Category Archives: audio

The Hiroi Family during WWII

Originally from Tokyo, Hiroi’s family suffered great loss as a result of the air raids that destroyed the city and killed hundreds of thousands of people during World War II. Listen as he describes how his family fled Tokyo to start a new life in Tōhoku, his first impressions of American soldiers, and his feelings about the war.

This clip has been slightly edited from the original interview for clarity. A transcript of this clip can be found below. And a full transcript of our interview with Hiroi can be found here[forthcoming].


Paula Curtis:  If it’s alright, I’d like to talk a little bit about the war time, but, about that time, what kind of memories do you have?

Hiroi Michiaki:   What…

PC:         The war time.

Hiroi:   What time?

PC:         The war time. War.

HM:       Ahh when we were at war. The war time. Of course I didn’t do any of that. War. I was absolutely against it. Mm. But even so, everyone was killed. Not one of my classmates is alive. Everyone was killed in the air raids. And the people of my neighborhood, too, all of them, there’s no one left.

PC:   And your family, at that time…?

HM:         My younger brother and mother, even now their whereabouts are unknown, but I think they died. When a notice came, it was said you [could] confirm [a death], you know. But I can’t confirm theirs. In the air raids, everyone had burned to death, and it was impossible to tell what was what, whom was whom…. And since it was said that since their death couldn’t be actually confirmed, we couldn’t get a notice. It was said they were missing (lit. “whereabouts unknown”)… And even now their whereabouts are, well, unknown.


PC:         Where was your home at that time?

HM:       Mmm, properly speaking, in Tokyo, Kōtō ward, Ooshima. It was a place called Ooshima, but it was “Ooshima-machi 3-chōme, #400.” That was our permanent residence.

PC:         And what kind of life did you have?

HM:       The same. The same as now.

PC:         Which is to say…?

HM:       Mm. My father, well, he made many things.

PC:         Then, at that time [he made] Edo-style tops, um—

HM:       Yeah. During the war, things that “unnecessary”, so-called “luxuries,” were forbidden. And, hmm, we received this sheet, like a label. If you didn’t post that, you couldn’t sell [anything]. And they were allotted, how many [you received] per month. So you couldn’t [sell] anything more than that, and furthermore, as if that weren’t bad enough, we were required to make–what do you call them?– military supplies, for use during the war.


PC:         Ohh…  Did you or your family contribute in some way to the war?

HM:       Not really effort, but everyone, mm, at that time we couldn’t say anything. If we did, the military police would come and we’d be arrested, and if we did something bad it was terrible. And everyone, well, it was that way for all Japanese people. Everyone would say “We’ll win! We’ll win!” and be happy. But there were a number of people who said that there was no way that Japan could win, and they’d be arrested. So no one could say anything, and in their hearts absolutely hated war. And family, workers, everyone who felt that way withered away, and most died, and there was no compensation. In my home, too, even though everything–my parents and siblings, our property–was lost in the raids, there was no compensation. Not a single word of apology. I want the emperor to apologize, you know. And, at Yasukuni Shrine, you know, why does the Japanese Prime Minister visit it? It’s strange, but nothing can be done. I feel a great sense of discomfort about that. More than the people of Korea and China, I get angry [about that].

PC:         And just after the war, what were your neighbors’ impression towards America and Americans where you lived?

HM:       Mmm. At first… it was the first time I’d seen them, so. Hahaha. Americans… Umm… We didn’t know that Japan had lost the war. That is, our home  [in Tokyo] was burned down in the air raids, so we came here, deep into Shiroishi mountain, mmm there’s a place called Kamasaki hot springs, [famous for] Yajirō kokeshi, there’s a place called Kokeshi village, but, on the other side of that mountain, there was a small cabin, a small mountain cabin, and we lived there. It was a place without electricity or water. Umm… We were there not knowing at all that the war was lost. And when my father went to the town of Shiroishi, somehow the atmosphere of the town had changed, and when he asked, they said Japan had lost. And there, he said that we couldn’t pass the winter in that mountain cabin, and so we came down and moved to the town of Shiroishi, but that time was the first time I saw American soldiers, and man, their Jeeps…! They rode them in and I was like “Ooooh!” and was so surprised. Hahaha. “What is this?” I wondered.


PC:         The attitude [towards them], what kind of attitude was it? For example, towards the Americans driving the Jeep.

HM:       Ahh… rather than what kind [of attitude]… We were surprised. We were shocked. And when I thought, “These were the people we fought with?” I also thought, “We couldn’t have beaten them, could we?” [laughs] I wondered why we did something so senseless. Rather, I was angry at the top people [in Japan]. Even though they were the elite, even though they should have understood us, why did they do something so absurd, so unreasonable, and kill Japanese people? Well… my home had done that and become the sacrifice, and no one, not the government, not the people connected to that government, no one said  a word in apology; they didn’t compensate us for anything. Rather [than the Americans], I was mad at them.

PC:         And your impression was what?

HM:       To the Americans?

PC:         Yes.

HM:       Ahh, I thought they were incredible. Really, umm… these people who were until yesterday enemies, I [didn’t think] they would be such kind people. And I couldn’t understand why we had gone to war. And um, at that time, in Shiroishi, along the national highway, we had rented the home of a farming family, and there we had set up a lathe, and the American soldiers had pipes, those sailor pipes, and smoked tobacco. We were asked to do those repairs, and my father often fixed them.


