United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations.
Secretaries' files: Japan Mission, 1879-1972 (bulk:1911-1969)
Finding Aid to Record Group 93
18.00 cu.ft.

Presbyterian Historical Society
425 Lombard St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516


The Board of Foreign Missions (PCUSA) began plans for work in Japan shortly after the conclusion of a Japanese-American treaty in 1854. In 1855, the Board instructed the Reverend D.B. McCartee of the China mission to travel to Japan and ascertain where it would be practical to open a station. His repeated efforts to secure passage from Shanghai were a failure. Three years later, the Board appointed Dr. James C. Hepburn and his wife Clara as the first Presbyterian missionaries to Japan. They arrived in Yokohama in October of 1859.

Early mission endeavors in Japan were beset by considerable difficulties. The missionaries were regarded with suspicion and dislike; their motives were misunderstood and their purpose misrepresented. Conversions were especially difficult, given the overwhelmingly Buddhist population, and social ostracism and persecution awaited those who became Christians. This xenophobia subsided after 1896, and by the beginning of the twentieth century its force had been spent.

Despite the hostility experienced by the missionaries throughout the closing decades of the 19th century, expansion of mission activities did continue, albeit at a slow pace. In 1869, Tokyo station was opened, followed by Osaka in 1877. Work in Kanazawa, the largest city on the west coast and a stronghold of conservative Buddhism, was established in 1879. Although a church had been established in Hiroshima in 1883, the station was not formally constituted until 1887. Hokkaido station was established the same year. In 1890, Kyoto was occupied, followed by Yamaguchi (which merged in 1935 with Hiroshima into the Sanyo station), Otaru in 1894, Matsuyama and Asanigawa in 1900 and Nokkeushi in 1914. Fukui was constituted in 1891 but closed by the Board in 1923. In 1907, work commenced at Port Arthur and continued until 1923. Following the reunion of the Presbyterian and Cumberland Presbyterian Churches in 1907, the work at Osaka, Wakayama, Yamada and Tsu was transferred to the Board of Foreign Missions.

The mission's work in Japan was primarily educational and evangelistic. Because of the extensive Japanese system of hospitals and primary schools, no effort was made by the Board to compete. The lack of adequate secondary and higher education facilities for girls and young women resulted in the establishment of several Christian institutions, including Joshi Gakuin (1873), Wilmina Jo Gakuin (1907) and the Woman's Christian College (1918). In addition, the mission conducted ten kindergartens, a boys' middle school and college (Meiji Gakuin), and an Oral School for the Deaf. The mission also cooperated in the operation of two theological seminaries.

The beginnings of an indigenous national church in Japan date from 1872, when the first local church was organized in Yokohama. In 1877, representatives of the PCUSA, the Reformed Church in America and the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland established the United Church of Christ in Japan and were later joined by the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. and the Reformed Church in the United States.


Record Group 93 documents the educational and evangelistic work of the PCUSA and UPCUSA in Japan from 1879-1972. The bulk of this collection dates from 1911 through the late 1960s. Included are annual personal, institutional and station reports which reflect the activities of the mission and the personnel associated with it. Missionary, institutional, and executive
correspondence files dominate the collection. The reaction of the mission personnel to the Japanese government's foreign and domestic policies of the 1930s and early 1940s is documented extensively. Correspondence generated shortly before and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is particularly rich in its assessment of Japanese-American relations. Also reflected is the Presbyterian Church's role in aiding the post-war reconstruction efforts in Japan.

Record Group 93 is arranged as follows:

Series 1: Minutes, 1911-1955 Box 1

Series 2: Reports, 1911-1972 Boxes 1-3

Series 3: Correspondence, 1879-1971 Boxes 3-11

Series 4: Interboard Committee for Christian
Work in Japan, 1950-1970 Boxes 12-13

Series 5: Miscellany, 1892-1972 Boxes 14-18


Materials created prior to 1911 have been microfilmed, though the quality of this work is poor. Researchers should consult the microfilm calendars in the library.

Printed material for this collection has been catalogued separately in the library.

Although most of this collection is in English, some Japanese language items can be found scattered throughout the collection.

Included within the category "Missionary Correspondence" are materials generated by individuals other than missionaries, although the bulk of this correspondence is to/from mission personnel.

Collection processed and preliminary inventory prepared: 1978
Jane Ramsay

Collection reprocessed and finding aid prepared: 1984
Frederick J. Heuser, Jr., Archivist

Box	Folder	Description
8   	1-14	1933-43

9   	1-17	1941-54

10  	1-15	1954-65

		Subseries 5: Calendared Correspondence, 1912-1925

11  	1-16	1912-25

			       JAPAN, 1950-1970

12  	1-14	1950-62

13  	1-7	1963-70

		SERIES 5: MISCELLANY, 1892-1972

14	1	American School in Japan, 1912-40
	2	Atlantic City Conference, 1941
    	3-4	Audio-Visual, 1949-69
	5	Bible Teachers' Training School, 1914-23
    	6-10	Budget, 1949-68
	11	Cables, 1929-64
	12	China Medical Missionary Association, 1920-21
	13	Christian Education in Japan, 1932-35
	14	Christian University, 1910-46
	15	Church and Mission Relations in Japan, 1915-41
	16	Church of Christ in Japan, 1886
	17	Clippings, 1941
	18	Conference on Religion, 1912
	19	Consulate General of Japan, 1911-23
   	20-21	Council of Cooperation, 1950-70

15	1	Council of Presbyterian/Reformed Missions in Japan, 1914-20
    	2-3	Earthquake, Japanese, 1923-27
	4	Education in Japan, n.d.
    	5-7	Estimates, 1938-40
	8	Famine in Japan, 1914
	9	Fellowship of Christian Missionaries in Japan, 1911-37
	10	Fukui Station, 1923-28
   	11-15	General correspondence, 1926-72
	16	Goto, Baron Shimpei, 1919

15	17	Haworth, B.C., 1912-19
	18	Hibiki, General/Sekiya T., 1913-14, 1918
	19	Hokusei Gakuin--Photographs, 1965
	20	Japan Christian University, 1910-46, 1957
   	21-23	Japan International Christian University Foundation, 1945-68
	24	Japan-Korean Deputation Reports, 1947-48

16	1	Japan Planning Conference, 1944
	2	Japan Press, 1950-54
	3	Japanese Embassy, 1912-26
	4	Japanese Evangelism, 1962-66
	5	Joshi Gakuin - Constitution, 1892
	6	Kobe College, 1921-24
    	7-12	Meiji Gakuin, 1893-47
	13	Milliken, Elizabeth, 1904
	14	Miscellaneous Items, 1893-1904?
	15	Miscellaneous pamphlets/articles, 1927-50
	16	Miscellaneous post-war planning items, 1943
	17	Monk, Alice M., 1923
   	18-22	National Christian Council, 1952-71
   	23-24	Non-missionaries, correspondence, 1926-41

17  	1-7	Property, 1940-71
	8	Protestant Church Commission for Wartime Japanese Service, 1941-42
	9	Sturges Seminary, 1919-47
	10	Southern Presbyterian Board, 1903-07
	11	Statistics, 1966-69
	12	Tagawa, D., 1913-19
   	13-19	Thurber, L.N., East Asia Office, 1965-68
	 20	Tokyo School for Foreign Children, 1914-15
   	21-27	United Church of Christ in Japan/Japan Churches, 1948-70
	28	Watanabe, Chief Justice, 1912-13

18  	1-7	Woman's Christian College, 1914-47
	8	Work with Japanese-Americans, 1943