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

【June 2015 No.383】Christian Student Dormitories Today: Mutual Prayers and Support at Tokyo “Yuai Gakusha” (Friendship Love Learning Center)


Yamane Ibuki, junior

Sophia University Religion Dept., Seminary Division

Member, Okayama Roman Catholic Church


Student dormitories at Christian schools throughout the country have a behind-the-scenes but leading evangelistic role in Japanese society.  Yuai Gakusha, one of these Christian student dormitories, is located in an urban setting among a student population that is predominantly non-Christian but conducts Bible studies every morning.


Yuai Gakusha is located within the property of the public welfare corporation Waseda Hoshien, which is quite near Waseda University in Tokyo. The name “friendship love” is taken from John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends,” and because “Yuai” sounds like the English words “you” and “I,” Yuai Gakusha is referred to in English as the “You-I Dormitory.”


This institution has a history of over 100 years and includes the founder of Sony, Ibuka Masaru, as one of its former residents. The residents of the dormitory at the You-I Dormitory are called Shasei (Dormitory Students). These students enter the dormitory on the provision that they will live there for four years until their graduation, and currently 12 students (6 men and 6 women) from such schools as Waseda University, Rikkyo University, Sophia University, Tokyo University, Aoyama Gakuin University are living there.


Every year an executive committee is elected for a one-year term at the self-governing You-I Dormitory. Besides focusing on those activities, Shasei gather once a month to talk together about such matters as dormitory life issues and scheduled events.


It is the daily interaction of the Shasei that makes the work of You-I Dormitory possible. There is always support for those who have come to Tokyo from rural areas and are having trouble adjusting as they are greeted warmly each morning and receive advice from their companions about university life. In the Japanese-style room that provides space for interaction among Shasei members, the scene of students involved in long conversations is not unusual. In addition, events are planned to promote the interaction of Shasei members. For the one You-I Dormitory trip of the year, members themselves do the planning, leave for a distant place, and deepen their friendships.


They also have frequent interaction with Waseda University’s dormitory for international students, which is run by Waseda Hoshien. There, on “Japanese Night,” students from overseas who are entering college in September are welcomed, with Shasei members bearing the responsibility for meal preparation and program planning. Furthermore, at the December Waseda Hoshien Christmas celebration, the students themselves prepare the party, script, lighting, costumes, etc., and present a drama. Last time, the presentation was a modern-day version of the Christmas story, which was well received by the students from overseas as well as by men and women who were former You-I Dormitory members.


The greatest feature of life of this kind of You-I Dormitory is the morning meeting. For 30 minutes every weekday morning during the school term, from 7:30 a.m., all the members participate in a morning meeting. On one of the five days, there is a “student presentation”; on the other four days, there is a “Bible presentation.”


For the student presentation, the person in charge speaks about a topic of interest or study. The world of the students is broadened through hearing the speeches of students studying in different departments, and in turn, it is also good training in communication as the speaker explains in simple terms his or her own academic specialty.


The Bible presentations are often quite ingenious. That is to say, although many students who went to mission schools while they were in middle school or high school are familiar with Christianity, almost none of the students themselves are lay members in a congregation somewhere. This creates the situation in which Shasei members who are currently college students but not yet lay members of a local church discuss together as a cooperative group the meaning and methods of Bible study.


As a result, we are presently studying the Bible in the following way. Every year we take up one “book” of the Bible and, for a year, carefully read it in weekly units. Each week, two Shasei members give a “Bible presentation” on the assigned verses they have prepared beforehand, one each on the first and second days. The presenter gives his or her own opinion and points of question, and then for five minutes after the presentation the other members write down their reactions to the presentation.


On the third day, after the students have given their presentations, pastors from the nearby Kyodan Waseda Church and Japan Baptist Union Tokyo Heiwa Church sit together with the students and hold a discussion with all of them. The two student presenters, who have read the reaction papers and discussed them together in advance, act as coordinators of the meeting.


There we discuss things we usually give little thought to, with the Bible providing the opportunity. For example, from Paul’s stance as he sets out for Jerusalem, prepared for death, we discuss questions like: “Is there something that we could bet our lives on that we should be seeking?” and “Paul believed in resurrection after death, what is our understanding of death?” Sometimes, while having breakfast after the meeting, we continue to share.


On the fourth day of the week, we hear a pastor’s talk, which is a response to our opinions and doubts, and he Bible presentation is completed. This process is an opportunity for a deepening of the Shasei members’ relationships. I am studying in the religion department of Sophia University, and at these morning meetings I am challenged to consider the degree to which I am personally able to experience and talk about my own vague faith. Before the keenness of the Shasei members, even if you can only give a shallow answer that may melt away, that very experience becomes the foundation for college learning.


