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

Doshisha University Founder Niijima Jo: Pastor and Missionary


Thanks to the national broadcasting network (NHK)'s Taiga Drama Series “Yae no Sakura” (Yae’s Cherry Blossoms), which was telecast throughout Japan in 2013, the name of Niijima Jo (1843-1890) was frequently heard. This drama was televised nationwide every Sunday night for one year, 50 times throughout the year. The leading character was Yae, who was Niijima Jo’s wife.


Niijima Jo was actually a pastor and missionary, but in Japan, he is better known as an educator, especially as the founder of Doshisha University. How did this gap originate? The main reason is that the Christian educational enterprise he began has become the large-scale institution it is today. There are two colleges and several graduate schools, four high schools, four middle schools, and two elementary schools, each of which has a kindergarten. With that scale, by adding together all the staff and kindergarten pupils, students, college students, and graduate students, it swells to well over 40,000 people—about the size of a small town.



In comparison with this kind of educational enterprise and viewing it from that perspective, Niijima’s religious activities could be said to cast a small shadow that is noticeably and decidedly scanty. There are persons, even large numbers within the school, who do not know that Niijima founded a church (Doshisha Church). Even now, there are only about 100 church members.


Accordingly, it is easy to overlook Niijima’s religious side and influence. From the time he traveled to the United States in 1865 and during the course of the following eight years, he studied at three distinguished private colleges in New England: Phillips Academy, Amherst College, and Andover Theological Seminary. At the last school, a seminary, Niijima received training to become a Congregational Church pastor. Before he graduated (in July 1874), he was appointed as a missionary by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). As a foreigner (in the U.S.), particularly as an Asian person, this was an exceptional case.


So in November 1874, when he returned to Yokohama after an absence of ten years, he was being sent back to Japan in the position of a missionary for overseas evangelism. He called himself by the English name of Joseph Hardy Neesima. The origin of his middle name goes back to Alpheus Hardy, who welcomed him to Boston as if he were his own son. Hardy was not only a prominent businessman in Boston but also a devoted member of the Congregational Church. In addition, he was the chairperson of the administrative committee (the Prudential Committee) of the ABCFM.


Niijima’s support for a period of more than ten years, until he died in 1890 in Oiso, Kanagawa Prefecture, was borne by the mission (actually by Mr. Hardy). During that time, there is no evidence that Doshisha University paid even one yen towards his salary for his work as president.


Furthermore, there were complaints from Niijima’s colleague missionaries from North America in the ABCFM Japan Mission about Niijima devoting so much energy toward establishing Christian education, beginning with Doshisha and its maintenance and its growth. “You are putting too much emphasis on education at the expense of evangelism.”


Regarding the evangelization of the Japanese people, Niijima was of the conviction that putting his energies into education was the best means of accomplishing that goal. He felt his calling was to at least be 50 percent evangelism and 50 percent education. This can be understood from the motto he kept to the end of his life: “Freedom of education, self-governing church, both parallel, and long life for our country.” Education and the church were both ultimately wheels on the same car, which is characteristic of his thinking.


The ABCFM decided the place of Niijima’s appointment. He was born in Edo (present-day Tokyo) and, from his perspective, might have favored Tokyo or Yokohama as the site to build the Christian school he dreamed of during his study abroad. Nevertheless, his school (Doshisha) was built in the far away area of Kansai (Kyoto).


The immediate factor at the time was that the Japan Mission had mission stations only in the Kansai area (in Kobe and Osaka). Later, Niijima was assigned to the mission station in Osaka. This became the reason for building the school in Kyoto, which was a neighboring town to Osaka. (Tr. RT)


—Motoi Yasuhiro, former professor

Doshisha University


本井康博(元同志社大学神学部教 授)

Niijima Jo(1843年~1890年)の名前は、昨年、日本中を駆け巡りました。NHKの大河ドラマ「八重の桜」のおかげです。国民的なこ のドラマは、一年間にわたって毎日曜日の夜、年間を通して五十回、放映されました。主役は新島八重、すなわち新島襄の妻でした。

新島襄は本来は牧師、 宣教師です。しかし、日本では、教育者、とくに同志社大学の創立者としての名の方が高い。

このギャップは、いっ たいどこから来るのか。最大の理由は、彼が始めたキリスト教教育事業が、現在、大規模になっていることです。ふたつの大学といくつか の大学院、四つの高校と四つの中学校、それに小学校二校に幼稚園、という規模ですから、スタッフと園児、生徒、学生、院生を全部合わ せると、四万数千人というちょっとした町ほどの大きさにまで膨れ上がります。

こうした目を見張るよ うな教育事業に比べると、彼の宗教活動は、実に影が薄い、と言うか、目につく形で残る事は、まことに少ない。新島が教会(同志社教 会)を作ったことを知らない人が、学内ですら大勢、おります。教会員は、今でもわずか百名ちょっとです。

したがって、新島の宗 教的な側面や背景は、とかく見落とされがちです。彼は、一八六五年に渡米して以来、八年間にわたって、ニューイングランドの三つの名 門私学(Phillips Academy、Amherst College,Andover Theological Seminary)で学ぶことができました。最後は神学校で、牧師(会衆派)になる訓練を受けます。卒業(1874年7月)をする前にアメリカン・ボードミッ ションAmerican Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM)から宣教師に指名されます。外国人、ましてアジア人としては、異例です。

こうして彼は、1874年11月に、10年振りで横浜に戻る時 には、海外伝道をするための宣教師という身分で、日本に送り返されます。英語名をJoseph Hardy Neesimaと名乗ります。ミドル ネームは、ボストンで彼を実の子のように迎えいれたAlpheus Hardyに由来します。ハー ディは、ボストン有数の実業家であるだけでなく、篤信の会衆派の信徒でした。彼はABCFMの運営委員会の議長でもありました。

新島の給与は、彼が一 八九〇年に神奈川県大磯で亡くなるまで、十数年間、ミッション(実は、ハーディー家)が負担します。一方、同志社は、その間、校長と しての働きに対して、新島に給与を一円も払った形跡がありません。

したがって、新島が同 志社を始め、キリスト教学校の創立や維持、発展に力を入れることに対して、ABCFM のジャパンミッション に所属する同僚のアメリカ人宣教師から、クレームがつくことがあります。「あまりにも教育を重視し過ぎ。その反面、伝道を軽視してい る」と。

新島はこれに対して は、日本人に伝道する場合、教育に相当の力を注ぐのが最善、といった信念をもっておりました。少なくとも、彼の使命は、伝道五十パー セント、教育五十パーセントでした。そのことは、彼の終生のモットーを見れば、分かります。「自由教育、自治教会、両者併行、国家万 歳」が、彼のモットーでした。教育と教会は、あくまでも車の両輪です。ここに彼の特性があります。

ABCFM は、新島の赴任地をも 決定づけました。江戸(現東京)で生まれた新島にしてみれば、留学中に夢見たキリスト教主義学校の建設は、東京あるいは横浜が好都合 であったはずです。にもかかわらず、彼の学校(同志社)は、遠く関西(京都)の地に立てられました。

その直接の要因は、ジャパンミッションは当時、関西(神戸と大阪)にしかstationがありませんでした。新島は、そのうち、大阪ステーションに配属されました。これが、大阪の隣町である京都に 学校を建てることになる要因です。

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