Anna Margaret Schneder.

O Mura San, with a glimpse of the country in which she lived online

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\ HOUSES OF FELLOWSHIP




THE GEORGE W.DOANE
MEMORIAL LIB RARY^



SCCIETY fOB FOREIGN MiSSiU;! W-Lfnilt
HOUSES OF FELLOWSHIP

6 SOUTH POnTLWlD AVE.,

viir;Tt;OR, H. J.



O MURA SAN




MIYAMOTO O MURA SAN



MAR 18 ^993



O MURA SAN

WITH A GLIMPSE OF
THE COUNTRY IN
WHICH SHE LIVED



By



ANNA MARGARET SCHNEDER



BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS

REFORMED CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES

l.'tIM) ARCH ST., PIIII.A., PA.

10U5



CONTENTS



PAGE

CHAPTER I

COHNTKY AND PaKKNTACK I3



CHAPTER IT

JtlKTH AND Clin.lJHOOD 3I

CHAPTER HI
CoNvi'.KsioN ANij I"'aklv Hskkulness 55

CIIAI'TI'.I'; IV
Markiack anu I loM !•; Lii'i-: "j-j

CHAPTIiR V
Last Days 97



ILLUSTRATIONS



PAGE.

Frontispiece — Miyamoto O Mura San.

Matsushinui Bay 12

Shiogama 14

View of Sendai 15

Shop of the Miyamoto.s 23

The Boys' Festival 27

Doll Festival yj

First Lord of Sendai 41

Ilachiman Shrine 45

Sacred Water Fall 49

Famous Corner House 57

The IMain Street, Kokubuncho 58

House where Mr. Oshikawa Preached 61

The Miyamoto Family; Omurasan on the Right.... 62

The First Home of the Girls' School 65

l'"irst Graduates of the Girls' School; Omurasan on

the Right G7

(Ji'ukisan and ()mura>an with Miss [Jallowell 6y

Rev. S. Yoshiniura 77

l''irst Church Ihiildin.i;, Sendai, Furchased from

Buddhists in 1SS7. ICxterior 81

.Xihancho Church and I'arsonage 84

.Mr. \'iishinnn\i. Wife and P.ahy 87

Omurasan Ser\ ing Cakes and Tea to a Caller gr

Baby Kiyo.shi 100

Grave of Omurasan 103

Husband and Children 103

"(ii)d has been good to us, mother" 106



PREFACE



Tlic life wliose stf^ry is l)ricfly told in tlic
following ])a|L;t's seems, to the writer, to have
been too rare to 1)e left to oblivion. This
simple narrative of facts is written with the
donble hope that it may enconrage others
even in Christian lands to a greater zeal, and
that it mav be the means of awakening a
dee])er interest in Japan and the work of
bringing that great nation into the KingcUjm
of God. A. M. S.

Skndai, Japan-, Angnst, 1905.



I

COUNTRY AND PARENTAGE



I

Country and Parentage

THE L'il\- of Sciulai, which Hcs within a
few miles of the coast on the east
side of North Japan, is seldom visited
by travellers. Those who do come are inter-
ested not so much in the city itself as in the
quiet little Bay of Matsushima near by, which
is called by the Japanese themselves one of
the three most beautiful spots in all their
beautiful country. Here the sea has carved
out of the soft yellow rock hundreds of curious
little islands, most of which are covered with
pines. The name Matsu-shima means Pine-
islands. At the end of one of the inlets may
be found the town of Sliio_2;ama. the seaport
of Sendai. This is the i^ate throui^h which
most of the travellers from the south used to
enter the city. Now they i^o direct by rail-
road; Init still the journey is a tedious one,
twelve hotu's bcin^- rc(|tiircd to cover the tw'o
hundred and tliirt\'-three miles from Yoko-
hama to vScndai.



O MURA SAN.



The city itself is pretty, and well worth
visiting. It is set jnst where the Hirose River
runs out from between the mountains and
hills, and begins its more sedate course over
the great, fertile plain of Miyagi, down to the
ocean, whose roaring may be heard plainly



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O M U RA SAN.



exposed to the hot rays of the sun. I believe
that a large part of the blindness of which
there is so much in Japan is caused by this
practice. But now-a-days mothers are be-
giiming- to shield their babies' heads with
either a hat or a parasol.

