by Sakata Masao, president
Junior High School, Senior High School
James H. Ballagh, a missionary who arrived in Kanagawa in November 1861, lived there for seven years and noticed that mixed-race children of Japanese women and foreign men were despised and discriminated against in their communities. He saw that they were homeless and begging in the streets. He earnestly appealed to Christian organizations in the United States to send women missionaries to care for these children and to provide education, particularly for the girls.
The Women’s Union Missionary Society of America for Heathen Lands (WUMS), a mission to women by women, responded to his appeal and sent three missionaries to Japan. When asked what made them decide to go to Japan, Mary Pruyn said she had felt a calling from Jesus; Louise Pierson quoted the Bible verse “If I must die for doing it, I will die” (Esther 4:16); and Julia Crosby decided that she would devote herself “with all her heart and all her soul” to the mission given by God.
These women missionaries landed in Yokohama and stayed at a hotel in Yamate while they searched for a place to live. Since they could not find anything suitable, they rented the house owned by James Ballagh at 48 Bluff, Yamate. Thus, the “American Mission Home” was officially opened on Aug. 28, 1871.
Mary Pruyn, aged 51, was the leader and supervised their home and school as an administrator. Julia Crosby, aged 38, was the treasurer and a teacher. Louise Pierson, aged 39, was the principal and a teacher. Thus by sharing the mission work, they collaborated in making a good home for these children.
However, not many children came to their home. They wondered what caused this and finally got the answer. Christianity was prohibited in Japan at that time in 1871. The warning “Christianity Strictly Prohibited” was posted on every government bulletin board (kosatsu sho) all over the country. It was not surprising that few Japanese children took the risk of coming to see them.
In October 1871, Nakamura Masanao, a scholar of the Chinese classics, stayed at the Mission Home. He saw the three women taking care of the young children with a kind of firm discipline and love that he had never seen before among Japanese people. Moved by the stories they told, he wrote Japan’s first recruitment advertisement for admission to their Home and introduced it to the public. The advertisement said: “This Mission Home was established by the WUMS, and three American women teachers will provide care for your children, regardless of their race by birth. You can choose either commuting or boarding. Children under three years of age are not accepted, but those without mothers are exempted from this rule. The cost for boarding and tuition is 10 to 15 dollars and 4 dollars for those who commute. A good education is provided by these kind women, and the children are brought up with deep love. They will be better raised there than if brought up in your own home.”
In 1872, because of the increase in the number of children, the women started to search for a larger house and more land. They finally found the house at 212 Bluff in Yamate, one of the most scenic sites in Yokohama. It was a corner lot, with the large house owned by Samuel Robbins Brown to the northwest, a cliff to the west, and Japanese people living below. The three missionaries had good insight for the future and worked to obtain this land with strong determination. They started to construct the school buildings, one after another, on this spacious lot. This is where Yokohama Kyoritsu Gakuen stands today.
The population of Yokohama had increased to 60,000 by this time, with many newcomers from abroad. Many merchants in Yokohama were very progressive in their thinking and recognized the need for girls’ education, especially to learn English. The aim of the three missionaries, who came to Japan to educate Japanese girls, met the need of the time, and the number of applicants quickly grew.
The three teachers did their best to give the Japanese girls a new kind of education and to transmit Western civilization through teaching English. For those who entered, their teachers provided a liberal atmosphere, a well-regulated life, Western manners, and the high morality of Christian faith, all of which they had never known or experienced before. A spirit of independence was nurtured in their minds without their being conscious of it.
The formal name for the Mission Home used to be Nihon Fujo Eigakko (Japanese Women’s English School), but later, around 1875, the name was changed to Kyoritsu Jogakko (Kyoritsu Girls’ School). Kyoritsu (literally, “standing together”) means “union,” and this school has been an interdenominational Christian school up to the present. It has had a good reputation for English and music education since the days of its founding.
Kaisei Dendo Jogakko (Kaisei Women’s Mission School), later called Kyoritsu Women’s Theological Seminary, was founded by the WUMS in 1881 on the same lot as the Mission Home, and it was the seminary for so-called “Bible women” in Japan.
Though Louise Pierson asked for permission to resign from the position as principal in order to devote herself to the seminary work, an appropriate person could not be found to take over, so she continued to do both. It was obvious that her personality and her passionate desire for her mission made it possible to establish Kaisei Women’s Bible Training School and to establish mission bases. In 1891, (Meiji 24), Harriet I. Bruckhart became the principal, and Louise Pierson began working solely for the seminary. She worked harder than ever in raising and supporting the Bible women. Thus, the seminary became more blessed than ever.
Later, in 1907, Kaisei Dendo Jogakko (Kaisei Women’s Bible Training School) changed its name to Kyoritsu Joshi Shingakko (Kyoritsu Women’s Theological Seminary). In 1943, it was united with Nihon Joshi Shingakko. This seminary sent out quite a few women preachers in Japan. Kyoritsu Jyoshi Shingakko reopened after World War II, and it is succeeded by the current Tokyo Christian University, which is now located in Chiba.
1861年11月、 神 奈川 に上陸した宣教師ジェームズ・H・バラ は、７ 年間の横浜生活をする中で、
その要請に応じたのがWUMS（The Woman's Union Missionary Society of America for Heathen Lands 米国婦人一致外 国伝 道協会・女性 のための女性のミッション）であり、
横浜に到着した三人は、と りあ えず 山手 のホテルで準備をすることにした。三人は家探しをしていたが、
リーダーのプラインは五一 歳、 総理 とし て、経営と塾舎の取り締まりをする。クロスビーは三八歳、
しかし、開設してもしばら くの 間は 日本 の少女はほとんど来なかったが、
1871年10月、 当 時の 漢学者・文学博士として有名な中村正直（敬宇）が、ミッション・
『この教授所は米国婦人伝道 会社 が 作った もので、三人の米国人女教師が、日本人、
プラインらは、英語教育を 通し て伝 道 し、日本の女性たちに新しい文明、
ピアソンは伝道の働きに専心するため共立女学校校長を辞任した い旨 を申 し出 ていたが、
文責：横浜共立学園 学園長 坂田雅雄