Tag Archives: janell

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。

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。ジャネルのインタビュー全文はこちらにあります [ 準備中  ]。


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.




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。ジャネルのインタビュー全文はこちらにあります [ 準備中  ]。



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”