February 25th, 2015
For the past 20 years, there stood a lonely monument of Japan’s very first “Native-Speaking English Teacher”, Ranald MacDonald, along Matsunomori Street of Kaminishiyama-cho in Nagasaki-City. It was erected in 1964 by the Nagasaki-Minami Rotary Club as part of their 30th Anniversary Project under then-President, Dr. Masami Obama.
Ranald MacDonald was captured as an illegal intruder on the shores of Rishiri Island in 1848; however, because of his good attitude and respectful behavior toward the Japanese people and its culture and traditions – unlike other foreign sailors who were washed ashore – he was “merely” placed under house arrest at Daihian.
At that time, the Tokugawa Shogunate was feeling the need for trained interpreters who could be effective in the English language rather than the traditional Dutch-oriented interpreters. The arrival of MacDonald, who had received a good education because of his Scottish father, Archibald MacDonald, was quite timely, and the Shogunate immediately arranged to use him as a temporary teacher of English, primarily for “conversation and pronunciation”.
The Dutch interpreters, 14 of them, commuted to Daihian for the next 7 months for Ranald’s English lessons till Ranald was forced to return to go back home. The leader and best student among the 14 was Einosuke Moriyama.
Several years later, when Commodore M. Perry of the US East Indies Squadron came to Japan to demand the Shogunate to open its door to America, Moriyama acted as a chief interpreter on behalf of the Shogunate. Subsequently, Moriyama worked hard to interpret and negotiate with the British, French, Russians, etc. Much praise of Moriyama’s language and negotiation skills were written in the records of foreign governments.
A monument dedicated to Einosuke Moriyama was (finally) dedicated on September 12, 2014 – it can be found along Matsunomori Street of Kaminishiyama-cho in Nagasaki-City, right next to the MacDonald Monument – and it is quite appropriate that the two monuments of MacDonald and Moriyama were erected side by side. Be quiet and listen! You might hear the exchange of laughter and conversation between the two. I am confident Ranald is no longer lonely there. ~ Mas Yatabe
今回、師弟関係にあったラナルド・マクドナルドと森山栄之助の顕彰碑が並列して建立された事は、実に喜ばしい！ 耳を澄ますと、二つの碑の間で往時を偲ぶ会話と笑い声が交わされているのが聞こえてくるようにさえ感じられる。 察するに、今ではラナルドも寂しさから開放されたに違いない。- 谷田部 勝
(from L to R) Dr. Masami Obama, Mas Yatabe, Kazukuni Yamazaki（Sculptor）, Michi Goto, Yuji Aisaka 小濱正美医、谷田部 勝氏、山崎和國氏（彫刻家）、後藤 道女史、逢坂祐二氏
It was a gathering of FOM members from Hokkaido, Tokyo, Aichi, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagasaki and even Holland and the U.S.A. “It was fun and enjoyable – just like a class reunion,” per Ms. Yumiko Kawamoto. 記念撮影： 森山栄之助顕彰碑除幕記念晩餐会出席者一同 出席者は北海道、東京、愛知、京都、大阪、長崎、更に海外のオランダ、アメリカ・・・と「和やか、且つ楽しく同窓会みたい！」とは河元由美子女史の弁。
November 25th, 2014
~Edward Stratton; Reprinted from The Daily Astorian, Oct. 17, 2014
The “MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund”, in honor of historical English teacher and former Astorian Ranald MacDonald, sent over, from left standing, English instructor Mayumi Nakanishi and students Ren Miyashita and Takeru Oshima. Hosting and touring them around are Astoria High School student Bryce Nurding, second from right, Masaru Yatabe, Chairman of FOM, right, and Kaheawai “KK” Kaonohi, founder of the high school’s Japanese club.
The educational exchange between Astoria and Japan, foisted on the Asian nation 166 years ago by a native Astorian bent on leaving his whaling vessel and joining its relatively closed society, restarted earlier this week.
