The Women's Foreign Missionary Society sent Mary to Nagasaki, Japan in 1905, after 5 years in Manila and Singapore. Upon her arrival at the Kawassui Jo Gakko, she organized the Kindergarten Normal Department. She also established a kindergarten in the YMCA and one for the children of the Japanese women who coaled the boats in Nagasaki Harbor. She left the Kindergarten in the care of her top student, Takamori O Fuji San in April 1910, when she returned to Cleveland because of poor health.

Takamori O Fuji San was a daughter of a samuri family from the region around Mt. Fuji, who was entrusted to the care of the missionaries as a young child after the death of her father.


Japan, Major Work

After Sister Mary's strenuous work in the Malay States mission and subsequent heading up of the Singapore School, she suddenly broke down. Her kindergarten and primary teachers, whom she had  trained, were adequate to carry on those departments and a substitute for the principal’s position was found. So she left for home  in America on furlough. lt was while she was at home that she  received a call to go to Japan.

Since the strings around the bundles of letters in the old trunk  have broken, I have to depend on memories to get a chron- ological account of events in Japan. There she did her greatest work  of her Asian experiences in connection with Kuassui jo Gakko School in Nagaski. As you shall see, she established three kinder- gartens. One in the Y.M.C.A., one for the children of women who coaled the boats, and one at Kwassui Jo Gakko.

"Our steamer making for port was plowing through great ocean waves at top speed. Everyone was on deck, when suddenly someone exclaimed ’Fujiama’. There against the sky was the snow- capped Fuji, half concealed by low lying clouds, which soon lifted and the mountain revealed herself in all her splendor. One felt a certain kinship to these people who feel the beauty and wonder and mystery of nature, as evidenced by their love of this superb mountain in their midst. I saw their landscaped gardens and the marvelous things they could do with flowers, their terraced gardens. Soon l learned to love these people and to admire the manner in which they  made the most of any little spot of ground. I became inter- ested  in their history and civilization and wondered at their accom- plishments. I hoped Western Civilization would not encroach upon their ways of life. At this time, 1905, the most remote village had its  electric lights and school already."

After the ship docked, she spent one day in seeing Yokahoma where such terrible havoc was wrought by only five minutes of earthquake. It was an unprecedented disaster. She wrote, "l read a  recent account of two frail elderly ladies who had escaped injuries by coming out of their homes' falling walls. They spent the night in  the  peak  on  the  Bluff  watching the destruction by fire of the city


below them. A faithful servant stayed on the roof of their home spraying it and saving their books and literature, written in Japanese, which they had spent a lifetime in writing. So many people whom I  met have spoken of the splendid way the Japanese have met this disaster." At a later period, she herself, experienced quite a severe shake in a mission hospital. A Japanese nurse came to her bedside thinking she might panic. She calmly assured her that there was no  cause for alarm. It is a common experience in that area, but they  are prepared in mind and spirit.

"But to continue my story of my arrival at Nagasaki — we slipped slowly between high bluffs into a beautiful land locked harbor  and dropped anchor amid stream. All about us were green hills and a busy picturesque city — hugging the waters edge and climbing the hillsides. Over the ’Eastern Hill’ was our mission school,  where I was to spend the next five years. The name 'Kwassui’  is a poetical name, meaning ’living water', named by a Japanese who must have had a vision of what it would mean to hundreds of Japanese girls."

After she met Miss Young, the head worker of Kuassui Jo Gakko and other missionaries, she was taken in a jinrikisha to see some of the city. She wrote later, "It was really laughable to be pulled  along the streets of this thriving city in a two wheeled buggy. I  soon saw that I would need my own, so I purchased a second hand one for $7.50. That was only the beginning of its cost. I wanted hard  tires but the honest agent said, ’your man could not pull so heavy carriage'. So I bought pneumatic tires, then the paint job became necessary and a new rug. A man was engaged to pull for me.  He said that the honorable Sensei would have to buy him a new  suit of clothes to be respectable in appearance with such a ’beauty rickisha’. Also, new straw shoes twice a week at 3 cents. Another problem, the puller had to have time off to go to the hot baths  to get over his sore muscles. Since I paid him only $4.00 a month, I could not complain about his demands. I do not weigh over  100 pounds so I know he need not keep on with his complaints. We must have a talk."

