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

The Three Founders of Tohoku Gakuin


Foreign Missionaries from the early period of modern Japan who contributed to the establishment of Sendai Theological Seminary (currently Tohoku Gakuin University)


The Tokugawa clan ruled Japan for almost 250 years, a period marked by the exclusion of Christianity and the promulgation of edicts banning its practice. The period came to an end when U.S. Navy Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry led several U.S. ships into Japanese waters and demanded that Japan open itself up to the West. This led to the establishment of the Meiji government, and that soon resulted in the removal of the edicts banning Christianity, thereby allowing missionaries to begin public ministry. Many promising Japanese youth gathered around the evangelistic centers that were formed around Japan.


At one of the mission centers, later referred to as the “Yokohama Band,” a 22-year old student named Oshikawa Masayoshi became a Christian. With his sights set on becoming an evangelist to the Tohoku district in the northern part of Japan, Oshikawa became actively involved in evangelistic work in Sendai. In 1886 Rev. William Edwin Hoy, a missionary from the German Reformed Church in the United States of America, arrived in Sendai and teamed up with Oshikawa to launch a small seminary for training Japanese pastors. The school was named Sendai Theological Seminary. Hoy and Oshikawa also helped start a school for girls, Miyagi Women’s School, which eventually became Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University.


Hoy was born in Pennsylvania in 1858. After graduating from Franklin and Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary, Hoy was appointed as a missionary by the German Reformed Church in the USA and sailed for Japan in 1885. After founding the seminary in Sendai, Hoy and Oshikawa were joined by a new arrival the following year, Rev. David Bowman Schneder. Hoy was immediately burdened with numerous and varied responsibilities but was involved in many evangelistic activities, including publication of the English bimonthly magazine “Japan Evangelist” from 1893. But he also suffered from asthma, a condition that led him to leave Sendai for a three-month health furlough in Shanghai in 1898. After traveling up the Yangtze River to Hankow, however, he decided to begin mission work in Hunan Province. Resigning from his work with the Japanese mission, Hoy eventually settled at Yochow in 1900. For 25 years Hoy was at the center of a rapidly developing program of schools for boys and girls, evangelistic outstations, and medical work. His life as a foreign missionary came to an end at the age of 69 while he was on his way back to the USA.


Sendai Theological Seminary began with two staff members and six students. The school grew the following year, with the additions of Schneder and several more students. At that point (1891), as it added junior and senior high schools and continued to expand into a full-fledged school, the name of the school was changed to Tohoku Gakuin. A new school building constructed of red bricks provided a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for both students and staff. (Appropriately but also affectionately, the building was later referred to as the “red brick school building.”) A library was also established in the new building and named after Rudolf Kelker, a treasurer of the German Reformed Church.


Oshikawa was actively involved in evangelistic activities in several places, so he decided to hand over administration of the school to Schneder, who became the second principal of the school. A few years later, following Hoy’s departure for China, Schneder devoted himself fully to educational work at Tohoku Gakuin, a work to which he dedicated himself for the next 35 years as he transformed a small private school into a Christian college. Furthermore, that Christian college eventually became the large Christian university it is today, a school with the highest number of students of any Christian university in northern Japan. It presently has 12,000 students, ranging from kindergarten through graduate school.


David Bowman Schneder was born in 1857, one year earlier than Hoy. Like Hoy, Schneder graduated from Franklin and Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary. After serving as a pastor for four years, he was appointed as a missionary by the German Reformed Church in the USA. He sailed for Japan with his wife, both arriving in Sendai in 1887. Schneder began as a co-worker with Oshikawa and Hoy. His long term of service had its difficulties, not the least of which included the resignations of two of his colleagues. However, no doubt the severest trial he faced was the disastrous fire in Sendai in 1919, a fire that raged widely throughout the city and destroyed many school buildings. Though the situation may have looked hopeless to many, Schneder never gave up his attempts to rebuild the school. He successfully raised funds (especially from USA donors) that made possible the rebuilding of the school’s facilities within three years following the disaster. The three English words “Life, Light, and Love,” are carved prominently on the front and make up the motto of the school.


Rev. and Mrs. Schneder remained in Japan for almost 50 years. During this period, they returned to the US seven times, never ceasing in their labors to build international goodwill and to raise money for the expansion of the school. One of Schneder’s later concerns was the need for a college chapel, a dream that was finally realized in 1932 through a large contribution of $50,000 from one woman. The new structure was named the Lahauser Memorial Chapel in her honor. The structure was beautifully designed and is still used daily for university worship services. While numerous other buildings were damaged in the East Japan Disaster of 2011, it was unscathed.