Honoring the spirit of Ranald MacDonald, an Astoria native and Japan’s first English teacher, the ’MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund’ sent two students and their English teacher from Rishiri Island to Oregon this past week. The group has been sightseeing around Portland and shadowing their host students at Astoria High School.
“I like talking, speaking English,” said Ren Miyashita, one of the two students visiting Astoria. “I’ve never been abroad before this time.” Miyashita, in his second to last year of school, and Takeru Oshima, a senior, both come from Rishiri Island, located 12 miles west of northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The island, reachable by ferry and one flight a day, boasts a population of about 5,100. Miyashita and Oshima attend Rishiri High School, which with a total of 93 kids is about 16 percent of Astoria High School’s enrollment. Rishiri Island also includes three elementary schools and two junior high schools.
“The whole objective is to internationalize the future generations of Rishiri Island by having a couple of students come over each year so they will be ready for life in a global world,” said Masaru Yatabe, chairman of the Friends of MacDonald.
MacDonald, who was born at Fort Astoria in 1824 to a Hudson’s Bay Co. fur trader, traded his wages on the whaler for a small boat and supplies and sailed toward Rishiri Island at age 24. Nearing some native Ainu fishermen, he pulled the plug, and in his sinking boat, he became a bona fide sailor in distress. Originally imprisoned, MacDonald eventually started teaching Japanese scholars English. He became famous in Japan. Congressional reports note an interpreter asking incoming Commodore Matthew Perry, who forcibly opened Japan to trade with the U.S. in the mid-19th century, “Do you know Ranald MacDonald?”
The 26-year-old Friends of MacDonald help guide the students and teacher on their trip. They started earlier this week in Portland with sightseeing trips to the International Test Rose Gardens and Multnomah Falls. The group also met with the consulate-general of Japan in Portland, Hiroshi Furusawa. At the consulate, said Yatabe, Furusawa explained how Japan is trying to double the number of people in the Japan Exchange & Teaching Program, which sends young, college-educated English speakers to communities around Japan.
In Astoria for the past few days, Miyashita and Oshima have been attending sporting events, exploring the area and shadowing their host students, juniors Kaheawai “KK” Kaonohi and Bryce Nurding. Kaonohi, who moved to Astoria from Bend, started a Japanese club at AHS, having traveled to Japan himself over the summer. “I was part of the Japanese National Honor Society,” said Kaonohi, adding that his grandmother in Hawaii is originally from Japan.
Nurding, who’s hosted cyclists from Virginia and Sweden through hospitality exchange group Warm Showers, said he was contacted by Kaonohi and is always up for hosting and learning about different people and cultures. Miyashita and Oshima take all the classes of their host students, including math, science, language arts and other classes as they expand their English skills. They describe their peers in Astoria as freer and more open to asking questions. Yatabe and Nakanishi said that students in Japan respect the teachers more and are much less likely to speak up, often to the detriment of their own social skills.
This is the second year of the exchange through the MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund. Last year, students Tatsuya Koujiya and Yuuki Komatsu arrived in Astoria with their principal, Hiroyuki Tsukamoto. For 2016, said Yatabe, Kaonohi is trying to organize a similar trip to Rishiri Island, where he and Nurding can experience life there, although the effort will likely require raising the funds. “Then the exchange will be complete.”
On Friday, after attending the Astoria-Banks football game, the exchange group heads for a similar experience in Republic, Wash., where MacDonald died in 1894.
