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By Margaret Prang

A very extraordinary individual, Caroline Macdonald (1874-1931) was once a Canadian girl who spent virtually her complete operating lifestyles in Japan and who performed an important function there in either the institution of the YWCA and in criminal reform. a local of Wingham, Ontario, she was once one of many first girls to wait the college of Toronto, the place in 1901 she graduated with honours in arithmetic and physics. yet instead of persist with an educational occupation, she opted in 1904, via her connections with the Presbyterian Church and the YWCA in Canada and the U.S., to maneuver to Tokyo to paintings as a lay missionary and social employee. through the Nineteen Twenties, she was once the best-known overseas 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 stream for felony reform paintings for which she remains to be warmly remembered in Japan. She looked herself as a missionary yet used to be additionally hugely severe of a lot missionary endeavour, her personal paintings being extra within the useful than non secular realm. Her dying in 1931 elicited tributes from around the world, really from Japan. might be the main becoming got here from Arima Shirosuke, the felony governor with whom Macdonald labored so much heavily. Reflecting on her lifestyles, Arima saw that he idea it was once her absolute conviction that each person used to be a toddler of God and her ’effortless’ perform of that religion that put Macdonald ’beyond each prejudice’ of faith, race, or classification. She was once, he acknowledged, ’a center at relaxation from itself.’ This publication throws mild on Japanese-Canadian kin within the first few a long time of this century. Macdonald’s profession unearths the cross-cultural impact of the YWCA in Japan, the position of the Protestant church buildings there, and the evolution of legal reform in Japan and the folks all in favour of it.

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Extra info for A heart at leisure from itself: Caroline Macdonald of Japan

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However, in contrast with other mission fields, medicine was not a major missionary frontier, since the technological change encouraged by the government included the introduction of western medicine. Christians had founded and edited for a decade Rikugo Zasshi (Cosmos), one of the most influential journals of social criticism in the country and widely read by nonChristian intellectuals as well as by Christian leaders. From 1887 discussion of Christianity had also been promoted among intellectuals in Kokumin No Tomo (The Nation's Friend), edited by Tokutomi Soho.

One day, as she and Theresa Morrison were chatting at home with a group of girls from a government high school, there was a cry outside in the street: 'Gogai, gogai' ('extra, extra'). One of the girls rushed out to buy a newspaper, read it quickly, and made an announcement that obviously delighted the others. Thanks to a dictionary and Morrison's limited knowledge of Japanese, Caroline understood that the students were rejoicing over the navy's sinking of yet another Russian warship, the Sebastopol, an event that confirmed the already proven superiority of Japanese military power in Asia.

Since the YWCA was not yet formally constituted, Caroline had no official position, but she began to work with two groups of girls, one a Bible class for English-speaking Christian students at the Higher Normal School, and the other with girls from the central telephone office with whom discussion was conducted through an interpreter. On her second Sunday in Women's Work for Women 37 Tokyo, in the absence of the regular teacher, she was invited to lead the weekly Bible class for young men, mostly students, in Ichibancho Presbyterian Church.

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