Our annual visitors from Kyoto
On Friday June 8, the voices of 90 Japanese elementary students rang through the halls of 14 Beacon and into the Library. We are an important stop on their annual pilgrimage to explore the roots of their school, the Doshisha International Academy in Kyoto, Japan. Founded in 1875 by the first native Japanese Congregational missionary, Niijima Jo (aka Joseph Hardy Neesima), the school traces its beginnings back to the inspiration of missionary Alpheus Hardy, Neesima's mentor and sponsor. Each year their journey takes them all around Massachusetts to Phillips Academy, Amherst College, and Andover Theological Seminary places where Neesima studied. At the library the young Doshisha students always make a point of having their pictures taken in front of the bust of Hardy in our reading room then pour over the many Neesima artifacts on display in the Pratt Room.
Doshisha students and teacher with the bust of Alpheus Hardy (upper right)
Each year we look forward to the children’s enthusiasm and welcome them as they steep themselves in an important part of their school's history. Extending their generosity, each class makes a special presentation to Executive Director, Peggy Bendroth. They bring gifts that we treasure, including drawings with personal messages from each student and origami, even a copy the Doshisha College Song, seen below.
Although their visits are brief, they are definitely one of the highlights of our year.