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Founding Spirit and Joseph Neesima

Doshisha Cemetery

Doshisha Cemetery is located at Nyakuojiyama-cho, Shishigatani, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. Many people related to Doshisha are laid to rest in this cemetery, including Joseph Neesima, his wife Yae, Kakuma Yamamoto, Iichiro Tokutomi and American missionaries.

Nyakuojiyama-cho, Shishigatani, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
About 25 minutes’ walk from Nyakuoji Shrine

Map of Doshisha Cemetery

Enlarged picture[PDF 79KB]

Peak of Nyakuojiyama Layout map of Doshisha Cemetery

Enlarged picture[PDF 29KB]


01. Joseph Hardy Neesima (Jo Niijima) (1843.2.12-1890.1.23) Born as the fifth child and the long-awaited first son of a samurai of the Edo station of the Annaka clan in Joshu (present Gunma Prefecture). In 1864, when Neesima was 21 years old, he left Japan for the US, defying a ban on travel overseas. Neesima studied at Phillips Academy, Amherst College and the Andover Theological Seminary. He came back to Japan in 1874, and established Doshisha the next year together with Kakuma Yamamoto, J. D. Davis and others. He fell ill in 1889, and passed away in Oiso-cho, Kanagawa Prefecture in January 1890.
02. Yae Neesima (1845.11.3-1932.6.14) Neesima’s wife. Born in Aizu (present Fukushima Prefecture) as a sister of Kakuma Yamamoto. She opened a school for girls in 1876, and Doshisha Bunko Nyokoba (later renamed Doshisha Girls’ School) in 1877, together with a missionary dispatched from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (henceforth called ‘the American Board’), A. J. Starkweather, laying the foundation of Doshisha Womens’ College.
03. Tamiji Niijima (1807-1887) Neesima’s father. A samurai of the Annaka clan, holding the post of scrivener. He taught calligraphy at his home. His pseudonym in calligraphy was Koremizu.
04. Tokiko Hayami (1840-1905) Neesima’s fourth sister, and the wife of Tadao Hayami.
05. Tsunegoro Hirotsu (unknown) Hirotsu is believed to have been the uncle of Tomonobu Hirotsu, one of Yae’s relatives.
06. Kokichi Matsuyama (1846-1935) A Japanese classical scholar. Matsuyama was associated with Joseph Neesima, and served in a number of important positions at Doshisha, such as professor and member of the board of trustees. He was also credited with translating the Bible, compiling hymns and writing Japanese lyrics for hymns.
07. The common grave for the missionary teachers
Mary F.Denton(1859-1947) A home economics teacher who made a significant contribution to the education of women at Doshisha. Doshisha’s traditional buildings, such as Eikokan and James-kan, were established with funds donated through the efforts and offices of Miss Denton. The pipe organ at Eikokan was presented to honor Denton’s considerable contribution. She also established Doshisha Kindergarten.
Alice E.Gwinn(1896-1969) An English teacher at Doshisha Girls’ School for eight years, and at Doshisha Junior High School for 22 years. Gwinn was also enthusiastic about religious education.
Robert H.Grant(1911-1974) A professor at the Faculty of Letters. Grant visited Japan as a missionary from the American Board after World War II. He played a vital role in the establishment of Doshisha Womens’ College of Liberal Arts.
Gwilym G.Lloyd(1914-1984) A missionary of the United Presbyterian Church in the US. Lloyd taught Studies of the New Testament and the New Testament in its original Greek language at the Faculty of Theology, Doshisha University.
Jhon G.Young(1902-1990) Young visited Japan as a missionary from the American Board after World War II. Young taught at the Faculty of Theology and Doshisha High School of Commerce. He was also a housemaster of the Doshisha Hawaii Dormitory.
Esther L.Hibbard(1903-1999) Hibbard greatly contributed to English education at Doshisha Girls’ School as a preacher and missionary. She was the first president of Doshisha Womens’ College, which was established after World War II.
08. Daniel C.Greene(1843-1913) The first missionary to Japan dispatched by the American Board. Greene established the Settsu Daiichi Kokai (present UCCJ Kobe Church), and served as its first minister. After engaging in the work of bible translation in Yokohama, he taught theology and the Old Testament at Doshisha. While working for Doshisha, he designed the buildings of Shoeikan, Doshisha Chapel and Yushukan, and supervised the construction of them.
