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“Japan’s Diplomatic Relations Began with Drifters”

Friday, September 29th, 2017

A symposium entitled “Japan’s Diplomatic Relations Began with Drifters was held at Yui no Mori Arakawa in Tokyo on July 17, 2017. Panelists included Mr. Frederik Schodt, author of ‘Native American in the Land of the Shogun’, and Tokyo- based author/scholar Ms. Sen Ishida; the moderator was author Natsuo Sekikawa, board member of the Japan Writers’ Association. Page 3 is a write-up of the symposium from the ‘Weekly Dokushojin’ publication; Mrs. Yumiko Kawamoto’s report on the symposium can be found below. The following is a flyer that was circulated for this event:

日本文藝家協会著作権管理部    各都市巡回文藝イベント  第10 回      東京

シンポジウム

漂流民から始まった対外関係

— 吉村昭を再読する―

鎖国下の日本に、外国語を習得しようと、また、翻訳を試みようとした人々がいました。辞書も無く手探りで学ぶ困   難さ、そして異文化への強い憧れと知識欲。吉村作品の「海の祭礼」「冬の鷹」に描かれた時代と人を、吉村昭記念文  学館があるゆいの森あらかわにて語り合います。[シンポジウムは日本語で行います]

パネリスト      フレデリック・ショット

(日本マンガおよび漂流民研究者・同時通訳者)

石田    千(作家)

進 行      関川夏央(作家)

日 時 2017年 7月17日(祝日・海の日) 14時~16時

会 場 ゆいの森あらかわ         1 階ゆいの森ホール     東京都荒川区荒川 2‐50‐1

入場料無   料  (要予約)

* 終了後、作家との茶話会を開催いたします。会費:500 円(要予約)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

History’s Accidental “Ambassadors” ~~ report by Yumiko Kawamoto

「漂流民から始まった対外関係」参加レポート    河元 由美子

日本文芸協会主催のシンポジウム「漂流民から始まった対外関係―吉村昭を再読する―」が 2017 年 7 月

17 日(月)14:00-16:00、ゆいの森あらかわ(東京都荒川区荒川 2-

50-1)1 階ホールで盛大に行われた。文芸協会の web 上の「お知らせ」には「鎖国下の日本に、外国語を習得しようと、また、翻訳を試みようとした人がいました。手探りで学ぶ困難さ、そして異文化への強い憧れと知識欲。吉村昭作品の『海の祭礼』『冬の鷹』に描かれた時代と人を、吉村記念文学館があるゆいの森あらかわで語り合います。(シンポジウムは日本語で行います)」という文面がある。一般参加者にはわかりやすい説明文である。

参加申し込みはあっという間に定員の 120 名を越し、主催者は定員外で参加不可の人たちへの対応に苦労したそうである。

吉村昭は海外でも翻訳書が多くよく読まれている人気作家で、その緻密な取材力には定評がある。現地取材と文献による裏付けがしっかりしており、しばしば研究者からも参考にされているが、彼自身の言葉によるとどうしても事実と事実がつながらない場合は想像力でその狭間を補うと言っている。そのフィクションの部分と事実が大変よくつながっているので感心するのだが、やはり研究者は自分で「事実」を確認しなければならない。

