Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yamamoto Yae

Can you believe that this gentle looking old lady cut off her hair and manned a gun during the Bosshin War?! That is until a sharp-eyed general spotted her and sent her back behind the lines with the rest of the ladies.!

After the war ended she went down to Kyoto to help out her brother. But it appears she remained a woman of independent spirit. She and her brother became Christians and in 1875 Yae, now 30 and unmarried, was dismissed from her job as a teacher for her "outspoken approval" of Joseph Niishima's plan to start a Christian School in the ancient capital of Kyoto.

Yaeko Niishima

In their book "Ten Against the Storm", Marianna and Norman Pritchard write: "She was not a docile, old-fashioned Japanese lady; she was a fiery dreamer like Niishima. The two set their wedding date for the following New Year season."

We've just launched a series of mission stories in Aji Church bouncing off the Pritchards' list of ten famous Japanese Christians: Joseph Hardy Niishima, Hiromichi Kozaki, Gumpei Yamamuro, Kaji Yajima, Kajinosuke Ibuka, Masashima Uemura, Yoichi Honda, Kanzo Uchimura, Inazo Nitobe, Michi Kawai. But I couldn't resist a separate story for Niishima's wife.

Niishima Jo , incidentally, is perhaps more famous for stowing away on a Boston-bound ship back when it was still a capital offense than for founding Doshisha University in Kyoto!


Linda said...

What a cute picture! This was fascinating, and led me to many moments in Wikipedia learning about Nishima-jo and rangaku. Thanks again for a great blog!
Linda Karner

Laurie Elliot said...

I'm so glad you looked them up!

Its been such an encouragement to me to read about some of those Meiji Christians.

Luke Elliot said...

Wow mom, I wish I could be there for those Sunday school lessons!