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Founding Spirit and Joseph Neesima

Jo Neesima and Doshisha

Joseph Hardy Neesima (Jo Niijima) Joseph Hardy Neesima
(Jo Niijima)

148 years ago, Joseph Hardy Neesima broke new ground in Japanese education and sowed the seeds of liberal learning in people’s mind, which have been passed down over generations. Neesima’s vision formed the basis of Doshisha, and has always been present as Doshisha has evolved.

Joseph Hardy Neesima was born as a son of a samurai in 1843, and studied hard to become both a good warrior and a good scholar. Gradually gaining awareness about Western culture and Christianity, he had a serious concern about the future of Japan and realized the importance of studying in Western countries. Neesima left Japan for America in 1864, defying an overseas travel ban. Filled with anxiety and hope, he had begun his adventure. In Shanghai, he boarded a ship, the Wild Rover, bound for Boston.

Under the benevolent support of A. Hardy, the owner of the Wild Rover, Neesima received baptism and studied at Phillips Academy and Amherst College. As he learned advanced Western science and technology and blended into American life, he realized that there was a deep-rooted spiritual background of Christianity in America. He decided to become a minister himself, entering a seminary after graduating from college. The eight years of study at Christian educational institutions in America taught him the importance of conscience and liberty based on Christianity, which is to live according to the will of God and to exercise the freedom only within the realm of the conscience. Neesima returned to his homeland after ten years with a strong ambition to establish a Christian university as well as to spread Christianity.

Related Information The Doshisha
This website showcases Doshisha’s educational philosophy and Doshisha Spirit.
“The Manga Story of Jo Niijima”
This page introduces a graphic novel titled ‘The Manga Story of Joseph Niijima’ published both in Japanese and English.
Harris Science Hall Doshisha Gallery
An exhibition facility located on the second floor of the Harris Science Hall