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This blog grows out of my conviction that every aspect of our lives is sacred and is to be nurtured and celebrated as a good gift of God. Most of the posts will be the sorts of things you would expect from a historian and worldview teacher, but some are likely to be a bit surprising. Since God created all things good, including all aspects of human life, everything is interesting and important from the perspective of a biblical worldview. Everything under the Sun and under Heaven is thus fair game here. I hope you find it interesting and enjoyable.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New article on Niijima Jo, in Christians who Changed their World

I'm a bit late in posting this, but I have rebooted the series on Christians who Changed their World at the Colson Center. This set will focus on non-Western Christians and women. The first, published last week, was on Niijima Jo, also known in America as Joseph Hardy Neesima.

After the article came out, I received an e-mail from a friend about Niijima. With his permission, I am copying it here:

Thank you so much for the latest article. My wife is from Japan, so after I read it we talked for a while. Niijima Jo is fairly well known in Japan. Even more well-known is one of his teachers from Amherst, William Smith Clark, who was asked to start an agricultural school in Hokkaido. He spent 8 months there setting up the school. As a result of his work, not only was a nationally known school created (which exists today as Hokkaido University), but several dozen students came to Christ, some of whom were influential as well.

My wife read up on Niijima Jo and his wife tonight on the Japanese section of Wikipedia, and apparently she was quite a woman as well. She was teaching at a girl's school when they first met, and she was well known for demanding that the governor support the school financially, to the point of going to his house, apparently uninvited, to talk to him about it, which was considered extremely inappropriate for a woman at the time. Jo had told one of his mentors that he wanted a woman who would not blindly follow her husbands lead, and the man immediately told him about her.

Also of note is the fact that Jo
started a school for girls a year after he started his first boy's school. Educating women was not seen as a worthwhile endeavour in Japan at the time, and this choice says a lot about his character.

Thank you again for the article. It brightened our day!


He also pointed me to a book on Neesima's life and letters available free through Google books.

Thank you, Jason!