The third of i\Iarch comes. This is a great
day for little girls. It is the doll festival. A
stand specially pre])ared for the occasion is
put up in the parlor, and on this are arranged
beautifully-dressed dolls, little images of the
Emperor and Empress seated at the very top.
On this day the children are given quite a
feast. A part of the feast is a white wine and
some niochi cakes in three colors, — green, red
and white. Moclii is a ceremonial dish made
of rice ])aste. The little girls look forward to
this (lay with much joy. But our poor
( )nHn-asau did not have this pleasure. Her
mother ^aid that as they had lost their money
she thought Umurasan would have to do with-
out the doll festival.

By and by we find Omurasan eigiit years
old, ami her ])arents send her to school. She

[ 39 I



O MURA SAN.



finds her first day at school hard indeed, and
every day grows harder, because the children
tease her unmercifully about her blind eye.
They call her "Teisansama." Teisansama
was the first lord of Sendai. He had an eye
just like that of Omurasan. A word about
Teisansama may be interesting, l:)y the way.
He is buried in a larg'e mausoleum on one of
the beautiful hills near Sendai, on either side
of which are ten toml^stones that mark the
graves of his retainers who killed themselves
when he died, in order to accompany him to
the spirit land. Teisansama made an image
of himself and said that when he died his
spirit would enter into it. This image is now
standing on a high altar in one of the famous
temples at Matsushima. Candles are burning
before it all the time, and hundreds go there
to worship.

Poor Omurasan disliked being called
Teisansama and other uglv names, and her
parents found it \er)- hard to get her to go
to school. The teasing that she endured at
school, and the se\-ere chastisements that she



40















J.



THE FIRST LORD OF SENDAI.



MU RA SAN.



received at home liardened the child so that
she became ahnost unmanageable. Several
times her mother resorted to the extreme
punishment of burning. This was done by
putting a little powder of a certain kind on
the skin and then setting it on fire with a red
hot iron, burning a deep wound into the fiesh.
The mother thought this would cure her of
her badness and at the same time be good for
her weak eye. But many times since has the
mother looked at those scars with tears rolling
down her cheeks, and saying : "How could I
be so cruel?" Omurasan cared little whether
she learned anything or not, as she found no
joy either at school or at home. One morn-
ing her mother said : "Today we must go to
the temple. This is the day for the worship
of our ancestors." Preparations were made,
and they started off with their lunch. They
soon reached the temple and found many
others there, among them many friends and
relatives w ho had also come to worship at the
shrines of their ancestors.

Rev. Mr. Oshikawa and Rev. Mr. Yoshida



[43



O M U RA SAN.



were now in Sendai proclaiming- the message
of a Savior wlio had (hed for all, and is willing
to save all who give themselves to Him. Our
little ( )nun-asan had attended a few of their
Ilihle classes wilhonl the knowledge of her
parents, and the htllc that she had heard bore
fruit. A\'hile the friends and relatives, both
old and }oung, drunken with liquor, were
dancing before their ancestors' shrines, one of
the priests came to little Omurasan and said :
"Why do you not do like the rest, and dance
too?" and threatened to punish her if she
would not. But she refused, knowing by
what she had heard from Mr. Oshikawa that
such things were wrong-. She ran to her
mother crying and telling her that she did
not want to dance. Her mother then ex-
cused her. knowing that when she made up
her mind in such a matter there w-as no use
in trving to compel her. Really, w^e might
say that this was the beginning of Omurasan's
Christian life.

Once a year this public worship of an-
cestors took place, and on that occasion one



[44]



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UACUIMAN SllKlNE.



O MUR.I S.'IN.



could sec nicii, women and even cliildren in-
toxicated. Ancesloi- worshiji is the hardest
thinp;- for the Japanese people to i:;"i\e up when
they want to become Christians. The ances-
tral tablets are held so sacred that when the
people become Christians it is indeed hard
for them to destroy them.

Sendai is still full of heathenism. On a hill
in the northwestern part of the city is a .fam-
ous temple called the Hachiman Shrine. The
temple itself is not at all pretty; on the con-
trary, it is a very simple affair. But it is the
manner in wdiich the people worship there
that attracts one's attention. Every year on
the fourteenth of January, the coldest part of
the year, one may see crowds gathered at this
temple, l)t)th young and old. They all come
with a lot of sake, or rice-]i(|uor, and ofTer it
before the gods. Then they undress them-
selves and pour water over their heads and
down over their naked bodies. This is done
to cleanse themselves of the offences com-
mitted during the year. Then they prostrate
themselves before the gods and ask them to

[47 1



O M U R A S A N.


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Online LibraryAnna Margaret SchnederO Mura San, with a glimpse of the country in which she lived → online text (page 1 of 3)