PC:         And after the war, um, how did your life change?

HM:       It entirely changed, and it was a terrible time. As I said just now, you know, there was no compensation, and we were, should I say, without means; we had no money, and even though we came here it didn’t mean we knew anyone, and we didn’t know the dialect here either. And there were many [troubles], and there were a lot of issues with the local people and we hadn’t made friends with them, but now I get along with them and they’re very kind. And I was really helped by them. In any case, there were terrible hardships [at the time]. There was nothing to eat, nothing to wear, the winter was cold. Often I thought I was going to die. Heh heh…

Postcard photograph of a soldier with Japanese children published Kinouya postcard archive, retrieved from Kinouya Postcard Collection.




テーマを明確にするためオリジナルのインタビューを少し編集したクリップとなります。このクリップを文字に起こしたファイルはこのページの下にあります。廣井のインタビュー全文はこちらにあります [ 準備中  ]。



ポーラ・カーティス:     よろしければ、あのう少し戦時についてお話したいと思いますが、あのう、その時についてどのような思い出がありますでしょうか。

廣井道顕:      何・・・

ポーラ:              戦時の時。

廣井:    何の時?

ポーラ:    戦時の時。戦争。

廣井:    あぁ。戦争中。戦争の時ね。あんなことするもんじゃないやね。戦争はね。絶対反対だよね。うん。だって、みんな殺されたんだもん。同級生一人もいないんですよ。みんな死んじゃったの空襲で。で隣近所の人も全部、誰もいない。

ポーラ:              で、ご家族はその時・・・

廣井:    弟と母親が、未だに行方知れず。死んでると思うんですけど。あのう、届けに行ったら、確認したかったって言われたのね。確認できないんですよね。もう空襲でみんな焼けて、どれがどれだか、誰なんだか・・・。で確認はできないって言ったら死亡届けはダメだ、行方不明だって言われて・・・で今でも行方不明のまま。

ポーラ:              お住まいはどちらでしたか、その時。

廣井:    うんとね、正式に言うと、東京都、江東区、大島町。大島っていう所なんですけど、大島町三丁目、の四百十番地、これが本籍地です。

ポーラ:   で、どのような生活をされていましたか。

廣井:    同じ、今と同じ。

ポーラ:    と言えば・・・

廣井:   うん、親父がこう、まぁ、色々な物を作って。

ポーラ:   じゃ、その時は江戸独楽の、あのう―、

廣井:   うん。戦争中でしたから、そんなに余計は、あのう、贅沢だっていうことで、あのう売ることを禁じられてて。で、あの、なんかね、こういう、ラベルみたいなシートみたいなものをもらうんですよ。それを張ったんじゃないと、売れなかった。で割り当てられて、月に何枚って。だから、それ以上のものできない状態で、あとはあのう、軍需品っていうか、戦争で使う道具の一部分を作らされてた。

ポーラ:              へ・・・ 先生かご家族はなにか戦争に対して努力しましたか。

廣井:   努力どころかみんな、もう、そのころは何も言えなったしね。言うと、すぐにあの憲兵が来て捕まえに来られるし、悪い癖なんかやったら大変だったんだよ。でみんな、まぁ日本人全部そうだったんですけど。みんな「勝つんだ・勝つんだ」って言われて喜んで、いたんですけど。であのう一部の人は絶対日本なんか勝つは 勝てる訳がないなんていう人結構いて、そうするとみんな捕まっちゃうんですよね。だから皆何も言えなくて、心の中ではもう絶対戦争なんか嫌なのね。だって家族、働き手 みんなと、も、持ってかれちゃって、ほんで亡くなって、何の補償もないし。うち辺りも親兄弟、家財産、空襲でみんななくなっても、何の補償もない。一言の謝罪もない。天皇陛下に謝ってもらいたいのね。で、あの、靖国神社で、あのほら、日本の総理大臣がなぜお参りに行くか。ほんと不思議でしょうがない。すごい違和感を感じますね。あのう、韓国とか中国の人たちが怒る、以上に、腹が立つのね。


ポーラ:   で、あのう、戦後の直後、お住まいは、あ、お住まいの住民はアメリカやアメリカ人に対する感想がどの感じでしたか。アメリカとアメリカ人に対する。

廣井:   ううん。最初ね初めて見たから。へへへ。アメリカの人ってね。であのう、日本が戦争負けたこと知らなかったんですよ。というのは、あのう、空襲で焼け出されてからこっち来て、あのう白石の山の奥、うーんと鎌先温泉ていう所がある、弥治郎こけしっていう、こけし村っての今ありますけど、その陰の山の中に、あのー、小屋があって、小さな山小屋があって、そこに、住んでて、電気も水道何も何もないとこだったんですけど。あのう・・・戦争に負けたっつうことを全然知らないでいて。うんで親父が白石の町に行ったらなんだか、町の様子が変だっていうことで、で聞いてみたら日本負けたんだって。であのう、そこで、山小屋では冬は越せないからって言うんで、下に降りて白石の町の中へ移ったんですけど、その時はじめてアメリカの兵隊さんを見て、あの、ジープ、ねぇ!乗ってきて「オホ―」とビックリして。へへへ。何だこれはと思って。

ポーラ:   態度が、あのう、どのような態度でしたか。その、あの例えばジープを運転しているアメリカ人に対して。

廣井:   いやぁ・・・どんなっていうよりね。びっくりして。たた、たまげてたね。で、この人たちと戦ってたんだぁと思うと、勝ってるわけないのになぁと思ったもんね。(笑)なんであんなめちゃくちゃなことやったのかなと思って。むしろ、当時の、偉い人たちの方に、腹が立ったもんね。偉い人なのに分かりそうもんなのに、なんでこんなむちゃくちゃな、訳の分かんないことして、日本人殺して。まぁ、うちだって、そうやって犠牲になったって、誰も、その、政府、の関係者の人、一言の謝罪もないし、何の補償もないし。むしろそっちの方に、腹が立ったのね。

ポーラ:   先生の感想は何でしたか。

廣井:   アメリカの人に?