"Miss Russell, the founder of the school, took me into the kindergarten room the next morning. I was impressed with the bright  responsive faces of the children as they sat in their little chairs  giving undivided attention to their dear teacher, between whom, as I watched them, there appeared to be perfect sympathy and  understanding."


"Miss Russell called this little teacher O Fuji San, her first name, as she had been with Miss Russell ever since she was a little  girl. Takamori 'O Fuji San’ was born in the region of the Fuji  Mountain. Ordinarily the name Fuji is considered more ap- propriate for a boy because of its significance, but the family lived in  the valley about Fuji Mountain and after the third girl baby I think they despaired of a boy and named the little new one ’Fuji’, but she  was  well named as you will see. The family was of the Sam- urai class. The great-grandfather ruled over this Fuji Mountain region  during the feudal days, but, when the Central Government was established, with others, he voluntarily gave up his position and became just an ordinary citizen. He was given a certain sum of money with which to start a business, but being without business experience, repeated misfortunes followed and finally a long ill- ness  in which he died leaving a wife and five children. The mother  turned to the friendly missionaries. There were scholar- ships available at the Mission Schools but the mother made inquiry, indirectly of course, as to the care the children would receive at these foreign schools, especially concerning the food, before she en- trusted her little girls to their care."

Mary Cody’s Outstanding Graduate at Kussai Jo Gakko, Nagasaki, Japan


Takamori O Fuji San was the youngest of the three who came to the Methodist School, and she had all her education there. She was a good student and ambitious, so she kept on until she had completed the four year course in English which only a few had the  courage to undertake at that time. She had high hopes of what  she would accomplish with her education, so when she grad- uated, it was a bitter disappointment to be put down in the kinder- garten class when her classmates were given positions of importance in the higher grades. O Fuji San was chosen because she had been so successful in any program for children which she had undertaken in her student days, but she resented it nevertheless, as at that time the kindergarten teachers were looked upon more or less as a nursery maid. Kindergarten training schools were just opening up and  had not yet become popular, so that it became necessary to use untrained teachers, giving the impression that most anyone could teach a kindergarten. Later, when she and Mary had become good friends, she told her how she would stand at the open door of her kindergarten room overlooking the harbor watching the incoming steamers, longing with all her heart for the arrival of the missionary who would relieve her from her task and set her free; and then when  the missionary arrived, how frustrating it was to be urged to continue as her assistant. lt was two years before O Fuji San decided  definitely to devote her life to this work, but at that time she  stayed on out of pity for the poor foreigner who had no knowledge of the language nor understanding of her people, their ways of thinking or their environment.

Mary wrote, "When I despaired of mastering the language, O  Fuji San confided to me that she had heard missionaries who really spoke wonderfully well but, as she expressed it, 'they cannot inspire'. I was, of course, eager to learn the language so as to work directly with the children and training classes, but how much more important was it to win to this work this splendid young woman who was so much better qualified to do this work than I could ever hope  to  be after years of study and residence in the country. lt was up to me to inspire her through the medium of English, which she understood perfectly, and then she could translate what it meant in her own language."

"My first problem was to make her feel the dignity and importance of this work with little children and the broad education she would receive and pass on. She had carried on with her limited preparation very bravely. We began by her taking over the practical work with children and in the evening we studied together the theory  and  philosophy  of  the   kindergarten   method.     Little  did  I


know then that a great lady was being trained for a great work for Japan. I did know then that the business of a missionary is to train mature workers for leadership. There is no other apology for our being there."