June 22nd, 2014
“Haku-san Chidori”, the Alpine Swamp Orchid ~ dactylorhiza aristata . There are many alpine plants which have “Hakusan” in their name because they were first discovered and named along the older hiking trails leading to Hakusan Shrine in Gifu Prefecture; however, the same plants can be found on many mountains throughout Japan – including Rishiri-Fuji. ~ photo by Eiji Nishiya
Sendai Hagi – Japanese ‘Bush Clover’ (also known as Russian False Yellow Lupine) ~ Thermopsis lupinoides. In China the aerial parts and seeds are used as a crude drug as anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and emetic (a medicine or potion that makes you vomit; the Chinese name for medicinal use is ye jue ming). ~ photo by Eiji Nishiya
June 22nd, 2014
Japanese teens learn about famous resident’s birthplace ~ By Edward Stratton, The DAILY ASTORIAN, Oct. 9, 2013
Ranald MacDonald, an Astoria native born at Fort George, landed on the Japanese island of Rishiri 165 years ago, and became the first English teacher in Japan. During October 2013, two students from Rishiri Public High School visited Astoria to improve their English skills and understanding of MacDonald’s birthplace. They departed for other locations in Washington before heading back to Japan.
Tatsuya Koujiya and Yuuki Komatsu, both 17, arrived in Astoria Oct. 6 with their principal, Hiroyuki Tsukamoto.
“The purpose of it is to encourage the students to learn English and nurture international-minded youth,” said Masaru Yatabe, chairman of the 25-year-old Friends of MacDonald and host and interpreter for the students during their visit to the U.S.
The Japanese newspaper Daily Souya reported Dec. 11 that the communities on Rishiri Island, namely Rishiri and Rishirifuji, established the MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund, encouraging students to learn English. One or two top students will be chosen each year from their English-language class and travel to Oregon and Washington to experience American life and encourage their English-language skills.
Tatsuya and Yuuki are the first recipients of the fund. They passed a standardized English test, wrote theses in Japanese about what their goals were during the visit and were interviewed by their principal, vice principal and English teacher.
Tatsuya, a senior at Rishiri, said he was hurt and unable to play for his school’s badminton team. So he looked into the study abroad fund and thought it would contribute to his future. Yuuki, who had never left Japan before, works part time at a restaurant and wants to improve his language skills for when he helps foreign customers.
Yuuki and Tatsuya moved in with the families of 15-year-old sophomores Clay Williams and Ben Williams, respectively (they are not related). They’ve been shadowing their hosts in class, visiting local tourist attractions and the MacDonald monument near Fort George. They also attended a 15-6 AHS junior varsity football victory in Tillamook.
Rishiri’s high school has 96 students compared with AHS’ more than 600. Yuuki said at first it was overwhelming, but that over time Ben and Clay have introduced him and Tatsuya to other students, and that they’ve been enjoying the last couple of days despite the language barrier.
“Anyone going to a new place would feel kind of … nervous and quiet,” said Ben Williams, who along with Clay Williams said their Japanese peers are particularly polite. “The language sometimes is a little bit of a problem.”
The relative freedom and individuality of AHS was something new to Tatsuya and Yuuki, who said their high school environment in Rishiri is much more controlled with a focus on group action.
“Sometimes we feel like we lack the structure, so it’s the meeting of the minds,” said AHS Principal Lynn Jackson about the differences.
The two students and their principal left for Spokane, Wash., this morning, bound ultimately for Republic, Wash., where MacDonald died in 1894. Yatabe said they’ll shadow more students at Curlew High School in northeastern Washington, pay respects at MacDonald’s graveside and visit Mukogawa Women’s University in Spokane, Wash. Then they will spend two days getting back to Rishiri, traveling through Spokane, Seattle, Tokyo, Sapporo, Japan, and finally home.
January 31st, 2014
2014 is already approaching February! I sincerely hope the beginning of everyone’s year has been smooth and that you all are in good health and that the year ahead will be everything you want it to be.
