First Missionaries at Iai Gakuin

In January 2011, Iai Gakuin celebrated its 137th anniversary, making it the oldest girls’ junior high and senior high school in Hokkaido. The first missionaries to work here were Merriman Colbert Harris and his wife Flora Lydia Best Harris. They were sent by the American Methodist Episcopal Church and arrived in Hakodate on January 26, 1874. Flora Harris quickly gathered a group of young girls together and began Hibi Gakko (Day School) where she taught English, the Bible, sewing, and manners. There were only five girls at first, but this group was an unforgettable source of joy to Harris.

The students at Day School continued to study at Aiiku School, which was started somewhat later, but Harris felt teaching only daily life skills was inadequate and desired to start a formal school for girls that would include a dormitory. She prayed and wrote an article about it in the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society’s (WFMS) magazine Heathen Woman’s Friend.

After reading the article, a woman named Caroline R. Wright, who had just lost her daughter to illness, was deeply moved. She had been living in Germany as wife of the American Legate to Germany, but she was informed that her daughter, who had been left back in the US, had become seriously ill and was in a critical state. She went back to the States in hopes of nursing her child for even one day. Meanwhile, her daughter, who was lying ill in bed, prayed that she could see her mother again. The prayers were answered. She was able to nurse her daughter and to embrace her with a thankful heart as her daughter was called to heaven.

Wright wanted to express her deeply felt gratitude to God by being of service in some way, and when she read Harris’ article and saw that girls the same age as her deceased daughter were learning in another country, she felt a call to contribute to that mission. She contributed to the school in Hakodate the savings she had set aside for her daughter’s education, money raised from selling knitted and embroidered items sold at church bazaars, and money she raised by calling upon friends. In total amounted to $1,800.

In October 1878, Mary A. Priest was sent to Hakodate as an educational missionary. In 1879 the school was formally opened with an enrollment of 12 students, but on December 6 of the same year, the school and the adjacent church were both destroyed in a great fire. Priest continued to teach, using her bedroom as a classroom, but perhaps the shock of the great fire had overwhelmed her. By 1880 she was having health problems and left Japan to return home.

However, once again prayers were answered, and in February 1882, the school was officially recognized by the Ministry of Education and formally incorporated as the Caroline Wright Memorial School. The first principal was Kate Woodworth. The school began with an enrollment of 6 students, but by September of that year there was a total of 16 girls living in the dormitory as well as several others who commuted to school each day.

Although the initial name of the school had been Caroline Wright Memorial School, because resistance to using the alphabet at the time was negatively affecting enrollment, the school changed its name to Iai Girls’ School in its third year. Iai means “a remembrance of love.”

The first principal, Kate Woodsworth, left after only one year to get married and was replaced by Mary S. Hampton. Hampton had been like a mother to the students, embracing them with her kindness, but when she became principal, she had to struggle to improve the facilities and to increase enrollment. She went from door to door in Hakodate and even went as far as Hirosaki in northern Honshu. She was kept very busy and when she asked for assistance from the U.S., a missionary by the name of Florence N. Hamisfar, who was also a medical doctor, was sent to the school in 1883. Hamisfar was the first female doctor in Hokkaido. She saw patients in Hakodate from 6 a.m., taught at Iai in between and also taught an English class for one hour each day at Hakodate Teachers’ School. In part due to Hampton’s efforts, by 1887 enrollment was up to 94 students. In this year, Ella J.Hewett became the third principal of the school and Hampton returned temporarily to the U.S. Returning to Japan in 1888, she was assigned to Hirosaki Iai Girls’ School for a brief time before finally returning to Iai Girls; School in Hakodate. She assisted the fourth principal, Augusta Dickerson, and together they worked to acquire the present campus and to improve the school and kindergarten buildings. In total, Hampton gave 34 years of her life to education at Iai.

More than any other person, it was the missionary named Dickerson who laid the foundation for the education carried out at Iai and who nurtured a tradition of service. She became principal in 1890, began a preparatory school in 1891, and in the following year, a kindergarten program. A sister school named Raitoku was established in Hirosaki, and Hampton and Dickerson were sent there to teach from May 1889 to March 1991. Dickerson was principal for 35 years, and she was the one who made “Faith, Sacrifice, Service” the motto for Iai. For girls living in the dormitory, she established a “Princess Group” and, with the young girls, engaged in a number of social service activities. They helped out at church school, provided assistance for people living in poverty, visited the sick, and taught young children.

In 1918 they took flowers to the sick in hospital, and they sent money earned by selling knitted and embroidered items to children in Siberia who were suffering during the state of confusion that followed the Russian Revolution. In 1923, at the time of the Great Kanto Earthquake, both teachers and students made and sent clothing, along with financial contributions, for people in the affected areas, and when there was serious flooding in the Korean Peninsula in 1925, they sent clothing and accessories.

Dickerson was also closely associated with the Hakodate School for the Blind and Deaf. The predecessor to the school had been established in 1895 by Charlotte Pinkney-Draper of the Methodist Church, and Dickerson had supported this school both financially and by assisting with the instruction. For a short time Iai even took over the management of the school, and graduates were hired by the school as staff.