このシンポジウムの構成人員は 3 人で、モデレーターの関川夏央氏(作家)、石田千氏(作家)、そして我らがレデリック・ショット氏である。進行役の関川氏が『海の祭礼』に従ってマクドナルドの生い立ちから日本訪問、帰国後の動静、晩年までを説明、話の山になる部分を石田氏が朗読、彼女の落ち着いた明快な声が耳に快い。冒頭の部分(マクドナルドの利尻上陸の部分、アイヌの人々によって助けられ、保護される場面)、次いでマクドナルドの回想に入り、プリマス号から離れ、一人焼尻島に上陸する場面(トドの群れにピストルを発射)、長崎到着の場面(長崎奉行の取り調べ、踏み絵をさせられる、森山栄之助との出会い)、座敷牢での英語教授(マクドナルドの日本語単語の収集、通詞たちが蘭英辞書の発音を確かめる、マクドナルドの温和な性格が日本人に好感を与える、熱心な生徒たち、日本語単語帳に長崎方言が混じる)、森山の晩年(疲れ切って健康を害し、全盛期の勢いがなくなり、寂しい晩年だった)、などが石田氏の朗読場面だったように思う。その合間に関川氏とショット氏の軽妙なやり取りが交差する。ショット氏の流暢な日本語に聴衆はすっかり魅了され、ときどきその当意即妙な答えに会場が沸く。マクドナルドといえば必ず登場するショット氏である。語り慣れているとは言え、いつもながらその知識の深さと完ぺきな表現力には感心させられる。「もし踏み絵を強要されたら?」とか、「深くお辞儀をするのに抵抗があるか」とか、「クジラを食べたいか」とか時には本題を離れた質問に笑い声が起こった。脱線も関川氏の作戦か、和やかで楽しい 2 時間があっという間に過ぎた。質疑応答は会場を開ける時間が決まっているのでなかった。その代わりシンポのあと、30 分ほどパネリストと参加者の交流ティータイムが用意された。私はこの会に出なかったので様子はわからないが、文芸社の小俣さんが撮った写真を見るとリラックスしたよい雰囲気が伝わってくる。会場に来た 120 人の人はすっかりマクドナルドの存在が頭に焼き付けられたことだろう。関川氏もよく事前勉強をされ、会の流れを巧みに操縦したと思う。会場整理の文芸社社員もよく効率よく働いていた。大成功だった。

吉村昭は荒川区東日暮里の生まれで長く荒川区に住んでいた。吉村昭文学記念館が荒川区に新しく創設された

「ゆいの森あらかわ」の 2 階に「吉村昭コーナー」として収まった。

吉村の作品、彼の書斎にあった書籍類、膨大な執筆資料、原稿などが集められ、彼の書斎まで復元され、愛用のペンや机などがそのまま置かれている。吉村ファンにとってはまことにありがたい場所である。

シンポの行事が終わり、関係者は吉村氏行きつけの中華料理店に移動した。関川、ショット、文芸協会のスタッフ、講談社と新潮社のもと編集員、ともに吉村昭担当のベテラン編集者、私と友人の 12,3 人が丸いテーブルを囲み乾杯、そして次々運ばれてくる料理を食べながら歓談。前夜のホテルで冷房のスイッチが見つからず地獄の一夜を過ごしたショットさんに同情が集まる。そう、日本列島どこでもまるで焦熱地獄のような気温だったのだ。7 月 14 日に羽田に着いたショット氏はすぐ長崎に飛び、森山栄之助顕彰碑を見に行った。長崎のホテルには小濱先生、前田氏が表敬訪問、翌日は前田氏の案内で松の森神社参道にある森山顕彰碑とマク

ドナルド顕彰碑をカメラに収める。東京に引き返し取材やシンポの打合せで休みなしの強行軍、それもひどい暑さと闘いながら・・、涼しいサンフランシスコからの賓客にはまことに過酷な滞在だったことに深く同情する。

食卓での話題はなぜMacDonald なのか、McDonald との違いは何かで始まった。ショット氏の答えは

「どうでもいい」、これに満足しない面々はさらに追及、私に意見がもとめられたので、私も「どうでもい い」と。山崎をヤマザキ、ヤマサキふた通りの読み方がある。本人がヤマサキだといえばみなそれを尊重してヤマサキさんと呼ぶだろう。斎藤にも斎もあれば斉もある。要するに名前は本人がどう読むか、どう書くかで決まるのではないか。「座敷牢」は英語で何というかの質問に、座敷ではない、あれは「牢」なのだという答

え、ご名答。座敷とは畳の敷いてある部屋という意味でしかも 3 畳ぐらいの広さしかない。健康でアウトドア派の若者にはとてもつらい環境だ。なるほど座敷と牢のどちらがキーワードか、考えるチャンスをもらった。蛇足ながらマクドナルドが別れのあいさつで「ソイナラ」と言ったという発言があった。SOINARA では なく SIONARA の読み違え書き違えではないか。SIO なら   サイオと読める。今の日本人はヘボン式で読む 習慣があるが、 SI をサイとなぜ読まないのか、サイオナラならより「さようなら」(Good bye)に近づく

ではないか。

A Very Special Gathering

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

We knew it was going to be a special meeting as soon as we got off the elevator on the second floor of the Heritage Museum in Astoria – we were not ‘late’, but we found the hallway filled with FOM members and guests chatting and patiently waiting to enter the gallery area of the old, Circa 1904 Astoria City Hall.  We were thrilled to see so many familiar faces – and a number of new faces as well. We – all of the Friends of MacDonald members – are pleased and gratified that our membership stays strong.  It is often difficult for organizations such as ours to remain healthy over the years; that said, we feel that our success stems from the allure Ranald MacDonald himself. As far as historical figures go, I think I speak for all of our members when I say that Ranald is definitely one of the more interesting characters to spring out of the Pacific Northwest, if not America itself.