09. Mary J.Greene(1845-1910) The wife of Daniel C. Green. Greene married Daniel Green in 1869 after graduating from the Mount Holyoke Seminary, and worked in Kobe, Kyoto and Tokyo.
10. Tamenori Yamazaki (1857-1881) After studying at Kumamoto Yogakko, Yamazaki entered Kaisei Gakko (present Tokyo University), then transferred to Doshisha University, becoming one of the first graduates of Doshisha University. He contributed to Doshisha as one of the first Japanese teachers and administrative officers in the early days of Doshisha University. He wrote a book titled ‘Tenchi Dai-genin-ron’ (Causal Theory of the Universe), in which his talent was well expressed. The foreword of the book was given by Professor J. D. Davis. His epitaph was composed by Professor M. L. Gordon.
11. Kiichi Mizusaki (1871-1937) Mizusaki assumed important positions, such as professor and member of the board of trustees at Doshisha University, as well as principal of Doshisha Girls’ School. According to Neesima’s dying wishes, he worked hard collecting funds for the establishment of Doshisha University together with Soho Tokutomi and others. His epitaph was composed by Soho Tokutomi.
12. Teiichi Hori (1863-1943) After graduating from Doshisha University, Hori, advocating the principle of self-sufficiency, was engaged in missionary work in Shiga, Niigata and Gunma prefectures. He then took on ministry work at a Japanese church in Hawaii. In response to a request from the then president of Doshisha University, Danjo Ebina, Hori became a dean of Christian education at Doshisha, and became a great source of inspiration and influence for the students there.
13. Dwight W.Learned(1848-1943) A missionary from the American Board, and the first president of Doshisha University. Learned devoted himself to education at Doshisha for 52 years right from the opening of Doshisha English Academy. He wrote many books, particularly in the fields of theology, economics and politics, which significantly contributed to the development of academia in modern Japan. His favorite words, "Learn to live and live to learn", is inscribed on his tombstone.
14. Iichiro Tokutomi (1863-1957) etter known by his pen name, Soho, he established the Min’yu-sha publishing company in 1887, which printed Japan’s first general news magazine, ‘Kokumin no Tomo’ (The People’s Friend) and the newspaper, ‘The Kokumin Shinbun’ . The publications had a strong influence on the young and intellectual people of the Meiji period. He was instrumental in carrying out Neesima’s wishes in the establishment of Doshisha, and continued to support Doshisha through his life. He compiled Kinsei Nihon Kokumin shi (‘A History of Early Modern Japan’), which was published in 100 volumes. His epitaph was composed by himself.
15. Kakuma Yamamoto (1828-1892) One of the founders of Doshisha. Yamamoto offered his land for the site of the Imadegawa Campus. The name ‘Doshisha’ is considered to be his idea. He was a samurai of Aizu, an advisor of the Kyoto Prefectural Government, and the first chairman of the Kyoto Prefectural Assembly.
16. The Yamamoto Family Gonpachi Yamamoto (-1868)・Saku (1810-1896) Parents of Yae and Kakuma Yamamoto. Their third son, Saburo, is also entombed here. Gonpachi and Saburo were killed in the Boshin War, a civil war fought from 1868 to 1869.
17. Hisae Yamamoto (1871-1893) Kakuma Yamamoto’s daughter. Yamamoto studied at Doshisha Girls’ School and KobeEiwa Gakko (present Kobe College). She appears in the novel written by Roka Tokutomi, ‘Kuroi me to chairo no me’ (Black eyes and brown eyes).
18. Tasuku Harada (1863-1940) The 7th chancellor of Doshisha University. During his tenure, Harada established Doshisha University and specialized departments at Doshisha Girls’ School (under the College Law), which contributed to the enhancement of Doshisha’s academic level. He was also a minister at Kobe Church and the chairman of the Japan Union Church.
19. Kumato Morita (1858-1899) The first graduate and the first Japanese teacher of Doshisha. Morita contributed to the development of the university’s education system, and also helped to improve Doshisha’s financial performance. He was a great logical thinker as well as a voracious reader of books.
20. The Fuwa Family, Tadajiro Fuwa (1857-1919) After graduating from Doshisha, Fuwa was engaged in missionary work in Fukuoka, Maebashi and Kyoto.
21. The Uno Family, Shigeki Uno (1853-1919) A teacher of PE at Doshsiha, as well as a general dormitory superintendent. Uno was also committed to establishing Kyoto YMCA and the Japan Physical Education Association. He was the first Christian soldier in the Japanese army. His tomb is located in the place of the ‘guard’ in the cemetery.
