- 英学史研究 (ISSN:03869490)
- vol.1991, no.23, pp.99-113, 1990 (Released:2009-09-16)
The calamity of the siege war of Wakamatsu Castle was beyond description. A group of daring women (joshigun) fought with halberds (naginata), while some mothers, thinking they would rather kill themselves than be encumbrances to the besieged or than fall into the enemy only to be outraged by them, stabbed their children and then fell on their swords.Sutematsu, a sister of a retainer, entered the castle with her mother and sisters and survived the war. She was lucky to be chosen one of the girl students sent to America and, leading a happy life at a Puritan home, graduated from Vassar College with unprecedented honors. Soon after she came back to Japan she wrote a letter to an American friend of hers, saying : though they often say of dying for the honor of their country, I beieve it is much more difficult to live than to die for the country and what Japan needs most is a long sustained effort that can be made only by those who are anxious to serve this country.We may say that Western learning in Aizu started early in the Meiji era when Yamakawa Kenjiro and her sister Sutematsu were sent to America for learning English studies by Kaitakushi (a government agency for the development of Hokkaido).This paper concerns how English studies influenced upon Oyama Sutematsu who was typical of those women that, after living through the calamity of the siege war, led trag ical lives at their early age and eventually found a new way of living by the chance to learn and appreciate Cristianity and its culture.