—Professor Nomura Shin, Dean

Department of Religious Affairs Tohoku Gakuin University

「日本初期における宣教師の働きー仙台神学校(東北学院大学の前進)を設立した米国改革派教会の宣教師た ち」




鎖国とキリスト教禁令政策によって二世紀半に亘り日本を統治した徳川幕府の時代はペリー総督の率いるアメ リカの軍艦の来日によって終わりを告げた。新たに登場した明治政府は、1873年にキリスト教禁令の高札を撤廃すると、米国を中心とした国々からの宣教師たちが日本各地で公に福音伝道 を開始した。各地に出来た伝道の拠点には、志のある日本の若者たちが集まった。 

その中でも、早くから外国と交渉が行われた横浜には、後に横浜バンドと呼ばれる主要 な伝道拠点となり、ここに押川方義(まさよし)という松山藩出身の英学を志す若者がいた。彼は22才で洗礼を受けてキリスト者となり、伝道者を志し、まだ伝道が手薄な東北地方へ向かい、仙台を中心に布教 活動を開始した。一方、次々と来日する宣教師たちの中でも、米国のドイツ改革派教会からの派遣された宣教師William Edwin Hoy は、キリスト教伝道と学校設立を目的として仙台に赴き、押川方義と共に1886年に牧師を養成する仙台神学校を設立した。同年、女子教育にも着手し、宮城女学校(現宮城学院)を設立し た。

ここでW. E. ホーイについて触れておこう。米国ペンシルベニア州で1858年に生まれ、フランク リン・アンド・マーシャル大学Franklin and Marshall Collegeを、続いてランカスター神学校Lancaster Theological Seminaryを卒業して宣教師を志し、1885年にドイツ改革派教会より日本に派遣される。来日して翌年には、押川と共同で仙台神学校を設立し、続いて 同教会から David Bowman Schneder が来日して三人体制となり、仙台神学校と宮城女子学校の教育をさらに強力に推し進め た。ホーイは、広範な伝道活動を続け、1893年には隔月号の英文誌<Japan Evangelist>を創刊した。1898年に喘息の療養のために中国の上海へ行ったことがきっかけとなり、1900年に日本での活動を辞して、中国伝道へ赴いた。清国の湖南地方での25年間活動し、神学校、青年教育の向上、教会設立、医療活動事業とめざましい働きをなした。しかし、1927年の中国内部の動乱から避難して帰国する船上で、宣教に生涯を捧げた69年間の幕を閉じた。 

さて、仙台神学校は、押川方義を院長とし、ホーイを副院長として、6名の学生で出発したが、翌年シュネーダーが加わり、徐々に学生数を増やし、6年後の1891年には「東北学院」と改称し、神学部以外にも、中等部、高等部を設置し、次々と教育制度を整え、学校体制 を整えた。同年には南町通りに、「赤レンガ校舎」と親しまれる洋風の煉瓦造りの校舎が完成した。内部には、ドイツ改革派教会の外国伝 道局財務R・ケルカーの名に因む有力な図書室も設けられた。後に詩人・文学者として著名な島崎藤村が作文の教師として赴任したのもこ の頃である。

押川方義は伝道活動を広げ、各地へと赴き、1891年に院長を辞して、シュネーダーに学校教育を託した。シュネーダーが第二代院長として就任し、さらに、 ホーイが1900年に中国伝道へ向かうと、シュネーダーは、さらに35年間東北学院に在職し、東北学院を私塾的な教育機関からキリスト教主義教育機関に育て上げた。今日では12,000人の学生を有する幼児教育から大学院教育まで行う、私立では、東北随一の学生数をもつキリスト教学校と なっている。

D. B. シュネーダーの生涯についても、ここで触れておこう。シュネーダーは、ホーイよりも一年早くペンシルベニ ア州に生まれ、教育も同じく、フランクリン・アンド・マーシャル大学を、続いてランカスター神学校を卒業したが、4年間牧師として働 いた後、妻と共に宣教師として日本に赴いた。1887年に来仙し、前年に開校した仙台神学校の教育に押川、ホーイらと携わった。シュネーダーは、二人が去った 後に、幾多の試練を克服し、東北学院の発展に尽力した。その中でも最大の試練は、新校舎や寄宿舎が完成した後に、1919年に起きた仙台大火であった。仙台は空前の大火に襲われ、東北学院の諸施設も焼失し、すべての努力が消え 去るほどの悲嘆の中に置かれたが、シュネーダー院長は、自ら先頭に立って再建に奔走した。その結果、学内外の広い募金活動を得て、3年後の1922(大正11)年には新校舎が完成した。正面にはLIFE  LIGHT  LOVEの3語が刻まれ、これは3L精神と呼ばれ、 その後の学院の建学の精神として親しまれることになった。

シュネーダー夫妻は、滞日50年の間に7回帰米し、日米間の国際親善、および学院の教育施設拡充のための資金募集に尽力した。さらに院長は、学院 のキリスト教教育のために学校教会設立の必要を痛感していたが、ラーハウザー女史から得た5万ドルの献金を基に、南六軒丁に礼拝堂を建設した。この礼拝堂は、2011年の東日本大震災にも耐え、今日もラーハウザー記念礼拝堂として毎日の大学礼拝で用いられている。


東北学院大学 宗教部長 文学部教授 野村 信

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