New PDF release: A heart at leisure from itself: Caroline Macdonald of Japan

By Margaret Prang

ISBN-10: 0774805226

ISBN-13: 9780774805223

A very notable individual, Caroline Macdonald (1874-1931) used to be a Canadian lady who spent virtually her complete operating existence in Japan and who performed an important position there in either the institution of the YWCA and in legal reform. a local of Wingham, Ontario, she was once one of many first ladies to wait the college of Toronto, the place in 1901 she graduated with honours in arithmetic and physics. yet instead of keep on with an instructional occupation, she opted in 1904, via her connections with the Presbyterian Church and the YWCA in Canada and the USA, to maneuver to Tokyo to paintings as a lay missionary and social employee. in the course of the Nineteen Twenties, she used to be the best-known international lady in Tokyo. In ’A middle at rest from Itself’ Margaret Prang follows Caroline Macdonald’s lifestyles and occupation, concentrating on her paintings in Japan on behalf of incarcerated criminals. operating regularly with male prisoners and their households, Macdonald grew to become a world interpreter of the move for legal reform paintings for which she continues to be warmly remembered in Japan. She seemed herself as a missionary yet was once additionally hugely severe of a lot missionary endeavour, her personal paintings being extra within the functional than non secular realm. Her demise in 1931 elicited tributes from around the globe, relatively from Japan. maybe the main becoming got here from Arima Shirosuke, the criminal governor with whom Macdonald labored so much heavily. Reflecting on her lifestyles, Arima saw that he proposal it used to be her absolute conviction that each person used to be a toddler of God and her ’effortless’ perform of that religion that positioned Macdonald ’beyond each prejudice’ of faith, race, or type. She was once, he stated, ’a center at relaxation from itself.’ This publication throws gentle on Japanese-Canadian family within the first few many years of this century. Macdonald’s occupation finds the cross-cultural effect of the YWCA in Japan, the function of the Protestant church buildings there, and the evolution of criminal reform in Japan and the folks fascinated by it.

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In this far from radical revolution, known as 'the Restoration/ the new oligarchy restored formal authority to the emperor who had been no more than a spiritual symbol for centuries. The fifteen-year-old Emperor Mutsuhito was moved from the old capital, Kyoto, to Edo, renamed Tokyo, in a great procession. 5 In this new era, designated as the Meiji period, with the emperor as the symbol of national unity and aspiration, the leaders of the new government acted on their conviction that Japan's survival could be assured only by extensive reforms to make their country a modern industrial and military power.

Both had to meet the deeply rooted hostility of the vast majority of Japanese who had been taught that Christians were subversives allied with foreign powers bent on the conquest of Japan. These perceptions were not without some basis, but missionaries were also presented as practitioners of infanticide and cannibalism. Thus, when their country was officially opened to the rest of the world, the anti-Christian and anti-foreign bias of most Japanese was profound. 3 Since none of the earlier proscriptions against Christianity were formally lifted, the first American missionaries from several denominations proceeded with caution in the i86os, giving most of their attention to learning the language, translating parts of the Bible into Japanese, and establishing small schools for boys and girls as well as dispensaries for the sick.

Caroline found the sparsely furnished 'semi-Japanese' house attractive and comfortable and the service provided by a cook and his wife more than adequate. For the first ten days she took life easily, learning the things any 36 A Heart at Leisure from Itself newcomer to Japan needed to know: a few common phrases in Japanese, how to mail letters home, how to hail a jinrikisha (also known as a kuruma), how to find her way through narrow streets that appeared disconcertingly the same and where sidewalks were still largely unknown, to take off her shoes before entering the house, to sit on the floor for three hours at a dinner party without complaint, to eat raw fish and to handle chopsticks, and to listen appreciatively to an after-dinner performance on the koto, where the artist was more likely to be a grandmother than the aspiring teenage piano student familiar at home.

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A heart at leisure from itself: Caroline Macdonald of Japan by Margaret Prang

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