ポーラ:   はい。

廣井:   いやあ、素晴らしいと思ったね。いや本っ当にあのう・・・きのうまで敵だった人が、あんなに優しい人たちだとは。それでなんで戦争しちゃったのか、理解できなかったし。それであのう、あの時は白石の、国道沿いの、農家の家 借りてて、そこでやっぱりろくろを回してたんですけど、アメリカの兵隊さんが、あのうパイプ、あのマドロスパイプって、あの、タバコを吸う。それを修理を、あのう頼まれて、よく親父直してたけどね。


ポーラ:   で、あのう戦後になって、あのう先生の生活がどのように変化されましたか。

廣井:   もうガラリと変わって、えらい目にあったね。今言ったように、ほら、なんの補償もないんで、裸一貫っていうか金も何もないし、こっち来たって知り合いがいる訳じゃないし、で言葉もこっちの方言が全然、分からなくて。で色々あって、地元の人たちとなかなか、こうなんつうの、仲良くなれなくて、でもいざ仲良くなったら地元の人たちはすごく親切でねぇ。それで助かったんですけども。とにかく、えらい苦労したっていうか。食べるものもないし、着るものもないし、冬は寒いし。よく死ななかったなぁと思ったね。ふふふふ・・・。

Postcard photograph of a soldier with Japanese children published Kinouya postcard archive, retrieved from Kinouya Postcard Collection.


The Early History of the Hiroi Family

On May 19th, 2014, we sat down with Hiroi Michiaki in Akiu, Miyagi prefecture, Japan, to begin our oral history interview. We began with Hiroi’s early life as a child in Tokyo. In this audio clip Hiroi describes his childhood days, family members, and the historical origins of the Hiroi family.

This clip has been slightly edited from the original interview for clarity. A transcript of this clip can be found below. And a full transcript of our interview with Hiroi can be found here [forthcoming].


Paula Curtis: Sensei, when and where were you born? Where are you from?

Hiroi Michiaki:  Tokyo.

PC:     Which part of Tokyo?

HM:    Ah. In Tokyo, um, today it’s a place called Kōtō.

PC:     Could you talk a little bit about your life as a child and your family?

HM:    Mm when I was a child. It was fun, when I was a child. Ha ha ha.

PC:     Why is that?

HM:     It was that I had a lot of friends, and there were a lot of places to play in my neighborhood. Because it was Tokyo’s shitamachi. *

[Tokyo’s shitamachi was known in the Edo period (1600-1868) as an area in which commoners lived, full of business districts, known for a kind of “downtown” atmosphere, and which was in popular imagination the originating place of “true” Edo culture.]


PC:      Could you explain a bit about your family’s history?

HM:   Ah, family. The Hiroi family?

PC:     Yes.

HM:    The family of the Hiroi… Family… Well, if it’s family, I have parents and siblings, but… [do you mean] the history of the Hiroi?

PC:     Yes.

HM:     Or…

PC:      Well, is okay [to talk about] both?

HM:     Well, my family was my father, my mother, and also I had two brothers and a younger sister. My mother and my sister,* in the war, they went missing in air raids. Even today their whereabouts are unknown. Right now my younger brother is in Yokohama, and my sister went to Osaka to get married, but she died, died of illness. Now, my younger brother is running around the world… In America… he’s an honorary citizen of Seattle, and it seems he has his own corners in museums in France and Germany. And also in Finland… it seems my younger brother has made it in museums and art museums. But I haven’t gone so I don’t know.

[* Here Hiroi mistakenly says ‘sister,’ and later corrects himself to say “younger brother” in another part of the interview.]


PC:      And the Hiroi family [line]?

HM:    The Hiroi family, it was something. Edo… err… it was the Sengoku period. Tokugawa Ieyasu’s Battle of Sekigahara… Tokugawa Ieyasu won, and when he moved to Edo, on the way from Sekigahara returning to Edo, the descendants of the Hiroi family… Mmm. I’ve forgotten where the place was, but in the old days there was a family called “Watanabe,” and they lived in a village called “Hiroi,” and there they were doctors. And Tokugawa Ieyasu won and returned to his castle, or I should say he was returning to Edo and on the way [Hiroi] made his acquaintance. I don’t know why he made his acquaintance, but [the Hiroi descendant] was invited to come with him to Edo, and it’s said that because he was from that Hiroi village he was called Hiroi and not Watanabe. And he was employed by Tokugawa Ieyasu’s grandson… was it Iemitsu? And for generations he was, what should I call him, the private doctor of the bakufu, in the private residence, he held the highest rank of a doctor. That’s the story. There’s a book published, but, shall I show you the book?

