In 1957, 12 years after the battle of Okinawa, the Okinawa Christian Institute (present-day Okinawa Christian Junior College and Okinawa Christian University) was born out of the desire of Christians in Okinawa who had experienced the misery of war to nurture a new generation of young people who would take on the task of building a peaceful island. It was the second university to be established in Okinawa, following the University of the Ryukyus. Its founding was not initiated by overseas mission boards. However, it could probably never have been established without the tireless efforts of two missionaries from the United States who gave themselves fully to this project: Walter W. Krider from the Methodist Church and Maeda Itoko from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The first President, the Reverend Nakazato Chosho, provided the necessary spiritual guidance for the Institute, but it was the financial assistance of missionary Krider and the curriculum skills of missionary Maeda that helped to get things started.
Krider received his MA degree from Boston University Graduate School of Theology in 1920 and came to Japan the following year. He was involved in mission work in Tokyo until l922 and in Nagasaki until 1935. He returned to the U.S. and became quite rich as a lumber merchant but returned to Japan in 1955 to continue his mission work in Okinawa. He contributed generously to mission work in Okinawa and to the establishment and maintenance of Okinawa Christian Institute until 1960. His financial assistance was outstanding.
Okinawa Christian Institute began in Shuri Church, which was then within the Okinawa Kyodan, but was later able to put up a new building in a corner of Shuri Castle Park. (It has since moved to the town of Nishihara.) In order to erect the new building, Krider donated US$10,000 that he had made as a lumber merchant. The church in Okinawa did not have adequate financial resources to build the school at the time, but Krider also worked through the Interboard Committee to call upon churches in the U.S. to contribute to building the new school. As a result, the Methodist Church, the Disciples of Christ, and The Evangelical and Reformed Church each contributed $10,000 for a total of $30,000. After returning to the U.S., Krider died in 1965.
Missionary Maeda Itoko became a missionary to Japan but was actually a Japanese person born in Tokyo in 1918. She grew up in a house with a strong Buddhist atmosphere but became a Christian and felt a call to ministry while attending Seigakuin College in Tokyo, under the influence of Jessie Trout. Following graduation, she became a teacher at Seigakuin and Keisen Jogakuen Senior High School, after which she went to the U.S. and studied at College of the Bible of Eastern Mennonite College. After completing her studies, she was recognized as a missionary by the American Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and sent to Okinawa in 1956, where she engaged in mission work that included endeavoring to bring about the establishment of Okinawa Christian Institute. She worked hard to create a course of study that would compare with the high level of education she had experienced at Seigakuin. She designed the curriculum and helped to choose the staff. Her contribution was formidable. Outside of class, she was equally dedicated, making comments to students concerning their manners, behavior, and language and even accompanying them to their job interviews. Sometimes she smiled, and sometimes she scolded. This happened so often that they dubbed her “the scolder who also smiles.” But her students admit it was both her affection and her severity that enabled them to grow. She also directed her enthusiasm towards preaching in and leading women’s groups in the church. After leaving Okinawa, she was sent to Brazil and passed away in the U.S. in 2007.
Along with remembering the contributions of both Krider and Maeda, we are reminded of their relationship to the U.S. military bases in Okinawa. During the 1950s and 1960s, while they both were active in Okinawa, land was being expropriated and bases were expanding. Two of their former students accused them of depending too heavily on the U.S. military bases. In order to maintain the school buildings and raise money for scholarships, it is said that they took students with them to military bases and visited the chapels to ask for donations. Christian education and the relationship between mission and the military bases is one that came into question from this early time and continues to be questioned today. (Tr. RW)
—Dean Kim Young-Soo Office of Chaplaincy
（宗教部長 キム ヨンス金 永秀）