James Curtis Hepburn

1815-1911. Missionary to Japan. Born at Milton, Pennsylvania, he was converted at Princeton and decided to become a medical missionary. In 1840 he and his wife joined the Presbyterian Board, but were invalided home after five arduous years in Java, Singapore, and Amoy. In 1859 they were among the Protestant pioneers to Japan. Though preaching was forbidden, Hepburn diligently applied himself to learning Japanese while living in a Buddhist temple. A lifetime of industrious and devoted service included the opening of the first dispensary, initiating classes for medical students, inventing a system of romanizing Japanese sounds, compiling the first Japanese-English dictionary, helping to found Meiji Gakuin University, and a major part in the Japanese translation of the Bible which was completed in 1888.