It would fill a full volume if I were to write all the events of Mary’s life and work in Japan. One letter said: "I am having a training  class of six girls and the best possible assistant. Also, I have  two growing kindergartens. Miss Young has built a new kindergartenroom here at Kwassui showing her pleasure in our progress. In the new building, we have little chairs for each child, a  big sand box, a fish bowl and even a teacher’s desk! I was able to  rent a piano for 12 yen a month. As is customary a formal dedi- cation is required to be held on opening day. On the evening before,  Miss Young asked me to make a talk because, beside the parents of the children, important people would attend: the mayor, the  Minister of Education, and the Commander of the Fort at Nag- asaki. He came on a large horse, which was quite a surprise. Mr.  Sugamora, my interpreter, made clear to the audience what the  purpose of the school was. It was a very successful occasion. There was a very friendly feeling. Takamori had kept the children in  the old auditorium until time for them to come in and demonstrate some of what they had been tanght. "How I wish that you, dear sister,  could have seen it all" she wrote to me.

On her return to her home in Cleveland, she was asked to speak many times to churches and teacher gatherings. From each of  these typed speeches and her letters, I have culled a few of her experiences. "On Christmas Day," she wrote home, "I went to the  charity kindergarten first. I went early to see the children decorate  their tree and then in the afternoon to see them celebrate the happiest day of the year." At noon the Missionary Family had simple gifts for each other around the table and in the evening, Mary  and Takamori San and all her teachers in training sat around the fire in her room, enjoying a few left over cookies and apples in abundance sent by many friends to their two kindergartens. She was  so pleased that at "charity" there were enough oranges for each  child to receive two. She had gone to the Y.M.CA. to see the  children in the "morning circle" and was very proud of the way the  teachers in training conducted the gathering.

In another letter, Mary tells the story of Coco: "This is Sunday  evening, my letter was interruped by one of the Kuassui girls  — not in any training class, but a student. She came to call to  tell  me  an   interesting   experience  she  had.    Little  Coco,  with


her self-conscious, faulty English, but with her happy enthusiasm, amused me very much. I will tell her story but I cannot convey the young girl herself. She was going to the afternoon Sunday School, bible and hymn book in her arms, followed by two younger girls. They met a good looking American sailor being marched by two policemen to the station, which happened to be near the Sunday School. She overheard the conversation between the sailor and the  policemen and a saloon keeper who came behind them shouting in Japanese that the sailor must pay for all the drinks of others who skipped out. The police could not understand the American sailor’s predicament or language as he was pushed toward the police station. Little Coco went across the street and said to the police in  Japanese, ’This man has right on his side. I will interpret for him.  I  saw the others running out of that man’s saloon.’ The saloon  keeper went away disgruntled when Coco told the police that  this sailor was not drunk and others had played a trick on him.  Then the sailor took Coco’s umbrella and walked beside her. She motioned for her young friends to keep close to her while they all  entered Sunday School where a missionary, Mr. Hekesher, was in charge. Coco explained to him that the sailor had met with difficulties. The sailor was asked to speak to the children, which he  did with ease, Coco interpreting, and he talked about Children's Day in America and how there was one God over all. Then he asked  them to pray with him. Here Coco in telling me clapped her  hands in joy! lt was a brave thing for a Japanese girl to do and a  severe interpretation might be put on it. The Hekeshers said they would explain to the Kuassui head teachers." That was not the end  of the story. A dispute arose between the younger missionaries who sided with Coco and the older ones, who expressed grave dis- approval. Coco had the final word. She said, "That sailor had said  goodbye to her and declared he would never take another drink  again, and the Hekeshers proclaimed, ’He must be the son of a minister in America! "