PC:     Ahh, that’s right. Is it alright to look at it later?

HM:   Yeah.

PC:     Okay. Thank you very much.

HM:    Umm records… there’s a book of them. It’s the Kan’ei or Kansei period… a reference book. In there [the history] of my family is written. Yeah.


PC:     Well then, about your family now—are you married? Do you have children?

HM:    I’m married, but for some reason we couldn’t have children. Mm.

PC:     And your time as a child. What school did you go to? Could you [talk a bit] about your academic background…

HM:      School, hm… We were dragged into the war, so I didn’t go properly.

PC:     Where was it?

HM:     Umm. The last [school I went to was] Ooshima daini elementary school, wasn’t it. Before that… in Yonezawa there were mass evacuations and school evacuations, so I was in Yonezawa for half a year. I think it was half a year. And I returned to Tokyo and at that time when I returned immediately there were air raids, and families were scattered, and people across the country and walked about from place to place, and I couldn’t go to school properly. Mm.

PC:     Well, when you were in school, did you have a course or subject you were particularly interested in?

HM:    Ahh, I hated studying. Ha ha ha. I only liked gym.

PC:      Well, work, about work, before you became an Edo-style top artisan, what kind of work had you done?

HM:    Ahh… come to think of it, I did a lot of different kinds, but not for long. What did I do? I did many things. That is, rather than “doing” them, it’s better to say I helped. I worked but I didn’t receive any money.

PC:     Was there, umm, a work that you particularly liked to do? You did a lot, but was there one you really liked?

HM:    Ahh, in the end the work my family was doing was the best. I didn’t really have another that I liked. Mm.

Photograph of Monzen-nakacho, in 1935 from the”Archives for the Tokyo downtown area 100 years” published by Life Information Center and is under public domain license, retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.



2014年5月19日 日本の宮城県秋保にある廣井道顕氏の自宅にて、口述歴史インタビューを行った。まず廣井氏が東京で過ごした幼少期について聞き取りを始めた。この音声クリップでは廣井氏が自身の子どもの頃の話、家族のこと、そして廣井家の家系的歴史について述べている。

テーマを明確にするためオリジナルのインタビューを少し編集したクリップとなります。このクリップを文字に起こしたファイルはこのページの下にあります。廣井のインタビュー全文はこちらにあります [ 準備中  ]。


ポーラ・カーティス:         先生はいつ、どちらで生まれましたか。ご出身はどちらですか。

廣井道顕:      東京。

ポーラ:          東京の・・・

廣井:  うん、東京のね。えと今、江東区っていう所ね。

ポーラ:          あのう、子供の時の生活とご家族について少し、あのう、お話してくださいませんか。

廣井:  子供の頃ねぇ。楽しかったね、子供の頃。へへへ。

ポーラ:          なぜでしたか。

廣井:  やっぱ友達もいっぱいいたし、近所に遊ぶ所もいっぱいあったしね。東京の下町だから。あー、近所の人もみんな、なん、なんって言ったらのかな、親しいっていうか・・・可愛がってもらったって言ったほうがいいのかな。


ポーラ:          ご家族の歴史について少し説明してくださいませんか。

廣井:  あぁ、家族。うちの廣井家の?

ポーラ:          えぇ。

廣井:  廣井家の家族・・・家族・・・。ま、家族だったら、両親と兄弟なんですけど、廣井家についての歴史、ですか。

ポーラ:          はい。

廣井:  それとも・・・

ポーラ:          ま、どちらもよろしいですか。

廣井:  まぁ、家族は、父親と母親と、あと弟が二人と妹*が一人いたんですけど。母親と妹一人が、戦争で、空襲で、行方不明。今でも行方知れずなんですけども。今現在は弟が横浜に、妹が大阪に嫁に行ったんですけど、これが亡くなって。病気で亡くなったんですけど、弟の方はもう、今世界中駆けずり回って、アメリカ・・・シアトルの名誉市民になっているし、あと、フランス、ドイツの博物館に自分のコーナーもあるみたいだし。あとフィンランドだかで、弟のやっぱ博物館だか美術館ができているんだそうですけど。ただ行ったことがないから分からないけどね。

* [ ここでは誤って『妹』と言っているが、インタビューの別の部分で『弟』であった、と訂正している。]


ポーラ:          そして廣井家は?

廣井:  廣井家はね、大変なんですよ。江戸・・・えーとね、戦国時代だ。徳川家康の関ヶ原って、あのう徳川家康が勝って江戸に移った時に、途中関ヶ原から江戸へ戻る途中で、あのう、廣井家の先祖が、うーんと、あそこはどこだか場所ちょっと忘れてるんですけど、昔はあのう渡邊っていう姓だったんだそうですけど、廣井村っていう所に住んで、そこで医者をやてたんです。で、徳川家康が勝って江戸に入城というか、こう勝って江戸に戻る時  途中で知り合って、どういうわけで知り合ったかは分からないけれども、で江戸に一緒に来ないかって誘われて、それであの、廣井村だから渡邊じゃなくて廣井って名乗れって言われて。で、徳川家康の孫の・・・家光かな、に仕えて代々あの幕府の奥医者って言うか、奥医法眼って、最高の医者の位を持ってた。っていう話で、それはあの本にも載っているんですけど、その本見せますか。