We began our meeting by welcoming charter member and former FOM Chairman Prof. Stephan Kohl, former chairman Jim Mockford, and author of ‘Ranald MacDonald: Pacific Rim Adventurer’, JoAnn Roe, who, at age 93, drove BY HERSELF to Astoria from Bellingham, WA to be with us at this year’s luncheon. We were also honored to have Consul General and Mrs. Uchiyama of the Japan Consular Office in Portland, Chinook Council Vice Chair Sam Robinson and his better half Mildred (who entertained us with Chinook drums and songs of gratitude to the Creator who watches over us all), and local Chinook artist Charles Funk and his wife Mary. Members of Clan Donald were also in attendance, as well as visitors from Montana and Japan. Jim Mockford reminded us of our history as a Committee of the Clatsop County Historical Society, and – with occasional corroboration from Professor Kohl – told the story of the early days of FOM when Bruce Berney of Astoria and the late Mas Tomita of Epson Portland (among others) work against all odds to establish FOM. ~ Chairman Mas Yatabe

 

 

 

International Ranald MacDonald Prize awarded to Fred Schodt

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Amsterdam, September 11, 2016 ~~  The Cultural Public Benefit Organization awarding the prize, Friends of MacDonald • The Dutch Connection,  abbreviated as FOM NL, would not have existed if Frederik L. Schodt had not written a biography of Ranald MacDonald (1824-1894). In his Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan (Stone Bridge Press, Albany CA, 2003) he brings to life a ‘true cultural and racial hybrid—in the best sense of the word— (who) assumes heroic proportions because of his success in carving his own path in life, in an often unfriendly world’, in short, an example to follow. But, besides this book, Schodt – he calls himself a niche writer – has written many other works on related subjects, essays, historiography and translations. Therefore FOM NL granted him a special prize of 2500 euro for his oeuvre.

On October 11, 1848, year of revolutions in Europe and the gold rush in California, Japan still being ‘closed’, Ranald MacDonald met in Nagasaki with the Japanese ‘Dutch Interpreters’ and the Dutch ‘opperhoofd’, ‘chief’. This small event, which made it to the headlines in the Dutch newspapers because ‘the opening of Japan’ was hot in those days, was the reason to choose October 11th for the annual award ceremony.

The “International Ranald MacDonald Prize” will be awarded annually to the work of a debut writer or artist which is exceptionally ‘true, good and beautiful’ and sheds new light on the relations between Asia, Europe and North America. The novel In het licht van wat wij weten / In the light of what we know (Hollands Diep, Amsterdam, 2015) by Zia Haider Rahman fits this description precisely. Indeed, this book is so comprehensive, so wide ranging and has, eventually, such a remarkable outcome, that the first winner exceeded all expectations. Its quality will be the touchstone for any future award. The prize amounts to 5000 euro and the ceremony was held October 11, 2016.

~Fred Dijs   http://www.friendsofmacdonald.nl/en/2016/09/press-release/

 

FOM-NL “The Dutch Connection”

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

The First Ranald Macdonald Prize to be awarded on October 11, 2016

Long ago, in 1993, I took a trip to Indonesia, and ever since then I have searched for some thread I could follow that connects Holland westward – not eastward – to the Far East. Fifteen years later I found this thread in Frederik Schodt’s biography of Ranald MacDonald. In 2008, my best friend Josje-Marie Vrolijk and I traveled westward around the world in the footsteps of Archibald McDonald and Ranald MacDonald. That was when we met you, the Friends of MacDonald. The trip was so inspiring that I became a very good friend of both Ranald and his modern friends.

My father died in 1999, and when my mother passed away in 2011 I decided to use the inheritance, earned by them in the private sector, for something useful in the public sector. That is how the idea for the Ranald MacDonald Award was conceived. But it needed some time to gestate. The name of the foundation, The Friends of MacDonald • The Dutch Connection, was inspired by a nickname Bruce Berney kindly gave Josje and me during our 2008 trip, and the foundation itself was formally established on November 12, 2015. It would not have been possible without a little help from my friends, actually without much help, from many friends, including you. And I am very grateful to all. 

