"What a woman named Umeko Tsuda was such a fascinating person."-While reading this book, the abstracter became more and more fascinated by her intellect, action, energy, and personality.
Umeko Tsuda, who was selected as the face of the 5000-yen bill that will be renewed in 2024, is a pioneer in women's education and the founder of Tsuda College. Her charm, which she loved and interacted with many people during her lifetime, does not fade through the text.
This book is composed of Umeko's private letter and the author's text, which was discovered on the campus of Tsuda College 35 years ago. Umeko's letter was written in English, so the Japanese translation of the author is quoted, but all of them are interesting sentences that make you feel intelligence and humor. Since it is a letter, it is natural that it is written unilaterally, but when reading them, it seems that Umeko himself is talking with a wow. Anyway, I'm thinking about various things in my head, I have great hope, and I can't help but be excited. From the text, such a woman can be imagined.
As I was reading this book, I thought from the bottom of my heart that I wanted to live together in the times when this person was alive and see it with my own eyes. Regardless of gender, you will be impressed by Umeko's high aspirations as a human being, and female readers will surely want to be such a dignified woman.
This book is full of attractiveness. I want people who do not usually read biographical literature to read it.
The main points of this book
In 1984, a large number of private communications of the founder, Umeko Tsuda, were found on the premises of Tsuda College. They became valuable materials for understanding Umeko's life.
Umeko was one of the female international students sent to the United States during the Meiji era. He spent 11 years in the United States with Mr. and Mrs. Lanman, who live in Georgetown, Washington.
Umeko experienced studying abroad in the United States twice and opened a private school "Women's English School" in 1900. He worked hard to educate girls and died in 1929.
A large number of letters
Returning to Japan for the first time in 11 years
"It's one more day. I'm about to arrive. My relatives-what kind of people are my family? This is the last letter I'll write before I meet them. Calculate from this afternoon. , Only 246 miles left. Unless something goes wrong, we'll arrive within 24 hours. "
The letter that begins with this kind of writing is a letter written by Umeko Tsuda (hereinafter referred to as Umeko) in the cabin just before the "Arabic" that departed San Francisco on November 19, 1882 (Meiji 15) entered Yokohama Port. Is.
Umeko was one of the five female international students sent to the United States in 1871 by the Meiji government and the Hokkaido Development Commission. At the time of departure, Umeko was only 6 years old. It was the youngest.
While studying abroad for 11 years, Umeko boarded with Charles Lanman and Adelin Lanman, who live in Georgetown, Washington, and grew up loved like their real daughter. The opening letter was written to Adelin.
The key to understanding Umeko's life
Around the summer of 1986, the author will hear the story that "a 30-year personal communication addressed to Adelin Lanman of the founder Umeko Tsuda was found in the storeroom of Tsuda College."
By then, the author had read the documents left by Umeko. But they were all written from a public standpoint. When such an author read Umeko's personal communication, it seemed that the modern times of Japan, the inside of the Meiji era, and the appearance and hearts of the people who lived there at that time were projected through Umeko's naked eyes.
The discovery of these letters was a minor incident for Tsuda College. It is not clear now how the letter was there. The letter was written from 1882, when Umeko returned to Japan, to 1911, the last year of Adelin. Not only the letter from Umeko to Adelin, but also the reply from Adelin to Umeko was included. There are hundreds of them.
When Umeko returns to Japan, Adelin has a sentence written by Umeko and a letter received from Japan. These documents became valuable materials for understanding Umeko's life.
Did Adelin somehow send these letters back to Umeko before he passed away? There are other theories, but none of them are speculative.
The people Umeko met
Mr. and Mrs. Lanman
The Lanmans raised Umeko, who came to the United States at the age of six, for 11 years.
Her husband, Charles, has been involved with the US State Department, the Home Office, and the National Diet Library. He has written about 30 books, including "Webster Den," and is said to have interacted with writers. I was supposed to take care of Umeko because I was a secretary of the Japanese legation.
His wife, Adelin, was the daughter of a successful trader. The home in Georgetown, Washington, where the couple and Umeko lived, was said to have been given by Adelin's father as a wedding gift to her.
Their hobbies are fishing and traveling, and Umeko seems to have traveled all over the United States with her husband and wife. In addition, the Lanman family has a large collection of books, and it can be said that Umeko, who grew up reading them, was raised in a better environment than the average American.
Even after Umeko returned to Japan, she continued to interact with them. In particular, Adelin was a lifelong friend. Until Adelin's later years, he exchanged letters for about 30 years, and Umeko seems to have written one letter every few days at most. It seems that there was also a desire not to weaken his English ability.
The letter to Adelin describes in detail what Umeko saw, heard, and felt, including the confusion in Japanese life and the resentment of Japanese women's low status. Charles once saw Umeko's literary talent and suggested that he publish a letter. However, Umeko refuses it. He strongly replied, "If you show someone a letter, you will only write a clever letter like a model sentence in the future."
Shigeko Nagai and Sutematsu Yamakawa
Of the five female international students, Shigeko Nagai and Sutematsu Yamakawa had a particularly close relationship with Umeko.