ポーラ:          あぁそうです。後で見てもよろしいですか。

廣井:  うん。

ポーラ:          はい。本当にありがとうございます。

廣井:  あのう記録・・・の本があるんですよ。寛永だか寛政・・・何とか図鑑っつうんだな。それにうちのこと載ってるんですけど。ええ。


ポーラ:          では、今の、あのう、ご家族なんですが、ご結婚されていますか。お子さんはいらっしゃいますか。

廣井: 結婚はしたんだけど、なぜか子供ができなくて、ええ。

ポーラ:      で、あのう、子供の時なんですが、どちらの学校を卒業しましたか。学歴について少し―、

廣井:              学校ねぇ。あのう戦争に巻き込まれちゃったから、ろくに行っていないんだよね。

ポーラ:          どこでしたか。

廣井:  うんとね。大島第二小学校っていうのが最後だったな。その前あのう、米沢に集団疎開って学童疎開ってのでやった米沢に半年ぐらい、半年くらいいたかな。また東京に帰ってきてから今度、戻るとすぐに空襲で、で家族散り散りになっちゃって、全国あちこち転々と歩いたらから、ろくに学校は行ってなかったですね。ええ。


ポーラ:          ま、学校の時は、特に何か教科や科目に興味がありましたか。

廣井:  あぁ、勉強きらいでね。へへへ。体育だけが大好きだったの。

ポーラ:          あのう、仕事、お仕事なんですが、江戸独楽の職人になる前、どのような仕事をすることがありましたか。

廣井:  あぁ・・・。そう言えば、色々なことをやりましたけど、長続きはしなかったですね。何やった?色々なことやったの。やったというか、手伝ったって言ったほうがいいのかな。働きに行ってお金をもらったことはなかったですね。

ポーラ:          ま、特に好きな、あのう仕事はありましたか。その色々しましたが、特に好きなのはありましたか。

廣井:  いやぁ、結局うちの今やっている仕事が一番よくて。他はあんまり好きなのはなかったですね。えぇ。

Photograph of Monzen-nakacho, in 1935 from the”Archives for the Tokyo downtown area 100 years” published by Life Information Center and is under public domain license, retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.


Jan Becomes a Missionary

Dissatisfied with her work in America, Janell decides to try a short term of service as a missionary in Japan. Listen as she describes her decision, her travels, and her experiences upon her arrival in Sendai, Japan.

This clip has been slightly edited from the original interview for clarity and theme. A transcript of this clip can be found below. And a full transcript of our interview with Janell can be found here [forthcoming].


Malina Suity [18:24]: How and why did you decide to go to Japan?

Janell Landis: I attended a meeting in Toledo, Ohio and I met the man who was our director of work in Japan–in the Orient actually, China too, at the time. He gave a very passionate presentation and I was deeply moved and thought well, they had a short-term program where you could be there for three years, in Japan, as a teacher. So, I volunteered and appeared before the board committee and they accepted me. So in March of 1953, I was on my way to Japan by ship from San Francisco to Yokohama. It was neat.


It was a 14 day trip on the ship. But when I got there I was able to start the school in April. Japan[‘s school year] is April through ‘til March. And I went right into the job teaching English as a second language to junior high kids, senior high kids, and college girls. And um, I didn’t have a good textbook, I didn’t have a good experience but, I had a love and a lot of love around me so that in six months I decided I’d like to be career. And the mission board permitted me to do that. And in the next year of ‘54 to ‘56 I was down in Tokyo learning the language in a school for people–for Americans and foreigners–learning Japanese.

Pat Landis, Ruth Alice Steele, and Janell circa 1950.

Malina:[20:25] Did your family have a strong reaction to your decision to go to Japan?

Janell: My mother was always in favor. It was only after all of those years there, and uh, my father was recovering from illness and I was recovering from, uh, illness. But, I was going to go back to Japan–oh, I think I had some kind of injury and anyway–he was sitting at the table with me and he said ‘I appreciate so much what you are doing,’ and so on. But, I never felt that in the beginning of my career in Japan. My father always was telling me when I’d come home for furlough, “Well, you can work here,” you know. But Mother never did. She always kept with letters and kept me in touch with things at home. So, I never felt any regret and uh, any open hesitation to be accepted.  My father, I think, had trouble with it, but he liked his family around him.

Malina: [21:50] Was it already decided where in Japan you would go? Or, why was Sendai chosen?

Janell:  Well, that was a historical thing. At that time in Japan, before the war, it was typical for a Presbyterian to go to a Presbyterian area. And uh, it was interesting the history of Protestantism in Japan reflected in the fact that the churches were pretty wise. Sendai was a center where the reformed people–the German Reform people–did missionary work. And so when I went there they still were allowing you to go to something that was historically related to what you were back home in America. And I was part of the German Reform Church back there. And so, I went to a school that in 1850 was founded by the reform church missionaries.

A man from Harrisburg went out there into Sendai, started a boys school with a Japanese Christian and then they found out that just in producing pastors they needed wives for them so they started a girls school in the fall. And he got two young women from Harrisburg area. So that I went there to that school because of my E&R* connection. But, I was in an interim…in the years when Japan um, sending missionaries–you didn’t send them to the school that was connected to your history–your church back home. So, later there were Methodists and other people coming and teaching at the school, but I was fortunate to get into Miyagi just when they were allowing us who were historically connected to that founding.

