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Yuzuru Neeshima

1843-1890. Japanese Christian leader. Born of Samurai stock in Edo (now Tokyo), he was determined to bring the learning of the West to Japan and secretly fled his country in 1864. He finally reached Boston, where the ship's owner befriended him. Schooling and seminary followed his conversion, and in 1874 the sensitive and frail Neeshima, fired with a desire to evangelize his own people, was commissioned as a missionary by the Congregational Church. In 1875 he founded in Kyoto, the stronghold of Buddhism, the first Christian school in Japan, calling it the Doshisha (“one purpose society”). Undaunted by broken health, he worked passionately to give his students an education that united sound biblical teaching with the highest academic standards. He died from overwork when only forty-six.