Ms. Kawai Michi (1877-1953) often said, "The true principal of Keisen Jogakuen is our loving God." This principle lives on to this day in the educational programs of Keisen Jogakuen Junior and Senior High School and of Keisen Jogakuen University and Graduate School. Keisen Jogakuen is not a mission school that was established by receiving support from an overseas mission organization. It is a Christian school that was founded, based on faith, by Kawai, a Japanese Christian.
In the words of Rev. Isshiki Yoshiko, "Throughout her life, Kawai Michi made church a priority and devoted herself to fervent prayer and to the school's students, teachers and staff, along with the families of students and friends all over the world. She loved those people. She was an educator who could lead women to have independence, autonomy, and self-realization as a person who stands before God." A special counselor at Keisen Jogakuen, Isshiki was educated by and lived with Kawai, just like a family member.
Kawai Michi was born in Mie Prefecture to the family of a Shinto priest at Ise Shrine, the most famous shrine in Japan. As a result of reformation that occurred during the Meiji Restoration, however, her father lost his job and moved to Hokkaido while she was still very young. She met Sarah Smith, a missionary in Hakodate, followed her to Sapporo, and studied at Smith Girls' School, which later became Hokusei Jogakko. It can be said that the guidance provided by Nitobe Inazo and Smith in Sapporo gave Kawai direction for her life. Through a recommendation by Tsuda Umeko, Kawai received scholarship funds and, at the age of 21, traveled with Nitobe Inazo and his wife to the United States. In the autumn of 1904, Kawai graduated from Bryn Mawr College, returned to Japan, and became a teacher at Joshi Eigaku Juku, the school founded by Tsuda Umeko that now became Tsuda University. At the same time, Kawai also became a founding member of the Japan YWCA. When she became the first Japanese person to serve as its national secretary, she was 35 years old. During her 14 years as the national secretary, she traveled not only within Japan but also to Western and Asian countries, attending conferences, investigations, and lectures. She was also extremely busy gathering support for relief efforts after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 as well as holding training sessions and nation-wide conventions.
When Kawai retired from the Japan YWCA and felt called to school education, Watanabe Yuri (later Isshiki Yuri), Morikubo Hisa, and other former students of Kawai at Joshi Eigaku Juku supported her through prayer and by raising money. This group, named "Little Flock Of Disciples," sustained Kawai and eventually led to the work of Keisen Fellowship, which still exists today.
In 1929 Kawai founded Keisen Jogakuen with nine students. A friend from YWCA days, Florence Wells, along with friends from her Hokkaido days, Suemitsu Isao and Hongo Shin, served together with her as teachers. The following is a passage from her autobiography, My Lantern, which was published in 1939. The Japanese language version came later, in 1968.
“My school—what kind should it be? Besides giving girls a practical religious education along with their regular curriculum, is there not some way, I wondered, of making international study a practical element in their education? Might not I, through my pupils, make a contribution to the cause of international friendship? Wars will never cease until women interest themselves in world affairs. Then, begin with the young—with girls! From mere curiosity they can be led into appreciation of foreign people and things. If Christianity first teaches us self-respect, it next teaches us respect for others, regardless of race or rank; for all human beings are God’s children.” (My Lantern)
My Lantern (1939) and Sliding Doors (1950), both written in English by Kawai, were widely read in the West. Proceeds from the sale of the books were used as educational funds for Keisen Jogakuen. Bertha Lambert, Esther Nuendorffer and others who were friends of Kawai when she was at Bryn Mawr University, Kawai herself, Bonner Fellers (an a college friend of Isshiki Yuri), John Mott, and Elizabeth Vining joined together to organize the "Michi Kawai Christian Fellowship," which continued to support Keisen Jogakuen even after her death. Uemura Masahisa, the pastor of Fujimicho Church to which she belonged, and Kagawa Toyohiko who relied on her for the education of his children, continued in fellowship with Kawai throughout her entire life. Isshiki Yuri's husband, Isshiki Toraji, strongly supported Kawai by serving as Keisen Jogakuen’s chairman of the board. Within Japan, and in other countries all over the world, she had very many friendships that crossed Christian denominational lines!
Kawai attended a worldwide Christian conference held in Madras in 1931. She also visited the US in 1941 as a member of a peace group delegation. Even during World War II, she prayed for peace as she prayed for her friends around the world. She worshiped every morning at Keisen Jogakuen and continued to teach the English language. From the founding of Keisen Jogakuen, horticulture had always been an important subject, but the official authorization granted in March 1945 to establish Keisen Jogakuen as an agricultural school for girls marked the real starting point of horticulture as a part of junior college education. To this day, in Keisen Jogakuen Junior High School and High School and in Keisen Jogakuen University, the subject of horticulture is a required course of study.
In 1946, Kawai became a member of the National Educational Reformation Committee and worked for the passage of the Basic Education Act. In 1950, she was asked to write the English language prayers for the World Day of Prayer of that year. As a representative of the Japan Junior College Association, she went to the US in 1951 and, after finishing her duties, traveled around every part of the US, giving lectures and raising money for the establishment of International Christian University in Japan.
In February 1953, after being hospitalized for five months, Kawai Michi passed away at 75 years of age. Isshiki Yuri and Isshiki Yoshiko were at her bedside. Many people connected with Keisen Jogakuen filled the hospital both inside and outside. As they were praying, she went to be with the Lord. Even now, more than 60 years after Kawai’s death, many graduates still refer to her as "my teacher." They say things like, "She taught me to be a person who can say 'Yes', 'No', 'Thank you', and 'I'm sorry.'"
There is a school where the ideas of the founder have been inherited and are still alive in today's education. That school is Keisen Jogakuen. (Tr. KT)
—Matsui Hiroko, member Keisen Jogakuen Archive
河井道が著した自叙伝（My Lantern 1939,日本語版『わたしのランターン』1968）
河井道の英文著書My Lantern （1939） とSliding Doors（1950）は欧米で広く読まれ、その 売り上げは学園の教育資金として活用された。Bertha Lambertや Esther Nuendorffer等ブ リンマー大学時代の友人たちは、河井道、一色百合の知人であるB
マドラスにおける基督教 世界会議（1931）に出席し、平和使節団（1941） メンバーとして訪米した河井道は、戦時中も、平和を祈り、