Harriet Brittan, a Great Missionary and Founder of Yokohama Eiwa Gakuin

The Overseas Missions of the Methodist Protestant Church

 

Yokohama Eiwa Gakuin began as Brittan Girls’ School, founded in 1880 by the Methodist Protestant Church in the U.S. This denomination, known in Japan as the Mifu church, was a small denomination that had separated from the Methodist Episcopal Church and become independent in 1828. In contrast to the Methodist Episcopal Church, where all the rights of church government and legislation belonged to the clergy, the Methodist Protestant Church was formed as a denomination in which clergy and laity were equal when it came to church government, and there were no bishops or lay leaders.

 

The Methodist Protestant Church was too small to have its own independent organization for overseas evangelism but participated in the work of the Woman’s Union Missionary Society (WUMS). One example of such cooperation is Elizabeth Guthrie, who was sent to India by WUMS in 1868. Guthrie’s father was a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, but she herself was a member of the Methodist Protestant Church. She worked alongside Harriet Gertrude Brittan in the Calcutta Mission Home, but her health was badly affected by the climate, and in 1872, she set off to return to the United States. However, on the way home, she stopped off in Japan and became involved in Yokohama Mission Home’s work of caring for mixed-race children. She finally went back to the United States in 1878.

 

After her return, Guthrie made a report about her activities to the General Assembly of the Methodist Protestant Church. As a result, the Methodist Protestant Church established a Women’s Overseas Evangelism Society, and the decision was made for the Methodist Protestant Church to send missionaries independently and not through WUMS. Guthrie was appointed and sent to Japan, but in May 1880, as she was setting out, she suddenly died of pneumonia while still in San Francisco. This was a great shock to the Methodist Protestant Church. At this point Brittan, who had been working at the WUMS Calcutta Mission Home since 1861 and who had worked with Guthrie for several years, became involved. Guthrie had trusted Brittan and thought of her as a fellow worker, and Brittan was now sent to Japan as Guthrie’s successor.

 

The Founder of Yokohama Eiwa,

Harriet Gertrude Brittan(1822-1897)

 

Brittan was born in Great Britain but moved to Brooklyn in New York with her parents as a small child. When she was ten years old, she had the misfortune of falling from the third floor, and lost her mobility as a result. She was then confined to bed until she was 18, but after that she recovered her health, although she did not regain full use of her legs. In spite of this disability, she determined to volunteer for overseas mission work. In 1854 the American Episcopal (Anglican) Church sent her as a missionary to Liberia in West Africa, but she was sent back to the U.S. after contracting tropical fever.

 

Undaunted by these bad experiences, Brittan next went to India as a missionary in 1861 through WUMS. She was active there for 18 years, teaching needlework and the Bible to Indian women and children, and was acclaimed as a heroic pioneer woman missionary. However, in 1879, she left WUMS, after a difference of opinion with Mrs. Drimmer, a central figure at the WUMS headquarters. Back in the U.S., she worked at St. Luke’s hospital in New York and received medical training in preparation for her next missionary activity. She was then 57 years old. When Guthrie died in 1880, the Methodist Protestant Church decided to send Brittan to Yokohama as the missionary to replace her.

 

Brittan’s school was born at lot 48 in the foreign settlement in the Yamate section of Yokohama. The school opened in a small, one-story wooden building, with four students. Harada Ryoko, a graduate of Ferris Jogakuin, was the first interpreter and assistant, and Nezu Eiko joined from WUMS. The building was owned by missionary James Hamilton Ballagh, and it was Ballagh’s decision to appoint Harada. Brittan Girls’ School grew steadily, and by 1882 there were 64 students, so a larger school building became necessary. In 1883, Brittan used her own savings to purchase lot 120 in the Yamate Foreign Settlement to build a residence hall. All of the classes except Japanese language and writing were taught in English. Brittan conducted catechism drills and lectured on the Old Testament.

 

In the early days, Brittan Girls’ School was actually coeducational, with boys making up about one-third of the student body, and mixed-race children were also among the student body. Arishima Takeo (who later became a novelist) entered the school in September 1884, at age seven, and transferred to Gakushuin (which educated the children of the Imperial family and the nobility) in 1887.