At 3:00 p.m. on October 6th, 2013 three Japanese – along with several Americans – were at Fort Astoria (Ft. George) National Historic Site. The three were gazing at the stone monument entitled “The Birth Place of Ranald MacDonald”. The scene was not unusual, but it was quite historic! 時は２０１３年１０月６日午後３時、数人のアメリカ人に混ざって３人の日本人がFort Astoria 史跡公園を訪れていた。３人はその一遇に建つ「マクドナルド生誕の地」と刻まれた石碑に見入っていた。それ自体珍しい光景ではなかったが、それは大変歴史的な出来事であった。
Ranald MacDonald was born at Fort Astoria (Fort George) on February 3, 1824 the son of Archibald McDonald and Princess Sunday, a daughter of Chinook Indian Chief. In 1848, Ranald – a grown to be a strong 24 year-old sailor – succeeded in landing on an a small island in the Sea of Japan off northern- most Hokkaido. At that time it was generally regarded as an unattainable venture to enter Japan; however, with the careful planning of a “faked shipwreck”, Ranald was saved by Ainu people and the result was a successful landing onto Japanese soil. Soon after that, Ranald was arrested as an unlawful intruder and was transported to Nagasaki under “house arrest” at Daihian, where the translators of Dejima were taught English by Ranald. That is why Ranald is regarded as the first Native English Teacher in Japan. ラナルド・マクドナルドは、スコットランド人アーチボルド・マクドナルドを父に、チヌーク族族長の娘、プリンセス・サンデーを母とし、ここFort Astoria (Fort George) で１８２４年２月３日に産声をあげた。そして１８４８年、２４歳のたくましい船員に成長したラナルドは北海道北端の日本海に浮かぶ利尻島への単独上陸に成功した。当時鎖国令を敷いていた日本への入国は無謀・・・と思われていたが、ラナルドは緻密な計画に従い遭難を偽装、かけつけたアイヌに救助され、結果的に目的を果たしたのだった。しかし、その後不法入国者・・・として幕府に捕えられ長崎へ護送された後、座敷牢”大悲庵”に幽閉されたが、そこで出島の通詞達に英語を教えた事が今日マクドナルドを「日本で最初のネイティブ英語教師」と位置付けている所以である。
The three Japanese at Fort Astoria were two students, Yuuki Komatsu and Tatsuya Koujiya of Rishiri High School and their principle, Mr. Hiroyuki Tsukamoto. The three had arrived at Portland International Airport a day earlier, October 5, 2013. So it was that 165 years since Ranald landed on Rishiri Island, three people from Rishiri came to visit Astoria, the birth place of Ranald MacDonald. There are only two towns on Rishiri Island: Rishiri-cho and Rishirifuji-cho. In December 2012 the citizens, the businesses and other groups in both towns got together and established “A Support Group for MacDonald Scholarship Funds” in order to support the only high school on the Island, Rishiri Senior High School. The objective is to send a few students annually to the US, in particular, to Oregon and Washington states, where Ranald had close ties – and thus encourage students to study English and assist students to acquire an “International mind and etiquette”. The next few pages are copies of newspaper articles, photos and the comments by Yuuki-kun and Tatsuya-kun from Rishiri Senior High School:
Fort Astoria に居た３人の日本人は北海道利尻高校から前日（１０月５日）ポートランド国際空港に到着した留学生の小松祐希君及び糀屋達也君と付添いの塚本宏之校長先生であった。オレゴニアン、ラナルド・マクドナルドが利尻島に上陸して以来、実に１６５年間を経た２０１３年に利尻島からの３人はラナルドの生誕地、アストリアへやって来たのであった。利尻島内には利尻町及び利尻富士町という２つの町が在るが両町の町民や企業、団体が島の将来の為協力し同島内唯一の利尻高校を支援し元気付けようと２０１２年１２月に「マクドナルド奨学基金支援の会」を立ち上げた。その趣旨は毎年何人かの利尻高校生を米国（特にマクドナルドゆかりの地、オレゴンとワシントン州）へ短期留学させ、生徒達の英語学習欲を促し、同時に国際感覚養成に役立てるというものだった。 以下、小松君及び糀屋君のオレゴン及びワシントン州への第１回留学に関する新聞記事や写真、両君の感想等を掲載させて頂く：
ご報告： ２０１３年５月１１日のＦＯＭ年次総会席上ご承認頂きました「ＦＯＭよりマクドナルド奨学基金 支援の会への寄付１０口分として￥５０,０００」を実行致しました。
Report: We have donated 50,000 yen to The MacDonald Scholarship Fund in Rishiri Island from FOM General Funds per approval during the annual luncheon meeting in Astoria on May 11, 2013.