Shigeko Uryu (née: Nagai) returned to Japan a year earlier than Umeko and Sutematsu, and married the Uryu family the year they returned. Umeko, who received a report of her marriage from Shigeko, said, "I never dreamed of it. (Omitted) Neither Sutematsu nor I rarely want to get married, but it can't be helped." I wrote in the letter to the address.
Oyama Sutematsu (née: Yamakawa) returned to Japan on the "Arabic" with Umeko. Then, the year after returning to Japan, in 1883, he was first seen by the Army Lord Iwao Oyama and got married. Sutematsu told Alice Bacon, the daughter of a house she had boarded in the United States, "Japanese women who do not marry are too helpless, and if they want to do something for society, they are powerful. I thought that getting the help of my husband was the fastest way, "he said.
Umeko wrote in another letter to Adelin, "In Japan, unmarried women can only say that they can do almost nothing." From the numerous letters, it can be seen that even though he studied abroad at the national expense, he felt disappointed with his two best friends who were married easily.[Must read points!] To improve the status of Japanese women
Study abroad at Bryn Mawr Women's University
Having experienced several teacher jobs and having a glimpse of social circles, Umeko was indignant at the overwhelming disdain for Japanese women compared to the United States. At the same time, as a person who studied abroad in the United States at the age of six, I always had the feeling that I had to contribute to the country.
In 1889, Umeko set out to study abroad in the United States again. I studied abroad at Bryn Mawr Women's University near Philadelphia in the eastern United States.
Umeko began to dream of girls' education while standing on the podium. I am skeptical of the humorous clothing of the upper class women of the time, and want to make them perceive Western rationalism in a more essential part, rather than an easy way to obtain substances and shapes. It was. To do so, learn English and deepen your understanding of the Western philosophy behind it. At the same time, he thought it necessary to give women the profession of an English teacher to encourage financial independence and provide a place for expression.
When studying abroad, Umeko approached Adelin, Alice Bacon, a friend of Sutematsu's study abroad period, and Mrs. Morris, who had a voice among intellectuals in the eastern United States. Was there.
Mrs. Morris had a friendship with President Rose of Bryn Mawr College. With her help, Umeko made a promise to get a tuition exemption and a room in the dormitory. Furthermore, the principal of the Chinese Girls' School, who was working in Japan at that time, asked me to study abroad for two years without being removed from the register and being paid a salary.
Umeko, who was studying abroad in Bryn Mawr, majored in biology. Since her father, Tsuda Sen, was an agronomist, she had been interested in biology since she was young and seems to have had that talent by nature. Looking at the records, we can see that Umeko had an outstanding record in science. In fact, the professor even suggested that I stay at the university and continue my research.
Founding of Women's English School
In 1899, Umeko sent a letter to Mrs. Morris asking her to discuss the funding needed to establish a private school. Umeko was 35 years old at that time. It must have been judged that the time was ripe.
Her private school "Women's English School" opened on September 14, 1900 at 15 Ichibancho, Kojimachi-ku. At the beginning of the school, it started with 10 students, using an ordinary Japanese house as a school building. Due to the differences in academic ability among the students, they were given lessons almost like private professors by Umeko et al. Emphasis was placed on small-group education, and education was aimed at raising allaround women.
The number of students increased to about 30 in 1901, the year after the school opened, and 140 in 1907. The reputation of the women's English school has spread nationwide by word of mouth, and young women who dream have gathered under Umeko.
The Women's English School was approved by a vocational school in 1904, and the following year, it was granted permission to give and receive a teacher-free exam. This allowed the graduates of the cram school to get a job as the first female English teacher in Japan. And it is said that Umeko was able to get a monthly allowance of 25 yen for the first time when she became a vocational school four years after the school opened.
To the current Tsuda College
The purchase of the land on which the current Tsuda College Kodaira Campus will be built was scheduled for 1922. By that time, Umeko's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lanman, who were taken care of at the study abroad destination, comrades such as Alice Bacon and Oyama Sutematsu, and people who could be called comrades had already passed away. Umeko began complaining of physical disorders due to diabetes and high blood pressure from around 1917, and subsequently experienced a cerebral hemorrhage attack and was repeatedly hospitalized and discharged.
In 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake caused a disaster in which the school building in Gobancho was completely destroyed. However, Umeko, who heard the news on her sickbed, was not so upset. This is because he had the belief that "even if something that is visible is burned down, what is cultivated in living human beings is not burned down."
Later, in 1928, the construction of a new school building in Kodaira took shape, thanks to Anna Heartshon, another longtime comrade of Umeko, struggling to raise funds. Umeko quietly watched over the appearance of such a cram school from the bed. Many students visited her, and in her later years she seemed to live reading and knitting.
Shigeko Uryu, a close friend from the time of studying abroad, also passed away, and Umeko himself died on August 16, 1929.
Recommendation of reading
Umeko Tsuda, who traveled to a foreign country at the age of only 6 and returned to Japan at the age of 18, was enthusiastic about the mission of Japanese girls' education at a young age. You can feel Umeko's energetic personality throughout the whole story, and after reading it, you can feel like watching a magnificent taiga drama.
This book also includes an interview with a woman who was a student of Umeko when the Women's English School (predecessor of Tsuda College) was established, but you can read Umeko's cheerful personality and, in turn, her enthusiastic and strict attitude toward education. It's interesting. Of course, it can be recommended for both men and women, but I would especially like women to read it.