“Meiji Gakuin University is a private, Christian university founded by Presbyterians and members of the Dutch Reform church. It moved to its present location and took the name Meiji Gakuin in 1886.
“The former Theological School was first built in 1890, based on plans [by William Merrell Vories] sent from the United States. It accommodated not only classrooms and a library but the residence of the president of Meiji Gakuin, James Curtis Hepburn, the disseminator of the Hepburn system of Japanese romanization.
“The building sustained damage in an earthquake in 1894. The second floor was then built in a half-timber style, atop the brick structure of the first floor. Toson Shimazaki (1872-1943), the poet and novelist (The Broken Commandment [Hakai], 1906; Before the Dawn [Yoakemae], 1929-1935), was among the first students to pass through this hall.
“… [The architect] Vories, born in Leavensworth Kansas, was educated at the University of Colorado in the United States. He first came to Japan in 1905. He is probably best known in Japan for founding a missionary enterprise that produces an ointment called ‘Mentholatum‘.
“Although Vories had no formal architectural education, he had an active architectural practice as well. Other works by him include the Doremus School and Hilltop Hotel. Vories eventually became a Japanese citizen and took on his wife’s family name, Hitotsuyanagai.
“This brick-construction chapel with an impressive truss ceiling is an early work by him. The transept was a later addition.”
– “The Architecture of Tokyo, by Hiroshi Watanabe, 2001