日本基督教団 The United Church of Christ in Japan

Yamanashi Eiwa’s Founding: First Principal, Sarah Wintemute, and Other Young Pioneers


Celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1873, the Canadian Evangelism Society adopted a resolution to establish a mission presence in Japan, after the end of its self-imposed isolation, by sending two missionaries as its first representatives. Evangelism in Yamanashi began with the second group that arrived in 1876, with Charles Samuel Eby coming to the Kofu basin on horseback to engage in mission work. After three years of evangelistic efforts, he was able to establish the first church in Kofu, the Japan Methodist Kofu Church, in 1878. The youth of that region who became members of the church expressed their desire to have a school for young girls to attend, as they had no school for girls beyond elementary school. Thus, a group of promoters was established who prepared building plans and asked the Women's Missionary Society of Canada (WMSC) to supply teachers. Sarah Agnes Wintemute was sent in response to that request.


Sarah was born in Ontario, Canada in 1864, and graduated from both a school for female instructors and a women's college, where she studied French and Latin. She also graduated from an art school. After graduation, she was sent by the Canadian Methodist Church’s WMSC in October 1886 to Yamanashi Eiwa Girls' School, where she taught math, English, physical education, and Western-style sewing until April 1889.


Two years after being initially sent to Japan, Sarah was selected to be the first principal of Yamanashi Eiwa Girls' School by the WMSC. Shinkai Eitaro, Miyakoshi Shinjiro, and Asao Chokei were the sponsors who gathered donations from the entire prefecture of Yamanashi to prepare for the building of Yamanashi Eiwa Girls' School.


Sarah left Tokyo at the age of 25 for Yamanashi, when the Kobu Railway extended only as far as Tachikawa. From there, the only way to continue was by horse or on foot. The most difficult section was the six-kilometer climb up to Sasago Pass, and Sarah cried tears of joy when she saw the youth who came to greet her. She eagerly shook their hands with a very firm handshake. She was overjoyed to meet these young people who were of like faith and of the same heart. She arrived at Yamanashi Eiwa on May 14.


With Sarah as principal, Yamanashi Eiwa Girls’ School converted a merchant shop into a school and began operation on June 1, 1889. The school had just 80 tsubo (2,840 square feet) of floor space, and there were only six students. By summer vacation, the number had increased to nine. One of the founders, 25-year-old Shinkai Eitaro, advertised often in the Yamanashi Daily News, trying to recruit students for the school. Finally, by September, another three had enrolled, increasing the student body to 12. The official Opening Ceremony was held on November 2, and Sarah’s address, entitled “Considering Girls’ Education,” was printed in its entirety in the Yamanashi Daily News.


Sarah reported to the WMSC that "Japanese was taught in the morning, and English and moral science were taught in the afternoon, intermingled with Bible. As this was the first opportunity for most of the students to learn about the Bible, they eagerly listened and had many questions." "It's an unusual thing for a Christian school to be established, but the people of this area soon realized that this school focused on developing the inner person."

In the midst of prejudice and severe resistance against Christianity, she gave this as her goal: "Leading students to Christ and giving them the tools to transform their homes in the spirit of Christ into a pure, beautiful and happy environment, while at the same time instilling within them an ethic of service to society."


At the beginning, using a merchant's shop for a school was not necessarily an ideal environment for the students. One of the founders, Shinkai Eitaro, bought a 730 tsubo (0.63 acres) piece of land the following year and quickly began construction so that the students could enter by the summer of 1891.


The new building was a half-Western, half-Japanese modern structure. Many people from the prefecture came to see the new building and came to a deeper understanding of the educational philosophy of Yamanashi Eiwa, which reduced their original fear of Christianity. This resulted in the enrollment of 31 new students, 25 of whom lived in the dormitory.


In March 1892, Sarah went back to her country. She returned to Japan in 1893 and married Harper Havelock Coates, a teacher at Toyo Eiwa Boys' School in Tokyo. The following year, Coates became the second leader of the Chuo Kaido in Tokyo (now Hongo Central Church), following Eby, and Sarah became the head of the women's association. She worked diligently together with her husband in education, evangelism, and social service, while becoming the mother of six children.


After 48 years of service, Harper died in 1934 at the age of 70, but Sarah remained in Japan. She was present for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Yamanashi Eiwa Girls' School in 1939.