Frederik Schodt suggested having the award ceremony on October 11 of every year, in commemoration of that Wednesday in 1848, when Ranald MacDonald arrived in the bay of Nagasaki on the Tenjinmaru and was met by the Japanese government’s interpreter, Einosuke Moriyama, and the Dutch trading factor, Joseph H. Levyssohn. I was very happy with this idea, because this small meeting beautifully symbolizes the meeting of ‘the West’ coming from “the East”; the “East” in this case being on the spot in Nagasaki and ‘the West’ coming from the true west—a directional meeting that I have long been intrigued by, and which shall always be central in the works we are henceforth going to commemorate. So, in the official papers of FOM NL, as we have abbreviated the name, October 11 is now the official date for the award ceremony.

For details about the prize, please visit the website of the foundation and/or its Facebook page (see below). For a short explanation, the text on our business cards should suffice:  “Friends of MacDonald • The Dutch Connection – a Cultural Public Benefit Organization which tries to advance insight in relations between Asia, Europe and North America. Its major activity is to grant the ‘Ranald MacDonald Prize’ to a young writer or artist whose work sheds new light on those relations. The prize amounts to 5000 Euros and will be announced every October 11.”

I suspect there is one thing readers of this description might consider odd: the award is Pan-Asian, Pan-European and Pan-North-American, which might seem to be too much to put on the shoulders of one individual like Ranald. But on the other hand, Ranald MacDonald was very much like you and me, operating in a highly unbalanced world. And it seems to me that we are all living again in a highly unbalanced world. Just as Ranald MacDonald cannot be understood without understanding the world he lived in, so, too, are we unable to understand ourselves without understanding the world that surrounds us. FOM NL therefore seeks to recognize and encourage the work of people who can help us understand what is happening. I like to think that Ranald MacDonald would be very happy with our goal, and I hope you agree.

As I write this, it is August 17, or “Hari Proklamasi” or Independence Day, in Indonesia, where I was born. At FOM NL we are now judging some fifty  works of writers and artists from all over the Northern Hemisphere, and we are trying very hard to select just one. This is not easy, because, frankly, the applicants all really deserve the award. But in the process of deciding, the name of Ranald MacDonald will become better known in the Netherlands – and every year one modern individual will be very surprised to receive an award named after him. Is not that amazing?

Fred Dijs, Secretary,  FOM • The Dutch Connection  

Our Largest Group Yet!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Our largest group yet!  A hearty “thank you” to those attending this years’ Friends of MacDonald Membership meeting!  Especially wonderful was being able to host members of Clan Donald, North Pacific Region, Clan Donald USA, who delighted the rest of us with their colorful Tartans and splendid bagpipes!  We also want to welcome and acknowledge Consul General Kojiro Uchiyama, the new head of the Consular Office of Japan in Portland, and his wife Karen, herself a native of Montana, Fr. Dale Johnson and Rev. Deacon George Konig of the Syriac Orthodox Church, who work with refugees in Turkey and Germany, Rex and Keiko Ziak of Astoria, representing the Obon Society, a Japanese-American NPO art history project dedicated to the documenting, exhibiting and return of personal artifacts and personal memorabilia taken as battlefield souvenirs during World War II, and Mr. Koichi Higuchi (who came all the way from Tokyo just to attend our meeting – Mr. Higuchi is kneeling next to our Chairman in the front row; both are wearing FOM t-shirts designed by Mr. Higuchi.) 

                Over the past year we have been able to introduce Friends of MacDonald to new and different groups.  As you might remember, in July 2015 our Chairman gave a power point presentation to a group of 30 young English teachers who were taking part in Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs program entitled “Japan-US Training and Exchange Program for English Language Teachers”.  The presentation was a resounding success, so much so that Portland was again chosen to host another group in August 2016.  This is significant since only three US cities are chosen to host each year.  When these teachers go back to Japan and present what they have ‘learned’ during their time here in the US, they will spread the story of Ranald MacDonald to a new generation of students, aided by FOM’s gift of the book “Unsung Hero” (written by Atsumi Tsukimori of Spokane) that was presented to each of the participants last July (as will happen again this August).  Also part of this year’s presentation will again be FOM’s “Storyteller Laureate”, Mr. Alton Takiyama Chung. 