Iai Gakuin now has 23,591 graduates, and the spirit of the first missionaries who gave us the motto “Faith, Sacrifice, Service” remains the sure and firm foundation of Iai’s educational philosophy. (Tr. RW)

  —Fukushima Mototeru, principal of Iai Gakuin

Hakodate, Hokkaido

 

遺愛学院創設期の宣教師達

遺愛は2011年1月に創基137周年を迎えた北海道で最も長い伝統をもつ女子中学高校である。創基に関わったMCハリス夫妻が米国メ ソジスト監督教会から伝道のために日本に派遣され、函館に到着したのが1874年1月26日であった。ハリス夫人はすぐに子女を集め『日々学校』を始 め、英語や聖書、裁縫、作法などを教えた。最初の生徒は5人であったが、ハリス夫人にとってはこの5人の生徒を得たことは生涯忘れる ことのできない歓びの一つだった。

『日々学校』の生徒達は、その後、MCハリスの開いた私塾『愛育学校』で学んだ。ハリス夫人は平常教育は行っていたも のの不十分と考え、寮つきの正式な女学校を作りたいと願い、祈り、アメリカメソジスト監督教会の婦人外国宣教協会(WFMS)の『Heathen Woman’s Friend』という機関誌に寄稿した。

その文章が当時、愛娘を病気で失い悲しみのなかにあったカロライン・ライト夫人の心を動かした。夫人はドイツ駐在アメ リカ公使夫人としてドイツに住んでいたが、アメリカに残してきた子どもの1人が重病になり、危篤の知らせを受けた。驚いた夫人はせめて、1日でも看病したいと祈りつつ帰国した。病床にあった娘も、母に 一目会いたいと祈っていた。この祈りがかなえられ数日看病することができ、母の手のなかで感謝しつつ召された。

ライト夫人は主の深い恩寵に応えるために、何か奉仕をしたいと考えていた時に、ハリス夫人の一文を読み、娘と同じ年齢 で教育を受けられないでいる異国の少女のために尽くすことこそ、その使命であると考えた。それまで蓄えていた愛娘のための教育資金と 編み物や刺繍をおこない教会バザーで販売した益金、信仰の友への呼びかけで集まった献金をあわせて1800ドルを、函館の女子教育のために献げた。

1878年10月教育宣教師としてプリーストが函館に派遣された。1879年12名の生徒で学校を開設するが、同年12月6日の大火で教会と校舎が焼失した。プリーストは自分の寝室で授業を継続したが、大火のショックが大きかったのだろうか、 健康をそこない1880年春に帰国した。

しかしついに祈りがかなえられ、1882年2月1日に文部省認可の女学校「カロライン・ライト・メモリアルスクール」が設立された。初代 の校長はウッズワースであった。最初の入学生は6名であったが、9月には寄宿生16名と数人の通学生を数えるようになった。

当初、学校名は『カロライン・ライト・メモリアル・スクール』だったが、当時は横文字が受け入れられにくく生徒が集ま らないので開校3年目に、『遺愛女学校』と校名変更をした。

初代校長のウッドワースが結婚のために1年で日本を離れたため、代わりに第2代校長にハンプトンが就任した。ハンプトンは在校生にとっては優しく包み込む母親のような存在であったが、校長になった 当時、学校の整備に生徒募集に相当苦労をした。函館の一般家庭を回ったり、弘前にも出かけていった。とても忙しく、助け手をアメリカ に求めたところ、1883年にハミスファー宣教師(医師でもあった)が派遣された。ハミスファーは北海道で最初の女医であり、朝6時から函館の人々のために診療をし、合間に遺愛の生徒に教え、函館師範学校でも毎日1時間英語を教えた。1887年にはハンプトンの努力のかいもあり、生徒数は94名になった。この年、ヒューエットが第3代校長となり、ハンプトンは一時帰米するが、1888年に再来日し弘前遺愛女学校に赴任するが、また遺愛に復帰する。その後、第4代校長デカルソンを助けながら、現在のキャンパス、遺愛の校舎および元町幼稚園の整備に貢献し、34年間、遺愛の教育に身を捧げた。

遺愛の教育の基盤をつくり、奉仕の伝統をつくったのは第4代校長のオーガスタ・デカルソンといっていいであろう。デカル ソンは1890年(明治23年)に校長に就任し、1891年予備科、翌年に小学校をつくり、1895年に幼稚園を併設した。また弘前に姉妹校の「来徳女学校」がで き、出張し指導にあたっていた。遺愛では35年間校長職を務め、『信仰・犠牲・奉仕』を遺愛の校訓として位置づけたのはデカルソンであった。デカルソンは寮生を中心 に王女会を組織し、教会の日曜学校を手助けするとともに、貧民救済、病人慰問、幼児教育のために生徒とともに奉仕をしていた。

1918年には、草花をもって病院訪問、編み物、袋物、刺繍細工などで 得たお金をロシア革命の混乱のなかにあったシベリアの子供のために送金していた。1923年の関東大震災にあたっては、教職員・生徒の働きで衣類・肌着などを製作・寄贈し、献金を送り、また1925年には朝鮮半島の水害に衣類と附属品を送っていた。

デカルソンについては、函館盲学校・聾学校との関わりについて注目される。函館盲学校・聾学校の前身である訓盲院は1895年にメソジスト教会のシャーロッテ・ピンクニー・ドレーパーが設立したが、デカルソンは設立当初より財政的な支 援、授業も担当し、訓盲院を支えた。一時期は遺愛がその経営母体になった時期があり、遺愛の卒業生が教師になっていた。

現在、卒業生を2万3591人輩出しているが、『信仰・犠牲・奉仕』を身をもって示した初期の宣教師達の精神が、今も確かに継承されている。(遺愛 学院 校長 福島基輝)