*Evangelical and Reformed Church

[21:19] But, um, it was a wonderful place and Sendai was a of city about three hundred thousand. But, it was a city that when I’d go downtown, I could meet people that I knew. And then, a lot of the stores there, they sent their daughters to Miyagi to be educated. So I’d walk into a store and they, [high pitched] “Oooooh, that’s, ah, Musame’s teacher!” And then, Musame’s teacher sometimes got discounts too [laughs].  But it was a wonderful place and now it’s a city of a million. And I went back there in 2006 and I’m glad I’m not there now.


Malina [25:10]: How old were you when you arrived?

Janell: In Japan? I was twenty-seven. And I remember having my twenty-eighth birthday on the 28th of August in a Buddhist cemetery having a picnic [laughs]. When you’re born on the first day you can’t ever celebrate [laughs] one year on the first of something, but I had this 28th day of August in Japan.

Photograph of San Francisco, California via Wikimedia Commons. Photograph of Janell and friends circa 1950 and young Janell in traditional Japanese clothing via Janell Landis.


アメリカでの仕事に満足できず、ジャネルは日本で短期間  宣教師として活動することを決めた。宣教師になることを決断したときの話、日本への渡航の話、そして日本の仙台に降り立ってからのジャネルの体験に耳を傾けてほしい。

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マリナ: どうして日本に行こうと決めたのですか。

ジャネル: オハイオ州 トレドで集会に参加したら日本での活動の責任者がいたの―、実際には東洋圏全体のだったかしら、当時は中国もだったから。彼はとても熱心なプレゼンテーションをしてくれて私は本当に心動かされた、それで考えたの、短期で3年間、日本に先生として滞在できるプログラムがあったなって。だから、自分から志願して役員会へ申し出たら私を承認してくれたのよ。そして1953年の3月、私はサンフランシスコから横浜へ行く船で日本に向かっていたの。楽しい旅だったわ。



Pat Landis, Ruth Alice Steele, and Janell circa 1950.

マリナ: 日本に行くことについてご家族から強い反対はありましたか。

ジャネル: 母はいつでも私を応援してくれた。しばらく日本で生活した後、それで、そうね、父は病気を患って回復していたところで、私も回復していたところだったの、病気から。でも、日本に戻ろうと思った。あぁ、私は病気じゃなく怪我か何かしたんだったわ、とにかく父は私とテーブルに着いているときに言ったの『お前は素晴らしいことをしているよ』とか色々。でも、日本で仕事を始めた頃にはそんな風に思ってくれてるとは思わなかった。私が休暇で帰国すると父はいつも『でも、こっちでも働けるだろう』って言っていたのよ。でも母は一度もそういうことは言わなかった。母はいつも手紙で絶えず故郷とのつながりを作ってくれたし。だから、一度も後悔しなかったわね、それに、率直な意見は受け入れるわ。父は気に入らなかったみたい、家族と一緒にいたいと思う人だったから。

マリナ: 日本のどこに派遣されるのかはすでに決められていたんですか?なぜ仙台が選ばれたんでしょうか。

ジャネル: そうね、歴史的な理由があったの。当時の日本は、戦争の前ね、長老派教会の人が長老派教会の地域に行くのが典型だったわ。それと、日本のプロテスタント主義の歴史は教会がかなり賢かったという事実を示していることが興味深いわね。仙台は改革派の人たち、つまりドイツ改革派の人たちの、布教活動の中心地だった。私が仙台に行ったときには、故郷のアメリカで以前自分と繋がりのあった場所に行くことをまだ認めていたの。アメリカで私はドイツ改革派教会の出だったから。それで私は改革派教会の宣教師たちが1850年に創設した学校へ行くことになったのよ。


※E&R: Evangelical and Reformed Church


マリナ: 着いたときにはおいくつでしたか。

ジャネル: 日本に?私は27歳だったわ。8月28日に28歳の誕生日をお寺の墓地でピクニックしてお祝いしたのを覚えているわ。あははは。。 1日に生まれていたらできないお祝いよ、あはは、1日だったら1歳でやらないとだもの、でもこの28歳の8月28日を日本で迎えたのよ。

Photograph of San Francisco, California via Wikimedia Commons. Photograph of Janell and friends circa 1950 and young Janell in traditional Japanese clothing via Janell Landis.

Janell at School

Janell had a rich education at two Midwestern institutions before she headed to Japan. Listen to her describe her time at Heidelberg College (now Heidelberg University) and Eden Theological Seminary near St. Louis, along with why she decided to study religious education.

This clip has been slightly edited from the original interview for clarity and theme. A transcript of this clip can be found below. And a full transcript of our interview with Janell can be found here [forthcoming].


Malina Suity [4:34]: Where did you go to college?

Janell Landis: I went to college in Tiffin, Ohio: Heidelberg College and now it’s Heidelberg University.  In 1948 I graduated from…no high school I was ‘44 and ‘48 for college. That’s right. And I then went on to seminary in Webster Groves Missouri. Eden Theological Seminary and I had two years there.

Malina [5:19]: What made you decide to go to seminary?

Janell as a teenager.
Janell as a teenager.