 

In 1882 a young missionary, Frederick Charles Klein (1857-1926), was sent to Japan as the overall supervisor of the Methodist Protestant Church’s work, and Brittan, now in her 60s, found herself working under a 26-year-old who was new to the field. Klein found fault with Brittan’s educational policy and her financial management, was unhappy about the presence of boys and mixed-race children, and criticized the religious education of the school because although it was evangelical, he found it too much influenced by Anglican practices. In fact, Brittan remained a member of the Anglican Church all her life and had no formal high school education or theological training. Because of the bad relationship with Klein, Brittan resigned in 1885. She remained in Japan until ill health forced her to return to the U.S. but died in a hotel in San Francisco the day after she landed. Yokohama Eiwa Gakuin regards Brittan, our founder, as a great missionary. (Tr. SN)

 

—Nagai Teruo, chairman

Yokohama Eiwa Gakuin Board of Directors

 

偉大な宣教師ブリテン先生    横浜英和学院 理事長 永井輝男

<米国美普教会の海外宣教>

横浜英和学院は1880年ブリテンBrittan女 学校として米国メソジスト・プロテスタント教会(に よって創立された。この教派は美普(みふ)教会と呼ばれ、1828年 に米国メソジスト監督教会から分離独立した小規模な教会であった。教会政治、立法の権限がすべて教職にあるとするメソジスト監督教会 のあり方に反対し、教職も信徒も平等で監督や長老を設けずに教会政治を行う教会として成立した。 小教派である美普教会は独自の海外伝道を行う組織を持っていな かった。しかし、米国婦人一致外国伝道協会に参加し協力していた。その中にElizabeth Guthrieがおり、1868年 にWUMSからインドに派遣されていた。ガスリーの父は改革 派長老教会の牧師であったが彼女は美普教会の会員でした。カルカッタのミッションホームでHarriet Gertrude Brittanと 共に働いていましたが気候が合わず体調を崩し帰米することになった。1872年帰国の途中に日本に立ち寄り、横浜のミッショ ン・ホームで混血児の世話を1878年まで行い帰国した。 帰国後、美普教会の総会で活動報告を行ったことから美普教会の婦 人外国伝道会が組織された。そして総会でWUMSに支援するのではなく、美普教会として独自の宣教 師を派遣することになった。ガスリーが任命されて日本に派遣されることになった。1880年5月ガスリーは日本に向かう途中、サンフランシスコで肺炎になり急死した。 美普教会にとっては大衝撃であった。ここに登場したのがブリテン であった。彼女は1861年頃からWUMSのカルカッタのミッション・ホームで働き数年間ガスリーと共に働いた経験があった。ガスリーもブリテンを信頼し、 同労者と考えていた。ガスリーの後任者としてブリテンが日本に派遣されることになった。 <横浜英和の創始者、ブリテンHarriet Gertrude Brittan(1822-1897)> ブリテンは、1822年イギリスで生まれ、幼いときに両親とアメリカのニューヨークのブルックリンに移住した。不幸なことに10歳頃、3階から転落事故を起こし身体の自由を失った。18歳頃まで病床になったがその後健康を回復したが足に障害を残した。 その障害があるにもかかわらず海外伝道を志すようになり、1854年に米国聖公会派遣の宣教師として西アフリカのリ ベリアに向かったが熱帯の熱病にかかり米国に送還された。これらの悪条件にも屈せず、次に1861年にWUMSの派遣宣教師としてインドに向かった。インドの婦人達や子ども達に裁縫や聖書を教え、約18年間活躍し、女性宣教師の英雄的なパイオニアと称賛された。 しかし1879年頃WUMS本 部の中心人物であるドリマー夫人と 意見が衝突しWUMSから離別した。帰国後ニューヨークの聖ロカ病院で 働き、医療訓練を受け次の宣教活動の準備を行った。57歳の年齢になっていた。 そこへ1880年米国美普教会からガスリーの召天、その後任の宣教師として横浜に派遣されることになった。横浜山手居留地48番館にブリテンの学校が誕生した。小さな木造平屋で開校し、生徒は4名、フェリス出身の原田良子(りょうこ)こが最初の通訳兼助手となり、後にWUMSにいた根津えい子が加わった。建物の所有はJames Hamilton Ballaghで あり、原田良子の起用はバラ宣教師によるものであった。ブリテン女学校は着実に成長し1882年に生徒は64名 となり、大きな校舎が必要となった。1883年ブリテンは私財を投じて山手居留地120番を購入し寄宿舎を建てた。授業は国語と書き方を 除いて英語で行われた。ブリテンは教理問答のドリルと旧約聖書の講話を行った。初期のブリテン女学校は男女共学で、男子は三分の一くらいであっ た。当初はハーフの子どもも入学していた。有島武郎は1884年9月に7歳 で入学し、87年に学習院に転出した。1882年、青年宣教師Frederick Charles Klein(1857-1926) が来日し、美普教会宣教団の総監督に使命された。26歳の新参監督の下に60代のブリテン宣教師が置かれた。クラインはブリテンの教育方針、財政運営を批判し、男女共学、ハーフの存在、それ にブリテンの宗教教育は福音的であるが聖公会風の姿勢であると批判した。実はブリテンは生涯聖公会の会員であった。また正式の高等教 育や神学教育を受けていなかった。ブリテンはクラインとの折り合いが悪く、1885年に辞任した。 その後も在日されたが1897年健康を害し帰国されたが、米国到着の翌日サンフランシスコのホテルで召天された。横浜英和学院にとっては偉 大な宣教師であり創立者であった。