I must give a glimpse into Mary Cody’s personal experiences as a young woman separated from her family. One day a package by  mail from Tokyo came. It was open and the contents were falling out. Mary reflected, "can this be the hat I am expecting?" There was  also very much needed writing paper and stockings, and yes, the hat! So forlorn looking! The servant came in and inquired, "ls  that  stuff all to be thrown out?" She worte, “I straightened the bows of ribbon and pushed them down, only to be told later that the  bows should stand up." Two ladies from an outward bound steamer called that evening. When Mary saw their hats, she went and  got her funny one.   They gave advice about the felt rim,  turning


it up over the face and down at back. This all with a lot of laughter!  But she wrote, "I really like the hat and it does not look much mussed up. I just thought I would tell you that in spite of difficulties, the hat survived." She wept over the home letter which told that the black silk she sent Mother, costing the big sum of $8.75,  was not suitable and mother wanted gray. A missionaries’ salary could not be stretched to buy the more expensive gray. She urged Mother to get herself a lovely gray silk for the weddings. More  tears came over her forced absence from two home weddings. "Please sell the black silk I sent." Such is the way she struggled over  home connections. Later when I was about to graduate from Oberlin she sent me lovely light blue chiffon and explained, "I have only one little sister. She is very dear to me and I won’t have another.  So I am allowing myself this gift for her." It was made up  charmingly under the guidance of my stylish sister-in-law. I wore  it on many important occasions of my life.

U. S. "Army" Transport, taking on Coal at Nagasaki, Japan

Now, let us hear about how she became interested in the "children of the boats" as I called them. Early one morning after re-establishing the kindergarten at Kuassui Jo Gakko, with a related teacher-training class in momentum, she came down for an early breakfast. The servant came and pushed back the shutters of the breakfast room. Mary looked out and saw young women, running down the hill in back of “Kuassui". Each of them wore a clean white  towel with a baby tied to her back, a baby or a 2 or 3 year old  child.   Mary spoke to the servant,   "Who are those girIs—where


are they going so early? They carry children and one running beside!  Tell me!" The servant replied, "Sensie, they are coming from  small homes way up the hill. They go to coal boats in the harbor.  All day they carry coal and baby. Some put bigger child on  ground to rest. They get small pay for much work." ln the late  afternoon she saw the same women going up the hill, dragging their  feet in exhaustion and dragging along one child and some carried  their babies in the now, dirty white towel. Sister Mary, who had  worked in three missionary fields in Asia and with Indians in Western  America, never had anything strike such a bolt of hurt, nor arouse  such sympathy as that picture before her. She determined to  do something as soon as possible to solve that sad situation. So  we start my sister’s fourth Asian journey of accomplishment through  many experiences, many se|f-sacrifices, many hours of struggle and loneliness.

My sister went to Miss Young and Mrs. Russell, the founder of  the  school and inquired about these women. Miss Young replied, "Yes, they are the women who coal the boats, but I have never been down to see them." My sister said, "But where do they put their three  year and four year old children? Some can carry a baby along  with the coal, but not an older child." Miss Young replied, "I  have been told they put the children on an embankment beside the  steamer and the wharf." Mary said, "This must not be. With your  permission, I will find out if it would be possible to start a kindergarten and day nursery." So Mary Cody went down to see. She  listed her needs — a house, a big yard, a tall fence with slats wide enough apart for mothers to peek in and see their babies, plus  nursery equipment, kindergarten chairs and enough money for noon lunches. She prayed and then acted. She went to the wives  of  the diplomatic colony and businessmen from America and soon had enough money to start. She was wise enough to have her funds go through the school treasurer. As if in answer to prayer, she  found an empty house with many partitions, which, when removed made a big kindergarten with a small room at one end for a  nursery. In no time, word spread among the donors, who came to  respect her program and so gave almost enough money to finance food for six months of lunches. She calculated the measurements of  the fence, which must be high enough to keep children in and onlookers out.

The biggest hurdle was to assure the mothers that their children  would be safer with this concerned American lady. An event  happened which helped to remove all reluctance on the part of  the  mothers.    A  little  child  rolled   down  the   embankment  and


into the harbor and was crushed between boat and harbor walls. The  mothers realized that their children would be safer with the American lady, so the kindergarten and nursery were soon full. With  God at the helm, Mary’s project was carried through.