Janell: Uh, as a young person I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I liked to imitate, I liked to act, I liked to sing, and I didn’t know what I was going to become. But my pastor directed me in the field of christian education so at Heidelberg I majored in Christian-ed and I had a minor in Sociology and Psychology. But then as I graduated he recommended going to seminary for the two more years and getting the training, feeling that I’d be more satisfied with my work if I was better trained. So, um, Lancaster Seminary was closer to where I lived, but it didn’t have the program as long as Eden did. Eden had a history of having the program for Christian-ed majors and Lancaster Seminary just started so I went to Eden which was a long bus ride to the suburbs of Saint Louis. And uh, and I was there for two years and I came back to Tiffin where I worked in a church for two years, finding out that I wasn’t an administrator. I liked to do things myself (laughs) and had a difficult time asking people to, “Would you take this class and teach it, you know, for how many weeks?” But anyway, so I went to seminary because my pastor guided me, carefully, and I’m so glad that he did.

Malina [12:27]: And one more thing that I was interested in. When you attended seminary, were there a lot of other women at seminary with you?

Janell: Yes. There were two of them who were actually in the course that took three years for preparation to be a pastor. But I was in a two-year course directly for women or men going into ministry as Christian ed-leaders, you know associates in the Church. But, I didn’t have any ordination, I wasn’t…but there were two or three. There was one woman from China with us. And um, she was in the Christian education course and another woman who was the mother of one of my classmates, she was in that course too. So, it was an interesting experience because we took the same classes as the men and women pastors or preachers. But we had some of our special classes connected to the Christian education.

Photograph of Founder’s Hall at Heidelberg University via Wikimedia Commons. Photograph of young Janell via Janell Landis.



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マリナ・スーティ: どちらの大学へ進学しましたか?

ジャネル・ランディス: オハイオ州ティフィンにある大学、ハイデルバーグ・カレッジに通っていたわ、今のハイデルバーグ大学ね。1948年に卒業して… いえ、高校にいたのが1944年までだったから大学卒業が1948年ね。そうだわ。それから、ミズーリ州ウェブスター・グローブスにある神学校に行ったの。イーデン神学校に2年いたわ。

マリナ: なぜ神学校へ行こうと決めたんですか?


ジャネル: 若い頃には自分が何をしたいのか判らなくてね。物まねするのも、演技をするのも、歌うのも好きだった、それでも自分がこれからどうなるのか判らなかった。でも牧師様がキリスト教教育の道へ導いてくださったからハイデルバーグではキリスト教教育を専攻にして、副専攻で社会学と心理学を取ることにしたの。でも私が卒業するとき牧師様にもう2年神学校に通って訓練を受けるように勧められたの、より訓練を積めば私が自分の仕事に満足できるようになるだろうと思ってのことでね。私の家からはランカスター神学校の方が近かったけれど、イーデンのようなプログラムがそこにはなかったの。イーデンはキリスト教教育を専攻としてる人向けのプログラムに歴史があったけれどランカスター神学校はプログラムを始めたばかりだったから、セント・ルイス郊外まで長いバス通学をしてイーデンまで通ったわ。それで、イーデンに2年通って、ティフィンに戻って教会で2年仕事をしたけれど、自分に運営管理は向いていないと判ったの。自分自身で直接何かする方が好きだったのね。あはは。ほかの人に「この授業を担当していただけますか、これくらいの期間なんですが」とか訊くのになかなか苦労してね。とにかく、牧師様の丁寧な指導のおかげで私は神学校へ行ったの、牧師様がそうしてくださって本当に良かった。

マリナ: もう一つ伺いたいと思っていたことがあるんです。神学校に通っていたとき、あなた以外に女学生はたくさんいましたか?

ジャネル: えぇ。牧師になるための3年制の課程を取っていた女性が二人いたわね。私がいた2年制課程は男女ともにキリスト教教育の責任者としてキリスト教教育機関に就くことを目的としたものだった、ほら、教会役員としてね。 でも、聖職位は授与されなかった、私はされなかったけど…二~三人授与されてたわね。一人中国出身の女性がいたわ。それで、その中国人女性はキリスト教教育課程在籍で、もう一人私の同級生のお母さんが在籍していて、そのお母さんも同じ課程にいたわ。男女とも牧師や説教師になる人たちが同じ授業を一緒に取っていたから面白い経験だったと思うわ。でも私たちにはキリスト教教育に関連した特別授業もあったの。

Photograph of Founder’s Hall at Heidelberg University via Wikimedia Commons. Photograph of young Janell via Janell Landis.




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マリナ・スーティ [1:05]:ご家族について少し伺えますか。

ジャネル:そうね、あの頃 父と母には娘が一人、私の姉のロアがいた。私は二人目の子どもでね。すごく素敵な二世帯住宅に住んでいたの。私が生涯に家族と住んだ家の中で一番いい家だった。私が3歳か4歳か5歳くらいになるまでそこに住んでいたと思うけど、そうだわ、あれは幼稚園に入る前だったもの。家に帰って勝手口に行ったら差し押さえの貼り紙がしてあったのよ、私たち家族は家を失った。それから別の家に引っ越した、そこにはまだ室内にお手洗いが付いていたわね、2、3年くらいそこに住んだわ。1か月10ドルの家賃で住めるアパートを食料雑貨店の裏手に見つけたこともあったっけ、あははは。 もちろん父は当時政府の元で働いていた。しばらくの間はWPA(Works Project Administration)※に勤めていたわ。