When World War II broke out, she was required to return to her home country, but she never made it back home. She died at the age of 81 in a makeshift hospital in Nicolai Church in the Surugadai section of Tokyo in June 1945. She worked in Japan for about 60 years as an evangelist, and surely never forgot those who worked with her in the early days to establish Yamanashi Eiwa or all the effort she invested for such an important cause. We also must never forget the vigor of youth and the young missionaries among us as we strive for the Lord together. (Tr. WJ)


—Fukasawa Mieko, Yamanashi Eiwa Historical Research Society Yamanashi Eiwa Junior & Senior High School Alumnae Association


山梨英和創立に関わった若者達とウイント ミュート初代校長

カナダ伝道会社は1873年創立50年を記念して外国伝道の開始を議決し、鎖国を解いた日本に第一陣として2名の宣教師を派遣した。山梨への伝道は1876(明治9)年その第二陣として派遣されたイビーが使わされた。彼は甲府盆地内を騎馬伝道し、3年間の伝道活動に よって最初の教会日本メソジスト甲府教会が創設された。1878(明治11)年であった。その教会の会員になっていった地元の青年達 は妹たちが尋常小学校を卒業しても進学する普通教育の学校がなかったことなど様々な動機を以て女子が高等教育を受けられるような学校 を望み、発起人会を設立した。その発起人会は建物を準備するが、教師はカナダ婦人伝道会社に求めた。その求めに応じて派遣されたのが サラ・アグネス・ウイントミュートであった。


ウイントミュートは1864年、カナダ オンタリオ州に生まれ、同州女子師範学校、女子大学へと進み、フランス語、ラテン語を学び、また画学校も卒業している。その後、カナダ・メソジスト教会のカナダ婦人伝道会社から1886(明治19)年10月に東洋英和女学校へ派遣され、1889年4月まで、算術、英語、体操、西洋裁縫を教えていた。


来日して2年 半経った時、カナダ婦人伝道会社は山梨英和女学校の初代校長にウイントミュートを指名した。山梨では新海栄太郎、宮腰信次郎、浅尾長 慶らが発起人となり、全県下に寄付を募い山梨英和女学校を設立する準備が整いつつあった。

25歳のウイントミュートは東京を出発、山梨に向かう。当時、甲武鉄 道は立川まで開通。立川以西は、馬か徒歩で移動するほかなかった。最大の難関である上り6キロの笹子峠を歩いて下ってきたウイント ミュートは迎えの青年達を見ると嬉し涙を拭いつつ固い握手をした。志を同じくし、信仰をともにする者の心からの出迎えをどんなに喜ばれたことか。5月14日、山梨英和に着任した。

ウイントミュート校長を迎え、山梨英和女学校は甲府市太田町に、商家佐渡屋を校舎として1889(明治22)年6月1日に開校した。校 舎は約80坪だった。生徒は6人。夏期休暇前に9人となった。25歳の初代校主・新海栄太郎をはじめ若い設立者たちは、9月の学期始めをめざし生徒募集の広告を数回にわたって山梨日日新聞に掲載し、ようやく9月から3人が入学し、12人となった。


ウイントミュート校長のカナダ婦人伝道会社への報告では「午前中は国語、午後は英語、毎日修身(Moral Science) という名目で、聖書の勉強にあてられます。大部分の者にとって聖書は初めて触れる興味あるもので、熱心に耳を傾けよく質問をします」





新校舎は和洋折衷でモダンな建物だった。県内で は関心を持つ親たちの見学も増え、英和女学校の教育内容について理解も深まり、初期のように学校やキリスト教に対しての恐怖心も薄れ、生徒数も31人(うち寄宿舎生25人)となった。


1892 年3月、ウィントミュートは休暇で退任し帰国した。再来日したウイントミュートは1893年、東洋英和学校教師(男子校)を していたHarper Havelock Coatesと結婚。翌年に中央会堂第一代総理イビーの後コー ツが第2代総理となった時、妻ウイントミュートは同会堂の婦人会長となり、以後、コーツと共に教育、伝道、社会奉仕に力を尽くし、その間6人の子供の母となった。


48年間にわたって日本各地で伝道を続けたコーツが1934(昭和9)年に70歳で召天した後も、ウイントミュートは日本から離れること はなかった。そして1939(昭和14)年の山梨英和女学校創立50周年記念式典に出席している。

太平洋戦争勃発後も、家族の帰国要請にもかかわらず、帰国することはなかった。1945(昭和20)年6月駿河台のニコライ堂内・仮設 病院で81歳で召天した。

ウイントミュート先生は60年近く日本で伝道と教育に尽くしたが、その生涯の若き日、山梨英和の初代校長として教会の若者達と創設の苦労を共にしたことを彼女は生涯忘れなかっただろう。私たちもその若者達の息吹と若き宣教師の情熱を覚えて、いつまでも心に刻んでおき たい。 山梨英和同窓会「歴史をたどる会」深沢美恵子

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