The KG Time Tunnel
Why don't you travel back to Old Kwansei through the time tunnel?
Yuko Ikeda, Kwansei Gakuin Archives,
Special thanks to Camilla Blakeley for editorial assistance.
11th. -- On this day in 1921, the cornerstone of the Kwansei Gakuin Central Auditorium was laid at Harada-no-mori.
T. H. Haden opened the ceremony to mark the laying of the cornerstone began at 9:00 a.m., placing within the foundation some of W. R. Lambuth’s hair. The Kwansei Gakuin founder had died just weeks before, on September 26th. Another ceremony had been held earlier, on June 11th, when the project broke ground. Once construction was finished, a dedicatory service was held in April 1922. For Kwansei Gakuin the Central Auditorium (photo) was a key building, housing not only a 1,600-seat hall but also the president’s office, a social room, a dining room, and other spaces. At that time there was no other similar facility nearby and Kobe citizens made a good use of it as a base for cultural activities.
13th. -- On this day in 1900, the first baseball match was played between Kwansei Gakuin and the Mikage Normal School.
Maya Arashi, no. 3, published by the English Language Society, a forerunner of the current English Speaking Society, tells us about this historic match. The game started at 1:00 p.m. and unfortunately Kwansei Gakuin was defeated by seven to six. Three days later, a meeting was held to thank our players. President Yoshikuni Yoshioka (photo), gave them his thanks and consoled them with the idea that if they have been victorious, the opportunity for a magnificent meeting would have been missed.
24th. -- On this day in 1924, the eighth academic exchange lecture with Mt. Koya University was held at Kwansei Gakuin.
The academic exchange between Kwansei Gakuin and Mt. Koya University was the brainchild of Shogaku Hatta, a Literary College student who had attended Mt. Koya Middle School (photo: third Mt. Koya exchange lecture). The first lecture was held at Mt. Koya in the winter of 1921, attended by Prof. Hikoichi Yoshizaki, of the Theological College, and four students. The second was held at Kwansei Gakuin. Two professors and five students from Mt. Koya attended. When planning the welcome dinner, the KG side cabled, “Should it be vegetarian cuisine?” The Mt. Koya contingent answered, “Eat almost every thing.” So they were entertained at a good Chinese restaurant in Kobe.
22nd. -- On this day in 1919, the Kwansei Gakuin Board of Directors approved the employment of Ian Ozolin.
A young Latvian man named Ian Ozolin (photo) taught English at the College Department, Literary and Commercial, Kwansei Gakuin, from September 1918 to July 1921. He seemed to make a tremendous impact on the students, taking time to exchange opinions with them. H. F. Woodsworth, a Canadian missionary, stated, “Professor Ozolin was a source of great interest and amusement to the students. He was widely read and had brilliant mind but was somewhat erratic in disposition.” One of his students said, “He was a linguistic genius who could speak 16 languages.” Another student who often met him at a public bath wrote, “I had an open, friendly relationship with him but he soon returned like the wind to Europe.”
23rd. -- On this day in 1909, Kwansei Gakuin marked the twentieth anniversary of its founding.
The acting governor of Hyogo Prefecture attended the anniversary ceremony of the founding of Kwansei Gakuin and took the opportunity to point out the faults of the religious school (photo: twentieth anniversary catalogues, English and Japanese). In response, someone in the audience shouted, “No, no, it’s prejudice!” On the same day Kwansei Gakuin held an athletic meeting and various exhibitions as well. Prof. Hirosuke Murakami, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, provides some interesting statistics about the class scores of the Academic Department students:
First grade: youngest, age 12, 69 per cent; oldest, age 19, 87 per cent.
Second grade: youngest, age 13, 69 per cent; oldest, age 17, 70 per cent.
Third grade: youngest, age 14, 77 per cent; oldest, age 19, 68 per cent.
Fourth grade: youngest, age 15, 78 per cent; oldest, age 20, 65 per cent.
30th. -- On this day in 1921, the Kwansei Gakuin Peace Conference was held at the Commercial College Auditorium .
This Peace Conference was opened at 9:00 am by President C. J. L. Bates. The Glee club sang and speeches were made by Kiichi Kanzaki, dean of the Commercial College; Jotaro Kawakami (photo), a professor in the Literary College; and a couple of students. Then Masukichi Matsumoto, the vice-president, read out the conference resolution: “The faculty, staff, and students of Kwansei Gakuin College, Kobe, request a reduction in armaments for the permanent peace of the world.” It was immediately telegraphed to Washington, D.C., where the Washington Naval Conference was being held at the behest of the administration of President Warren G. Harding. It was attended by nine nations, including Japan.
10th. -- On this day in 1931, the memorial service was held at Kwansei Gakuin for former president J. C. C. Newton.
The beloved J. C. C. Newton (photo), the third president of Kwansei Gakuin, died at the age of 83 in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 10th, 1931. Exactly one month later a memorial service was held at the Kwansei Gakuin Central Auditorium and more than 1,000 teachers and students attended. After Newton retired, he would say, ”I want to go to Heaven through Japan (or Kwansei Gakuin)” and would pray for Japan and Kwansei Gakuin as he faced an open window on the west side of his house. He went to his rest on the birthday of W. R. Lambuth, the founder of Kwansei Gakuin.
15th. -- On this day in 1940, C. J. L. Bates wrote a farewell letter to the graduates of Kwansei Gakuin.
Before his departure for Canada on December 30, C. J. L. Bates spent many busy days attending farewell meetings and packing. In his diary, he noted, “I must write farewell letters to many – the printed letter will do. (photo: a letter to graduates). Kwansei Gakuin Archives also possesses another form letter that Bates addressed to friends. “I should call at the Prefectural Office, and at Kobe and Nishinomiya City Offices,” he remarked, keeping a list of his many farewell duties. “I must not forget that I am to preach Christmas morning my last Sermon in Japan.”
29th. -- On this day in 1930, C. J. L. Bates left Kobe for the United States with a sad but brave resolution.
Establishing a university has been a long-term dream of the College students of Kwansei Gakuin. In order to realize it, they decided at the extraordinary general meeting of the Students’ Union on December 16th, 1930 (photo: meeting announcement), to ask President Bates to go to the United Sates to plead their cause and obtain permissions from the American and Canadian churches responsible for the college. When Bates received this resolution from the student delegates at his office, he paled and replied, “If I go to the United States and it is not successful, I will not be able to come back.” On the following day, however, the Board of Directors held a meeting and approved the trip. This approval was forwarded to the Students’ Union and the student delegates visited Bates at his house. “I have made up my mind,” President Bates said to them, shaking hands firmly as he told them of his decision to do as they wished.