ＦＯＭ Chairman 谷田部 勝／Masaru “Mas” Yatabe
* * * * *
朝日新聞 – Asahi Shimbun
Our Overall Impressions
3年 小松 祐希/Yuuki Komatsu, Senior
僕は今回、アメリカ研修留学に行って本当によかったと思っています。 それは、たくさんの人に出会い、たくさんの事を学び、広く視野を広げることが出来たからです。ですが、１つ後悔をした事が在ります。それは「もっと英語の勉強をしておけばよかった」ということです。 アメリカでの生活の中で1番困ったのが「英会話」でした。あまり英語が話せなくても楽しく8日間をすごすことができましたが、ちゃんと英語が話せればもっともっと楽しく充実した8日間になったのかな。と思うととても悔しく思いました。来年度からもこの事業が続いて行くという事なので、次回の留学生には僕のように後悔をせず心からアメリカでの生活を楽しんできてもらいたいです。なので、学校での英語勉強の徹底をした方がいいと思いました。このような体験ができたのもマクドナルド奨学金支援の会の方々や利尻町、利尻富士町両町のご支援ご協力があったからです。今回学んだことを残りの高校生活、そして卒業後の学生生活に活かしていこうと思います。この度は、本当にありがとうございました。
I am truly glad that I went to America to study this time. It enabled me to meet many people, learn many things and gave me a broader perspective. However, I do have one regret: I should have studied English harder. The most troublesome thing for me was English conversation. It made me feel sorry when I realized the 8 days would have been a lot more enjoyable if I had had better command of English – even though those 8 days were fun days. I understand that this program will continue on to next year and beyond; I hope future participants will enjoy the experience fully and without regret. Therefore, it will be a good idea to make sure the student(s) study English seriously and with diligence. I was able to have this valuable experience because of the assistance and cooperation of the people of ‘MacDonald Scholarship Fund Support Group’ and the Towns of Rishiri and Rishirifuji. I intend to apply and utilize what I learned to the rest of my High School life and my life after graduation. Thank you very much.
2年 糀屋 達也/Tatsuya Koujiya, Junior
Studying abroad was a very good experience for me and visiting America for the first time gave me many surprises. I will always remember going to school in America and exchanging ideas with the students I met. The most enjoyable thing was to go to class together (with American students) even though we had language difficulty and had to depend on our hands and body gestures a lot for communication. I was alone among foreigners for a few days during the home stay, and I gained confidence in myself when I was able to work out a problem by myself. In the future I hope I can apply the worldwide perspective which I gained through experiencing the cultural differences between Japan and America during the study tour, experiences I could not have enjoyed had I stayed in Japan. Last, but not least, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the people of the Towns of Rishiri and Rishirifuji and the members of ‘MacDonald Scholarship’ funds. If I could go again next year, I would love to.
July 6th, 2013
A new book entitled “Ranald・MacDonald” has been written by FOM International member and English teacher, Ms. Yuko Imanishi, who lives in the suburb of Nagoya, Japan. The book is being published by “Bungeisha Co., Inc.” with a release date of June 15, 2013 [the price is ￥1,400 plus tax].
The book is written in Japanese and 218 pages long and is described as the story of an American who entered Japan when the nation was closed to the outsiders and ended up being the first “native English-speaking” English teacher in Japan [5 years prior to Commodore Perry’s first visit to Japan in 1853.]
