Karuizawa Union Church, Karuizawa, c. 1910.

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Karuizawa Union Church, Karuizawa, c. 1910.

Karuizawa Union Church, Karuizawa, c. 1910.

See also:
Karuizawa, c. 1920
“Play Ground in Karuizawa”, c. 1930.
Swimming at the Seven Slope Pond, Karuizawa, c. 1930.
Imperial Wedding, 1959.

“Though Karuizawa was the Road Station in Edo Period (1600-1867) when Shogun had had dominant power all over Japan, it was only a small village early in Meiji Period (1868-1912) because the land was so sterile.

“The cause to revive the land was the visitation of missionary Alexander C. Shaw in 1886. He found the landscape similar to his birthplace Scotland, abundant with nature and pure, beautiful air. Shaw built his summer house at Daizuka-yama area in the Old City. Then Shaw introduced this place as a beautiful resort to his friends’ missionaries and the Japanese intelligentsia. Soon, gradually, the summer houses for foreigners, businessmen, novelists, and artists increased; simultaneously some churches were built.

“The Karuizawa Union Church informally started her missions in 1897 by missionary Daniel Norman, whom local people affectionately called ‘the mayor of Karuizawa’. Many Protestant missionaries were the first to build summer cabins and hold Christian services in Karuizawa in the mid 1880s. The Union Church purchased a building originally owned by the Imperial Government Railway. It was remodeled and reborn as a church in 1906, and a church constitution was established also at that time.

“Some of the pioneer missionaries who served in the initial founding of KUC were famed architect Dr. William Merrell Vories, and Dr. & Mrs. A.R. Reischauer, the parents of Edwin Reischauer, former U.S. ambassador to Japan.”

Brief History of Karuizawa Union Church

“Tennis-cowrt [sic] and Church”, Karuizawa, c. 1910. Karuizawa Union Church is seen the background.

“The innocent and inexpensive recreations that missionaries introduced to Karuizawa were by and large similar to those popular in Kodaikanal and other hill stations in India. In Karuizawa, tennis seems to have become almost the symbol of the village/town; the public tennis courts that the Summer Residents’ Association maintained was the place for social exchange as described by Kate L. Hansen:

‘Have I told you about the courts? These four together in a hollow; and just above them on the hill is a sort of covered grandstand which is the special center of Karuizawa for everybody goes there to talk, drink tea and incidentally once in a while, take a look at the games.'”

Indian Ocean: The New Frontier, edited by Kousar J Azam, 2019

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