank you’, and ‘I’m sorry.’”

 

There is a school where the ideas of the founder have been inherited and are still alive in today’s education. That school is Keisen Jogakuen. (Tr. KT)

 

—Matsui Hiroko, member Keisen Jogakuen Archive

 

恵泉女学園 創立者河井道

「恵泉女学園の真の校長は愛の神さまです」と言い続けた河井(かわい)道(みち)(1877-1953)の精神は今も恵泉女学園中学・高等学校、恵泉女学園大学・大学院 の教育の中にしっかりと生きている。

「河井道は生涯、教会を大切にし、学生・生徒、教師・職員、保護者、又世界の友への熱い祈りと 一身を捧げて人々を愛した。女性の自立、自主、神の前に立つ人格存在としての自覚を促す教育者であった」と、河井道の教えを受け河井道の 家族同然として暮らし、現在恵泉女学園特別顧問の一色(いっしき)義子(よしこ)は語る。

恵泉女学園は海外の宣教団体の支援を受けて設立されたミッション・スクールではなく、日本人キ リスト者河井道が、信仰に基づいて設立したクリスチャン・スクールである。

伊勢神宮の神職の家に生まれた河井道は、明治維新の改革で父が職を失い、幼い日に北海道へ移 住した。函館で宣教師サラ・スミスと出会い、札幌に同行し、スミス女学校(後の北星女学校)で学んだ。札幌でのスミスの薫陶、新渡戸(にとべ)稲造(いなぞう)の指導が河井道の生涯を 方向づけたといえる。津田(つだ)梅子(うめこ)の推薦もあり奨学金 を得て、新渡戸稲造夫妻と共に渡米したのは彼女が21歳の時であった。ブ リンマー大学を卒業し帰国した1904年秋、河井道は津田梅子が創立した 女子英学塾(後の津田塾大学)の教壇に立つと同時に日本YWCA設立委員 となった。日本YWCAの日本人初の総幹事に就任したのが35歳の時。総幹事としての14年 間、日本国内ばかりでなく欧米、アジアへ会議や視察、講演に飛び回り、関東大震災後の復興支援やYWCA修養会・全国大会の実施に多忙を極めた。

河井道が日本YWCAを辞し、学校教育 に使命を見出した時、渡辺(わたなべ)百合(ゆり)(後の一色(いっしき)百合(ゆり))、森久保(もりくぼ)壽(ひさ)等河井道の女子 英学塾の教え子たち(卒業生)は、祈りつつ募金活動をし、河井道を支援した。「小さき弟子の群れ」と名付けられたこのグルー プはやがて維持会となり、現在の恵泉フェロシップの働きにつながっている。

1929年9名の生徒で恵泉女学園は開校した。YWCA時代の友人Florence Wellsや、北海道時代の知人、末光(すえみつ)績(いさお)、本郷(ほんごう)新(しん)等も教員に加わった。

河井道が著した自叙伝(My Lantern 1939,日本語版『わたしのランターン』1968)から引用する。

「わたしの学校!

それはどういう種類であるべきだろう。規定されているカリキュラムとともに、実践的な宗教教育を与え るかたわら、国際の勉強をその具体的な教科目とする方法はないものかとわたしは考えた。わたしの生徒を通してわたしが国際友交のために貢 献することはできないだろうか。戦争は、婦人が世界情勢に関心を持つまでは決してやまないであろう。それなら、若い人たちから――それ も、少女たちから始めることである。少女たちはただの好奇心から出発して外国の人々や外国のよいところを理解するように導くことができ る。キリスト教が第一に自己を尊重することを教えるとすれば、第二には、人種や階級に関わりなく他の人を尊敬することを教える。なぜなら ばすべての人類は神の子どもだからである。」

河井道の英文著書My Lantern (1939) とSliding Doors(1950)は欧米で広く読まれ、その 売り上げは学園の教育資金として活用された。Bertha Lambertや Esther Nuendorffer等ブ リンマー大学時代の友人たちは、河井道、一色百合の知人であるBonner Fellers やJohn Mott、Elizabeth Viningをメンバーに加えてMichi Kawai Christian Fellowshipを組織し、河井道没後も学園を支援し続けた。河井道が所属した富士見町教会 牧師の植村(うえむら)正久(まさひさ)、子女の教育を河井道に 託した賀川豊彦(かがわとよひこ)等との交わりは生涯 続き、一色百合の夫一色乕児(いっしきとらじ)は学園理事長と して全力で河井道を支援した。日本国内にも世界各地にも、キリスト教の教派を超えた友人たちを河井道はなんと多く持っていた ことか!

マドラスにおける基督教 世界会議(1931)に出席し、平和使節団(1941) メンバーとして訪米した河井道は、戦時中も、平和を祈り、世界の友のために祈 り、毎朝の学園での礼拝を守り、英語を教え続けた。創立時から園芸を大切な科目としてきた恵泉女学園だが、1945年3月女子農芸専門学校設 置の認可が下り、高等教育における園芸の歩みが始まった。現在も恵泉女学園中学・高等学校と恵泉女学園大学に必修科目として園芸の科目が おかれている。

1946年河井道は教育刷新委員会委員となり、教育基本法制定に関わった。世界祈祷日英文 祈祷文の執筆は1950年。日本短期大学協会代表として渡米した1951年には使命終了後、国際基督教大学の設立のための募金活動に奔走し、アメリカ各地 で講演した。

1953年2月、5ヶ月の入院生活ののち、75歳で召天。ベッドサイドには一色百合、一色義子がおり、病室内外を囲んだ恵泉関係者の 祈りの中、天に召された。

河井道没後60年以上を経た今も、河井道を「私の先生」と懐かしむ卒業生が多い。「『はい、いいえ、 ありがとう、ごめんなさいが言える人におなりなさい』と教えていただいた」等々と。

創立者の理念が今なお教 育の中に継承されている学校、それが恵泉女学園である。

恵泉女学園史料室運営委員 松井弘子

  • 共に仕えるためにPDF

    リフォユース最新情報はこちら

    宗教改革500周年記念事業

    International Youth Conference in Kyoto

    公募・公告

    エキメニュカル協力奨学金 申込書類一式

    日本基督教団年鑑2018年版

    よろこび

    日本基督教団 伝道推進室

    東日本大震災救援対策本部ニュース

    教団新報 archive

    教日本基督教団 文書・資料集 申請書等ダウンロードコーナー

    月間 こころの友