Members of Clan Donald pose with FOM Chairman Mas Yatabe in front of the MacDonald birthplace monument

 

Japanese students tour in the spirit of Ranald MacDonald

Tuesday, 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?”

Traveling Oregon

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.

Students trace MacDonald back to Astoria

Sunday, 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.

***

Happy 2014 A Little Bit Late

Friday, 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.

2014年ももうじき2月を迎えようとしておりますが、FOM会員の皆様にとり、健康でスムーズな年初めであった事、そして残り11ヶ月余が充実した時になる事・・・を念じて居ります。

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

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朝日新聞 Asahi Shimbun

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

今回の留学研修は自分にとってとてもためになり研修となりました。初めてアメリカに行き、たくさんの驚きがありました。特に僕が印象に残っているのは、むこうの学校に行き、生徒と交流をした事です。言葉がなかなか通じない中、身振り手振りでコミュニケーションをとり、一緒に授業を受けたことが一番楽しかったです。又、ホームステイなどでは、一人で外国人の中に入っていって何日間か過ごしました。そのなかで困ったときにも自分でしっかり対処できたことにより、少し自信を持つことができました。今回の研修で日本とアメリカの文化の違いを体験したことで、日本にいただけでは感じることのできなかった世界観や視野をこれからの進路にいかしていきたいと思います。最後になりましたが、利尻町、利尻富士町のみなさん、そしてマクドナルド基金のみなさんには、ご支援いただき、このような機会を作っていただいたことに深く感謝します。来年ももし行く機会があれば、また行ってみたいです。

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.

Why ‘Gates Ajar’?

Friday, July 5th, 2013

2013 05 11 Astoria

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.”

FOM Annual Membership Meeting May 2011

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

The annual membership luncheon of the Friends of MacDonald, chaired by Mas Yatabe, was held on May 14, 2011 at the Baked Alaska Restaurant in Astoria, OR.  Notable people among the attendees were Consul General of Japan Takamichi Okabe and his wife, Kozue, Dr. Stephen Kohl, author and retired professor of East Asian Languages & Literatures at the University of Oregon and his wife, Katie, and representing the Chinook Nation, Councilman Charles Funk and his wife, Mary.  Also in attendance were McAndrew “Mac” burns, Executive Director of Clatsop County Historical Society and his daughter.

The agenda included a State of the Organization and financial report presented by Chairman Mas Yatabe. Also discussed was a plan to distribute Unsung Hero, written by Atsumi McCauley and illustrated by Mariko King.  Unsung Hero, a bilingual children’s book about the young adventurer, Ranald MacDonald, is written in both Japanese and English text with full-page, color illustrations.  It is the intention of Friends of MacDonald to present gift copies to local Astoria elementary schools as well as to selected elementary schools in the greater Portland/Clark County area.  Councilman Charlie Funk brought news that the Chinook Indian Nation, the State of Washington, and the National Park Service are working together to develop a new national park unit. This unit, named “Chinook Middle Village – Station Camp”, and authorized by Congress in 2004, will focus on the first 30 years of the relationship between the Chinook and the United States, a period of time that encompassed the Lewis and Clark Expedition as well as the founding of Astoria, and will most certainly focus on the life and times of Concomly, the principal chief of the Chinook Confederacy and grandfather of Ranald MacDonald.

This new national park unit will be directly adjacent to Fort Columbia State Park and is hoped to be open in 2011.

Alice Yatabe, who developed the website for Friends of MacDonald, discussed the organization’s original mission, reading from a letter written in April 1991 by Donald Sterling, FOM Charter Member, long-time journalist and past-President of the Oregon Historical Society.  Yatabe quoted Sterling as calling Ranald MacDonald “the personification of the early contacts between the West and Japan in the mid-19th Century”, and encouraged the Friends to continue to assemble and disseminate information about a wide range of related subjects rather than concentrate only on MacDonald’s own life and adventures.  Yatabe pointed out that FOM was currently doing this by re-connecting with the Chinook Nation as well as with  Clan McDonald, both in the USA and Scotland – and by FOM’s on-going close relationship with Friends of MacDonald Japan.

As the informal luncheon came to a close those in attendance were treated to a beautiful solo rendition of Chidori No Kyoku performed by Mrs. Kozue Okabe on koto before everyone moved to the MacDonald Birthplace Monument on the corner of 15th and Exchange Streets, the site of the original Ft. Astoria, for a group photo.

2011-05-14-fom-group-photo-cropped