そして、そうね、幼少時代は本当に良かった。7年後に母が女の子を授かって、その一年後にはもう一人、男の子が生まれたの。4人姉弟になったわ。でも私と姉 二人だけの姉妹だったときは世界大恐慌の中でも一番不景気の頃だった。それから景気が少し上向いてきたから、家族を増やしたのね。


ジャネル:ええ。そう。私はドイツ改革派 の出なの、そこはグッド・シェパード教会だったわ。ボイヤータウンにはルター派と改革派の二つの大きな教会があった。子どもの頃、小学校3学年の担任の先生がライト・ブリゲード※に連れて行ってくれたの、月一でね…そしたら誰が先生のカバンを持つかで子ども同士もめて言い合いになってね、ほら、その集会へ向かうときのカバン持ちよ。ルーテル教会の牧師の息子さんとケンカしたのを覚えているわ、たしか私が勝ったと思う。私がカバンを持ったもの。

※light brigade – 教会が開いた子ども達向けの集まり


ジャネル:WPAは、あの頃、町で路面電車の線路を取り外していたわ。ボイヤータウンを通って、どこか南の方へ行く路面電車があったの、どこまで遠くに行ったのか私も定かじゃないわね、おそらくはポッツタウンの近くまでじゃないかと思うのだけど、でも とにかくWPAは路面電車の線路を外していた。私が覚えているWPAの仕事はそれね。そのこと以外で父が何をしていたかは知らないの。

Janell001マリナ[3:32]: お母様はお仕事を?

ジャネル:  えぇ、していたわ。母は13、14人兄妹の一人だったの。だから私には いとこが山ほどいてね。当時は私が親戚の子どもの中で最年少だった。いとこたち、おばたち、おじたちがいた。楽しかったわ。 それに父にも男兄弟2人と女兄弟が一人いて、違ったわ、女3人男3人の兄弟だったわね。でも父の両親や親戚もいて。父は母の体調が思わしくなくて私たち子どもの面倒を見られないと思ったから、父方のおば がこの小さな町に来て私たちの面倒を見ることにしたの。私たちの絆は強くなった、本当にたくさんのいとこ、おば、おじに恵まれて、愛情に飢えることなんてなかったわ。

Photograph of Boyertown, PA by Skabat169 published under GNU Free Documentation License via Wikimedia Commons. Photograph of Janell as a toddler via Janell Landis.


Janell in Boyertown

On October 13th, 2013, we sat down with Janell at her home in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee to begin our oral history interview. We started with Janell’s early life, growing up in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. In this audio clip you’ll hear Janell describing her family, her parents occupation, hard times they went through, and an early memory of her church.

This clip has been slightly edited from the original interview for clarity and theme. A transcript of this clip can be found below. And a full transcript of our interview with Janell can be found here [forthcoming].


Janell Landis:  I was born in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. Actually a little village next to Boyertown, but I don’t remember (laughs). But uh, I grew up in Boyertown. It’s about forty miles north of Philly. Had my high school, all of my education up through high school in Boyertown. Anything else?

Malina Suity [1:05]: Tell us a little bit about your family.

Janell: Well, at that time my father, mother had one daughter, my sister Loah. And I was the second child. They were living in a very nice double home. It was the nicest home we had in all my life. And I remember coming home–I guess we lived there until I was maybe three or four or five, yeah cause, before kindergarten. I remember coming home and we went in the back door and there was a foreclosure sign that we lost the house. Then we moved to another place which still had indoor plumbing and we lived there about two years or so. I think we found a place in an apartment behind a grocery store and it was ten dollars a month rent (laughs). And of course my father was employed by the government.  Worked on the WPA for some time.

And um, I had a very good childhood. Seven years later my mother had a baby girl and then a year after that another child, a boy. There were four of us. But it was in the height of the Depression when my older sister and I were the only children. Then when there was a little upturn, we had a larger family.

Malina [10:38]: And did you attend church?

Janell: Yes. Yes. I came out of the German Reform Church and that was the Good Shepherd Church. We had two big churches in Boyertown, the Lutheran Church and the Reform Church. And as a child, my third grade teacher would take me to a [light brigade], that meant monthly… and we’d quarrel with each other to ‘fess who was going to carry the teachers satchel, you know, to the meeting. I remember fighting with a Lutheran Church pastor’s son, and I think I won. I could carry the bag.

Malina [3:02]: What did your father do for the WPA?

Janell: They were, at that time, the town was removing the trolley tracks.  We had a trolley going through Boyertown and all the way down to uh, I don’t know how far it went, I think probably to the nearby Pottstown, but anyway they took out the trolley tracks. And that was the work that I remember them doing. Otherwise I don’t remember what he was doing.

Malina [3:32]: Did your mother work?Janell001

Janell: No. She did… she was one of about thirteen or fourteen children. So I had a whole lot of cousins. I was the youngest cousin at that time. I had cousins and aunts and uncles. It was neat. And my father had a couple brothers and one sister, no three sisters and three brothers. But his parents and relatives too, he thought my mother wasn’t well and couldn’t take care of us one of my father’s aunts would come and look at after us in this small town. So we were a close knit group and I really was so blessed with many cousins and aunts and uncles, so I never starved for affection.

Photograph of Boyertown, PA by Skabat169 published under GNU Free Documentation License via Wikimedia Commons. Photograph of Janell as a toddler via Janell Landis.

Next time– “Janell at School”