Ms. Imanishi came across the story of Ranald MacDonald in 2009 during a visit to her friend in Astoria, Oregon while on vacation in May of that year. Imanishi first saw the Ft. Astoria birthplace monument of MacDonald while taking a walk in this small town off the Pacific Ocean. It was quite an awakening for her when she read the inscribed words “the first English teacher in Japan”. An English teacher herself, Ms. Imanishi became intrigued; she studied and read many books about MacDonald, leading to a fascination with this remarkable American. MacDonald’s adventurous, fearless and forward-looking attitude – which was based on his belief that all people are basically the same – stimulated Imanishi’s imagination and her ‘need’ to write about him. MacDonald’s positive attitude and belief in people and his subsequent fearless endeavor in Japan was quite unusual – even unthinkable – under the iron fist of the Shogunate at that time. How incredible was MacDonald’s “story” and yet how little-known it remained! This realization fueled Imanishi’s desire to write a book that would enlighten more people in Japan about the extraordinary individual named Ranald MacDonald.
今西女史は２００９年５月の連休に友人を訪ね初めてオレゴン州アストリアを訪れた際、ラナルド・マクドナルドの物語に出会った。 太平洋に面した田舎町アストリアを散策中、史跡フォート・アストリアで“マクドナルド生誕の地”と書かれた記念碑に出くわし、更に「日本で最初の英語教師」と日本語で刻まれて居る文字を読み驚きを覚えた。 彼女自身英語教師でもあった事から興味をそそがれ、マクドナルドに関する本を読み、研究するに従い、この偉大なるアメリカ人の虜になった。 マクドナルドの冒険心と恐れを知らない、基本的に人間は皆同じ・・・との信念に基ずく前向きな態度に心を打たれた今西女史は想像力を掻き立てられ、彼に関して本を書く必要性に迫られた。マクドナルドの前向きな姿勢と人間への信条、恐れを知らない日本での行動は異常・・・と言うか、当時の鉄拳将軍の時代には到底考えられない事であった。 しかし、このマクドナルドの信じ難い“物語”はごく限られた人にしか知られて居ないのも現実である！この事に業を煮やした今西女史は、より多くの日本人にラナルド・マクドナルドなる偉大なる人物をもっと知り理解してもらいたいとの啓発心から、本書執筆に踏み切ったのであった。
July 5th, 2013
In the course of explaining exactly what and who the Friends of MacDonald are to our guests and new members, the idea and concept – if not the actual words themselves – of “Gates Ajar” pops up. This expression and these words are more than just the name of our committee’s newsletter.
When asked, we usually begin by explaining that Ranald MacDonald – though not the “first” person to do so – was the first native-English speaking person to “teach” English in Japan. Following this explanation, it has often been asked just how the 14 samurai who were Ranald’s pupils could have picked up their English proficiency so quickly – in a mere 7-months time. No doubt each of these men were ‘special’ in their own way, obviously being of high rank in Japan and quite capable, otherwise they would not have been among those chosen for the special assignment of learning English from this very peculiar and unusual foreigner. The truth is, most, if not all, of these men were already ‘employed’ as translators and cold have been considered linguistics experts; each had been studying English, perhaps for years, from the Dutch translators at Dejima. Their Dutch teacher/translators, however, spoke far from ‘perfect’ English. Using Moriyama Einosuke (perhaps the best known of Ranald’s pupils) as our example, we know that when he first met with Ranald he could already read and write English with a certain amount of fluency, and history tells us that Moriyama could also “speak” English, though with such such a heavy Dutch accent so as to be frustratingly unintelligible to native English speakers. But Moriyama and the others could read and write in English; they understood basic English vocabulary and syntax – all that was needed was some rather intense work on pronunciation, and Ranald was more than up to the task.
But back to the expression “Gates Ajar”. What could this rather ambiguous catchphrase mean in the context of an historical committee?
When Ranald approached Japan in July of 1848 her borders were sealed, her windows, doors and gates closed and virtually locked tight against the influences of the outside world. But by the time he left 10 months later there was a small breach in Japan’s armor, and the gates had been left open just a bit … ajar.
The third issue of the FOM newsletter, dated Fall 1989, introduced its distinctive title of “Gates Ajar”. There really is no mystery: the phrase comes from page 98 of MacDonald’s own autobiography where he wrote: “… I came thus to play my humble part in the drama of ‘Gates Ajar’, of west and east, in the world of the Pacific.”