祈り合い・支え合う・暮らしーキリスト教学生寮のいまー東 京・友愛学舎

山 根息吹や まね いぶき 上 智大学神学部神学科3年、岡山カトリック教会

全国各地 のキリスト教主義の学生寮は、日本社会における伝道の影の主役。その生活を現役寮生が紹介するこの連載の第1回は、ほとんどがノ ンクリスチャンの男女学生が共に暮らし、毎朝聖書研究を行っている都心の学生寮を取り上げます。

第1回毎朝の 聖研を糧にする

東京・早稲田大学のほど近く、公益財団法人早稲田奉仕園の敷地内に位置する友愛学舎。その名の「友愛」は、ヨハネによる福音書15章 13節「友のために自分の命を捨てること、それ以上に大きな愛はない」に由来します。100年以上の歴史を持ち、SONY創設者の井深(い ぶか)大(ま さる)ら を輩出してきました。

友愛学舎では、住んでいる学生を舎生と呼びます。舎生は大学卒業までの4年間を暮らす条件で入舎し、現在は早稲田大学、立教大学、上 智大学、東京大学、青山学院大学などの学生が、男子6名、女子6名の12名で生活しています。自治寮の友愛学舎では、毎年任期1年で 選出される「委員会」が活動の中心となるほか、舎生全員が集まる毎月の「舎生会」で、生活の問題や行事計画などを話し合います。

こうした友愛学舎のあり方を支えるのは、舎生の日常的な交流です。地方から上京し不安が多い中、朝起きて「おはよう」と言ったり、大 学生活についてアドバイスし合える仲間には、いつも支えられてきました。舎生間の交流スペースの和室では、舎生同士が長時間話し込む 光景も珍しくありません。


また、早稲田奉仕園が運営する早稲田大学の留学生寮、国際学舎とも交流します。そこに9月に入学する留学生を歓迎するジャパニーズナ イトでは、食事の準備や会の進行を舎生が担います。また12月の早稲田奉仕園クリスマス会では、脚本・照明・衣装などすべて自分たち で準備し、劇を披露します。前回は現代風の聖誕劇を行い、留学生や友愛学舎のOB・OGらから好評を博しました。

そんな友愛学舎の生活の最大の特徴は、朝の会です。学期間中の平日は、毎朝7時から30分間、舎生全員が参加して朝の会を行います。 週5日ある朝の会では1回を「学生発表」に、4回を「聖書発表」にあてています。

学生発表では、自分が興味を持って学んでいることを担当者が発表します。違う学科で学ぶ舎生の話を聞けば世界が広がりますし、逆に自 分の専攻をかみ砕いて伝えることもコミュニケーションの大切な訓練です。

聖書発表は常に工夫して行われます。というのも家族に信徒がいたり、中学や高校がミッションスクールだったためキリスト教になじみの あったりする舎生が多いのですが、自身が信徒である舎生はほとんどいません。そのため信徒ではない現代の大学生である舎生と、友愛学 舎という共同体にとって聖書を読むことにどんな意味があるか、またその方法について、私たちはたびたび議論しています。

結果、現在は以下の方法で学んでいます。毎年度、聖書の1つの「書」を取り上げ、1年間かけて精読するのです。そこでは1週間単位 で、2人の舎生が1日ずつ「聖書発表」を担当します。担当者はまず与えられた箇所を読み、レジュメを作って事前に準備します。発表で は聖書箇所への意見や疑問点などを語り、発表後の5分間では他の舎生がリアクションペーパーを書きます。

担当者の発表が終わった3日目には、隣接する日本基督教団早稲田教会、日本バプテスト同盟東京平和教会の牧師が同席し、舎生全員で議 論します。2人の担当者は、リアクションペーパーを見て事前に打ち合わせし、進行役として臨みます。

そこでは、普段は深く考えずに済ませてしまうことを、聖書をきっか けに話し合います。例えば、死を覚悟しエルサレムへ向かうパウロの姿から「私たちに命を賭けて求めるべきもの はあるか」、「パウロは死後の復活を信じているが、私たちは死をどう捉えているか」などと議論するのです。時には、朝の会後も朝食を 食べつつ語り合います。

4日目には、私たちの意見や疑問に応える牧師の話を聞き、聖書発表は終了します。この過程は、舎生同士の関係を深める格好の機会で す。私は上智大学神学部で学んでいますが、朝の会では、ぼんやりとしていた自分の信仰をどこまで実感を持って語ることができるかが問 われます。舎生の鋭い問いを前に、薄っぺらな答えしかできずもどかしくなることもありますが、その体験こそが大学での学びの基盤に なっています。

このように、下宿から大学に通っていたら決して関わらなかっただろう、大学も専攻も興味も違う舎生たちと深く交わる友愛学舎の生活 は、私にとって豊かな人生経験なのです。(信徒の友4月号より)

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