22. Gohei Matsumoto (1831-1899) His real name was actually Muneyuki. He worked as a school janitor at Doshisha in the early days. He had great respect for Neesima, and got baptized as he wished to be with Neesima permanently. He also wanted to be with Neesima after death as a grave keeper. He is said to have been a larger-than-life character with a good sense of humor, and Neesima endearingly called him ‘Gohei-san’.
23. Shotaro Takagi (1889-1927) After graduating from Doshisha University, Takagi became a professor and taught politics. His motto was ‘capability needs to be supported by good personality’. His epitaph was composed by Toyohiko Kaga. D. W. Learned’s words in Latin, ‘TOTUS IN SEPSO’ (a person with self-reliance), was inscribed on the footstone of his grave in accordance with the wishes expressed in his will.
24. Tomekichi Onishi (1883-1909) Onishi was baptized by Masumi Hino while studying at Doshisha Futsu Gakko.
Being a self-supporting student, he overworked himself and died of pulmonary tuberculosis while in school.
25. Doshisha Common Cemetery In response to the wishes of those related to Doshisha, the Doshisha Common Cemetery was established in 1973. Currently, more than 170 people are laid to rest there, including:
Koujiro Hata (1890-1972): Former Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of The Doshisha.
Setsuji Otsuka (1887-1997): The 13th Chancellor of The Doshisha and the 13th President of Doshisha University.
Etsuji Sumiya (1895-1987): The 14th Chancellor of The Doshisha.
Naozo Ueno (1900-1984): The 15th Chancellor and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of The Doshisha; former President of Doshisha University.
Isao Saito (1905-1996): Former Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of The Doshisha.
26. Shinya Nagata (1896-1921) After the graduation of the Faculty of Law at Doshisha University, Nagata became a junior assistant professor there, but passed away at the tender age of 25.
27. Kazuo Yoneda (Unknown) A child of Shotaro Yoneda who was a professor at Doshisha University and Kyoto University.
28. Heizaburo Mogi (1850-1902) After graduating from Doshisha Eigakko, Mogi was engaged in missionary work in Jyoshu, Echigo, Hyuga and Kyoto.
29. Naka Kajitani (Unknown) When Kajitani fell into a state of distress following her husband’s abscondence, she heard about Neesima from her distant relative, Itaro Kurozumi (Graduate of Doshisha), and moved to live in Kyoto with her child, where she received help from Neesima.
30. Tsune, Kokichi and Naoyo Yuasa Tsune (1866-1896) is the wife of Kichiro (Hangetsu) Yuasa. Like Neesima, Tsune was also from Annaka, Joshu. She studied at Doshisha Girls School and died at Doshisha Hospital. Kokichi was her first son. Naoyo was the sixth daughter of Jiro Yuasa and was known for her hard work in helping to manage Doshisha.
31. Tokutaro Osawa (1876-1942) Osawa studied at Doshisha, and later, as a businessman, served as a member of the Board of Trustees of The Doshisa for 24 years. During his tenure, he contributed to Doshisha’s transfer to a university under the University Law, as well as the purchase of the land in the Iwakura area. His father Zensuke and his son Yoshio also served as members of the Board of Trustees of The Doshisha.
32. Eisuke Nakamura (1849-1938) A member of the Board of Trustees of The Doshisha. Nakamura gained the deep confidence of Neesima, and contributed enormously to Doshisha during its early days. Following Neesima’s death, he became a temporary president and a deputy chancellor several times whenever Doshisha faced a crisis, and helped the university to overcome its difficulties. He was elected as a member of the Diet, Kyoto Prefectural Assembly and was the first chairperson of Kyoto Municipal Assembly. His epitaph was composed by Soho Tokutomi.
33. Jerome Dean Davis(1838-1910) A missionary from the American Board. Davis moved from Kobe to Kyoto. He sympathized with Neesima’s idea of establishing Doshisha, and supported Neesima, as well as Kakuma Yamamoto,throughout his life. He wrote a biography of Joseph Neesima as well as books on theology. ‘My life is my message’ were his last words.
Related Information Amherst College (external website)
The website of Amherst College where Neesima studied.
A History of Amherst College (external website)
Section of the Amherst College website where Neesima is introduced.