St. Hilda’s Chapel, Tokyo, c. 1912.

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Sister's Hilda Chapel School, c. 1920.

“S. Hilda’s Chapel” [Koran Jo Gakko], c. 1912, with students and teachers in front, after relocating the chapel and school to the Nagasaka-machi neighborhood of Azabu, Tokyo, following a devastating fire at its first location near Shiba Park.

“St. Hilda’s, which was only a few hundred yards from St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, was described by Canon Tristam in 1894 as being ‘picturesquely situated on the side of a beautifully wooded little ravine’, the home of an English sisterhood which has been established by Bishop Bickersteth, and much work is going on. Especially as there are many classes for girls, all of good social position. Though by far the greater number of them are non-Christians, yet all have religious training, and under it some have become Christian.

“… The Koran Jo Gakko [St. Hilda’s] opened [in 1888] with seven students … Even if social custom necessitated a Japanese male to be in charge, it was the ladies of St. Hilda’s who ran the school.

“According to Alfreda Arnold, the Koran Jo Gakko was the first school in Tokyo to play field hockey, which remains today a popular university female sport. There was also the Swedish drill [a system of Swedish therapeutic gymnastics invented at the turn of the 19th century] … Given the stress on exercise and health, it comes as no surprise that the first Girl Guide pack in Japan was established at Koran Jo Gakko by Mariel Greenstreet in 1920. The introduction of field hockey as a schoolgirls’ sport and the formation of the Girl Guides are important, because, from their mission school beginnings, they have come to have an abiding influence on the broader secular Japanese society.

“In 1910 the school suffered a devastating fire which destroyed its buildings, and a new school was built in a new location in [Azabu] Shiba, Tokyo. Katherine Tanner, one of the teachers, reported in 1912 that ‘The site is splendid, and commands quite a view over the outlying parts of Azabu, to the north of us. It is quite rustic on the south and west beyond us.'”

The Cross and the Rising Sun: The British Protestant missionary movement in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, 1865-1945, by A. Hamish Ion, 1993

Sister Hilda's School (back), c. 1920.

[From the postcard above:] “Best wishes for a happy Christmas & New Year to you & Mr. Maddock. I have never forgotten your great kindness to me on my last day in England. I reached Japan on Aug. 19 & have been so busy that I have found no time for letters or I’d have written before. I hope your work in Liverpool will greatly prosper. This is a photo of our Chapel. It holds about 120 & all who live on the compound come to Japanese services every morning & evening.”

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