Saturday, May 25, 2013

Greetings from Seinan Gakuin

It is a beautiful May morning as I start this blog article, and I am writing this in Fukuoka, the city in southwest Japan where June and I lived for 36 years. So I send you warm greetings from Japan and from the campus of Seinan Gakuin University.
Having lived here for so long, it really seemed like I was coming home when I arrived back here on May 14. I had warm and nostalgic feelings much like I used to have years ago upon going back to where I grew up in north Missouri after having been in Japan for several years.
June and I last visited back in Fukuoka in 2010, and I am sorry she decided not to come with me this time—especially since we can’t celebrate our 56th wedding anniversary together tomorrow.
One of the first things that stuck me upon being back in Fukuoka was how little things have changed in the past three years. There used to be so much new construction taking place across the city all the time, but there seemingly has not been much since I was here last and there is not a lot that is visible now. That is, no doubt, largely due to the sluggish economy over the last many years.
On May 15, I attended the Founders Day ceremonies at the school system known as Seinan Gakuin (SG), which started as a small school for junior high school for boys in 1916. Now there are well over 10,000 students from the nursery school through the university that includes a law school.
And there has been, and is, new construction on campus. There is a beautiful new four-story Language Education Center at SGU, and a new administration building is currently being built.
Around 80% of the students at Seinan Gakuin are in the university, and that is where I taught for the 36 years we lived in Fukuoka. But this academic year, which began the first of April, marks the completion of the Seinan Gakuin Elementary School (SGES), which opened with grades one through three in 2010.
From 1996 to 2004 I had the privilege (and the heavy responsibility) of serving as the chancellor of Seinan Gakuin. In that capacity I was the one who proposed and then worked toward the founding of the SGES. It was a thrill to visit it the month after it opened in 2010, and it was a thrill for me again to attend the SGES chapel service this month with more than 400 students, from the first through the sixth grades, present.
I wish you could have heard the grade school students recite the Lord’s Prayer together. I venture to say you have never heard that prayer said as loudly or as clearly as I heard it in that chapel service. And the pupils were so quiet and well-behaved through the remainder of the service that I was much impressed.
Of all I tried to do in Japan through the years, I can’t help but think that perhaps my most significant accomplishment was laying the groundwork for the founding of Seinan Gakuin Elementary School.
Seinan Gakuin Elementary School (on left)
I thank God for the privilege of being able to serve as an educational missionary at Seinan Gakuin from 1968 to 2004 and for the blessing of being here again now and until the end of this merry month of May.


  1. My daughter attended Seinan Gakuin University for the 1999-2000 school year. A good experience for her. It was especially enriching because she got to spend some time with her great-aunt and some cousins who lived nearby. Since they spoke no English, it really made her use the Japanese she was learning. I've never been to Japan and my wife only visited relatives there once. Thanks for the update.

    1. Thank you, friend, for writing. (I wish I knew your name.)

      I likely met your daughter when she was here at Seinan Gakuin. It was a shame you were not able to visit her then, but I hope some day you will be able to come to Fukuoka and to visit Seinan Gakuin.

  2. Thanks for the greetings from Fukuoka. Sorry, you and June had to celebrate the 56th anniversary separate beyond the ocean. However, joy and blessings on you on the anniversary. Yes, we remember our days there together with you in Fukuoka though ours was much shorter than yours. We enjoyed our life and work there. Our children enjoyed your children Karen and Kenny and the one room school partitioned upper and lower class. When they came back home in the States, our children were very strong academically. You didn't say why you went there without June. if you have time, call Mr. Ho Chae Seon (pronounce Mr. Sun) and say hello and give my personal regards at 092-526-5600. Rev. Jung Gang Choe is there and is a Seinan graduate. Enjoy Fukuoka visit. Ed

  3. Ed, I decided this time to just visit Fukuoka Vicariously through Leroy. We have spoken almost every day by Skype. Sure wish that had been available when our children were growing up in Japan and we could have been in touch more easily with their grandparents. (Although we wouldn't now have the weekly letters that contain the stories of our lives that we sent back & forth, had we been communicating by Skype!) Leroy sent me some gorgeous red roses for our anniversary that I am enjoying. Thank you for your good wishes. I hope you and Mae are both well. Please give her my best regards. june

  4. An amazing vision you led, and a living legacy that you have left in good hands... and can still return to inspire. Now, if only those children, and we, can live that prayer.

    Prayers continue for the balance of your journey. Tim