May 15th, 2013
Friends of MacDonald tend the flame of a great 19th century adventurer
Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 9:11 a, Daily Astorian
In the pantheon of 19th century adventurers, Ranald MacDonald’s story is one of the more astounding. Born at Fort Astoria in 1824, MacDonald was the child of a Scotsman and a Chinook Indian princess, daughter of Chief Comcomly. He went to sea on a whaling vessel, with the intention to be shipwrecked in Japan, which had excluded foreigners for some 200 years. MacDonald’s plan worked, and he brought the English language to Japan.
Writing in Eminent Astorians, Frederik L. Schodt says MacDonald: “ … is a classic example of an individual who, overcoming great odds, did something heroic then fell through the cracks of history.”
Over lunch last Saturday at the Bridgewater Bistro, the Friends of MacDonald held its 25th annual meeting. The Friends group had its genesis following the 1988 placement of a memorial stone at Fort Astoria park. On that marker, MacDonald’s story is told in English and Japanese. Local leadership from then-Astoria librarian Bruce Berney and Japanese money were the winning combination.
The Japanese make a bigger deal of MacDonald than we Americans. A woman from Kyoto traveled to the Friends of MacDonald lunch, as did the Japanese Consul from Portland.
It is said that through biography we give life to the dead. Reminding Astorians that a story of global accomplishment began here is important. The Friends’ gathering reminds us that the Columbia-Pacific region has long been a cultural crossroads.
Cities are living things. They are in a constant cycle of deterioration, death and renewal. And they have memories.
February 10th, 2013
The “Daily Souya” newspaper, dated Dec. 11, 2012, reports that a scholarship fund named “MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund” has been established on Rishiri Island. A committee to support and manage the Fund has also been formed with Mr. Kyoji Furukawa as its first President. Since the beginning of 2012 the leaders of Rishiri Island held a series of meetings intended to get the ground work done for devising a scholarship fund which would benefit the students of the only public high school on the island and in particular to encourage them to study English. One or two top students will be chosen from the English-language class and will be sent to America – to Oregon and/or Washington – to experience American life and to further encourage their English language skills. The program hopes to nurture the type of “internationally-minded person” who will become a human asset to Rishiri Island and will help to sustain the prosperous and happy life-style of Rishiri Island. Committee members hope that this program will encourage more students to attend Rishiri Public High School [whose student body is in decline]. We at Friends of MacDonald happily and enthusiastically go “on record” in fully supporting the “MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund” and it’s exchange program.
For those of you who are interested in assisting this fledgling program by either donating funds or hosting a student from Rishiri – or both – please contact Friends of MacDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org .
January 9th, 2013
“Nanakorobi Yaoki” is translated to mean “seven times down, eight times up” – another way to say “never give up hope”.
The Daruma is a traditional Japanese doll modeled after Bodhi Dharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. Daruma has a design that is rich in symbolism and is regarded as a talisman of good luck to the Japanese. These ‘dolls’ are seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck, making them a popular gift of encouragement. They are usually made of papier-mâché, have a round shape, are hollow, and weighted at the bottom in a way that each doll will always return to an upright position when tipped over. This characteristic has come to symbolize the ability to have success, overcome adversity, and recover from misfortune. Due to this, Daruma is often illustrated alongside the phrase “Nanakorobi Yaoki”, translated to mean “seven times down, eight times up”, another way to say “never give up hope”. The eyes of Daruma are often blank when sold. The recipient of the doll fills in one eye upon setting the goal, then the other upon fulfilling it. In this way, every time they see the one-eyed Daruma, they recall the goal.
Knowing what we do about Ranald and his seemingly boundless desire and energy to explore and participate in his world, I can easily imagine that he would have been delighted to have had a Daruma – with all of the projects he managed to document, it’s likely he would have used up several of them in his lifetime. If there is anyone we can think of that epitomized the notion of “try, try again” it definitely was our friend Ranald MacDonald.