Japanese Students to Visit Mount Union
March 27, 2011
A group of students from Hiroshima Jogakuin High School, a school that has a longstanding relationship with the University of Mount Union, will travel to Mount Union this month to learn more about American culture. Students will be on campus from Tuesday, March 29 through Tuesday, April 5.
In an effort to better learn the English language while in the United States, each student will be placed with a host family in Alliance. While visiting Mount Union, the students and their advisers will tour campus, attend a Japanese language course, go bowling with the Association of International Students and participate in a collaborative fundraising effort for tsunami and earthquake victims. Also during the students’ stay, they will tour Glamorgan Castle, visit Marlington Middle School, make pottery at Hot Pots and volunteer at the Alliance Food Pantry and the Akron/Canton Food Bank.
One of the highlights of the students’ trip will be conducting a peace forum on Friday, April 1 at 4 p.m. in Tolerton and Hood Hall Room 100. The Peace Forum is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Center for Global Education at (330) 823-3296.
The History Between Mount Union and Hiroshima Jogakuin High School
The relationship between Mount Union and Hiroshima Jogakuin High School is not new, as it has been a long-standing relationship since 1956. During the 1950s, an Alliance Methodist missionary was teaching at the Hiroshima Jogakuin High School where Yoshino “Yoshi” Murakami was a student. During her high school career, Murakami won a nationwide English speech contest. The missionary saw her potential and encouraged her to further her education at an English-speaking institution. Because the missionary was from Alliance, he recommended she attend Mount Union.
Murakami traveled on a steamer for two months in 1952 and became the first Japanese student admitted to the institution after World War II. Following graduation, she continued her education at The Ohio State University, got married and had a son. Shortly after giving birth, she was diagnosed with cancer as a result of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. In 1966, she died at the age of 32.
While on Mount Union’s campus, Murakami formed many relationships, including one with former choir director, Dr. Cecil Stewart. He was the driving force behind establishing a scholarship in her honor, and now every four years, a graduate from Hiroshima Jogakuin High School is awarded a full-tuition, four-year scholarship to Mount Union. The first scholarship was awarded in 1968 and the next scholarship will be awarded in 2012. The third scholarship recipient was Dr. Naoko Oyabu-Mathis, who is currently a professor of sociology at Mount Union.
In July of 2007, Mount Union also established three $10,000 Kurose Peace Awards. The annual awards are named after Shinichiro Kurose, chancellor and chair of the board of trustees of Hiroshima Jogakuin School, which includes a kindergarten, junior high school, high school and a university. Kurose has been integral in the peace movement and promoting peace in the Hiroshima Jogakuin School and in his community and country.
Students from Hiroshima Jogakuin High School are familiar with Alliance; as they visited in 2010 to not only learn about American culture, but also to promote peace. While on campus, the students held a peace forum where they discussed the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, killing more than 350 students and teachers from Hiroshima Jogakuin School. They also promoted peace and a nuclear-free world by collecting signatures for the Abolition of Nuclear War Signature Campaign.