Joshi Seigakuin - School in Japan
Robert A. Long was a successful businessman in lumber in the Kansas City area. His mother, Margaret K. Long, had wanted him to enter full-time Christian service, but he chose a career in business.
Mr. Long’s first interest in missions in any large way came through his support of city missions in Kansas City and the work of the Foreign Christian Missionary Society. He was a strong believer in Christian Missions and gave generously to the support of their work around the world.
The aim of the Japanese government in the early 1900’s was that there would not be an ignorant family in any village, or an ignorant member in any family. For a long time the schools were not free and the requirement of tuition excluded many of the poorest children from the schools. This was an opportunity for the missionaries. They took these children and taught them and gave them a start in life.
In 1904 there were few high schools for girls in Japan. Mr. Long gave a gift of $5,000 to the foreign missions in 1905 to help facilitate the beginning of the Joshi Seigakuin (Girls School of Holiness, a Bible training school) in a suburb of Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Long’s gift for the establishment of that school was a tribute to his mother. The school opened in a rented house in November of that year and was known in the United States as the Margaret K. Long School for Girls. Mr. Long eventually gave more than $50,000 to that institution which was used to purchase land and start construction of the permanent buildings.
In 1906 ground was purchased, plans were drawn and work on the permanent buildings began in the autumn. The summer of 1907 construction was finished and the school was transferred to its new facility. The building was of frame and two stories high. There were seven classrooms, dormitory accommodations for fifty girls, a chapel, library, waiting-rooms, offices, dining room, kitchen, and a comfortable seven-roomed home for the foreign teachers in charge.
The school began with twelve girls and three full time teachers. The courses taught included not only Christian studies but also the following:
History, Geography, Literature, Composition, Penmanship, Music, English, Sewing, Etiquette, and Flower Arranging.
For more than 100 years the school for boys, then known as Seigakuin Boys School, and the school for girls (the Margaret K. Long School), known as Joshi Seigakuin, has been providing education for the young people of Japan.
Today, what was once known as the Margaret K. Long School for Girls is part of the Seigakuin School system in Japan. There is also a kindergarten program, a primary school, a junior high, and a college. Their educational motto is: “Study with all your mind, Play with all your might, and Pray with all your heart”.
When R. A. Long gave money for building a girls’ school in Japan, he little realized that his “long shadow” would touch the lives of countless young men and young women through endless generations in Japan, East Asia, and around the world.