One day an American Flagship sailed into Nagasaki Harbor. That was the sign for Mary’s calculating mind to go to work. She went  to call upon the Captain, who immediately said, "l have heard about your work. By the way, are you related to famous Buffalo Bill,  Colonel Cody, of the West who supplied Buffalo meat for the men  who were racing to build our first cross-country railroad?" Mary  was very glad that this engaging gentleman had heard of her cousin. This jovial Captain came to see the kindergarten and was very  pleased. He invited the children to come to see his boats. Mary  chose a day when the mothers who coaled the boats could come also. lt was a great sight to see the little mothers with their cleanly washed children going up the gangplank of the great Amer- ican ship. The Captain eventually gave Mary the money needed for a  much-needed piano.

The mothers grew to love the American mother of their children; also, her well-trained japanese assistants. Can such waves of good will, respect and love ever die? As the mothers peeked through the fence at their well cared for happy children, they must have asked "whose ancestors does she worship that she comes so far to do this thing for us?"

At one period my sister was not well, so her japanese doctor decided that she enter St. Lukes Hospital in Nagasaki for a slight operation and rest. Takamori San had to take over the direction of the  kindergartens and the training classes.

Among the boxes of letters I found beautiful reports from Takamori on the work she was doing. She gave details of the response the children were giving and their "field trips" to see stores and lovely gardens. She wrote, "l found in one of your books a Snail  song, so I translated it and we taught the children to sing it. You  know we still have that pet snail." Another letter said, "You know,  Sensei, as we watch the children at play and see their interest in each other, their helpfulness, we can learn from them for our- selves, perhaps more than they learn from us." Such a humble comment from the personality who was to become a great lady in Japanese education.


She wrote in another report, "The teachers took the children to  visit a bird store and on return gave the children pencil and paper to  make pictures of what they saw.    In two of  them,   I  was  amazed
— so cleverly done — one a rooster, hen and chicks, showing how the family idea had entered the child’s mind. ln another there was the  bird store window with the father and mother and baby birds." Mary read those reports and felt she was secure in having this girl for a real leader, in case she herself would have to return to America. On her return from St. Lukes Hospital she asked the children about the snail, which they kept in a flower vase so it could drink water. One  little boy said, "Does the snail stay here all night by himself?" Another child interrupted, "Anna San (servant) is here too." Another said quickly, "Yes, the snail has flowers and water with him too." Takamori said to my sister later, "l was reminded of the passage in your book of Froebels Commentary on the "Maiden and the Star" in  which he said, ’The inner life of childhood may be deepened and strengthened by cherishing the impulse to impute personal life to inanimate objects' " Takamori was herself growing day by day.

I do not want to lay too much stress on the difficulties and hardships. Mary had so much joy with the children and in her re- lationship with the teachers. Also, she had some vacation fun on small trips after Easter and in summer. She asked Takamori to find a Japanese Mountain lnn where they could go together for relaxation. That was not hard to find, and Mary found she could get a Western style bed but must accept Japanese style bath. The baths were not shuttered, only glassed in and placed along the outside wall looking into the street. She was so modest it appalled her to practically bathe  in public. So she took an old kimona and with a borrowed hammer and some stout pins, she went to the street and nailed up her  old kimona — then hurriedly went inside, disrobed and stepped into the hot water. Very soon she heard laughing in the street. People  gathered to look at this strange contraption. \/ery soon some stood on tip toe and peeked over the top of the kimona. A Japanese  jabbering followed and she could hear "American Woman", in Japanese. When she finally got out and retrieved her old kimona, she went to Takamori San and told her how funny it was. Dear Takamori, so tactful, as were all Mary’s Japanese friends, said, "But Sensei, if you had told me I could have explained. To bathe in open  baths is no curiosity in Japan but your queer Western modesty was what made the Japanese really delighted! ! " So Mary bathed openly after that and the passers-by never turned their heads. Mary’s sense of humor was so keen she often enjoyed a good laugh at herself about this even and she added, "There was a crowd outside too."     In  order  to   complete   here  the  account  of  Takamori  San,


it will be necessary to go past other events at Kwassui. ln the end of  my Sister’s stay in Japan, she wrote home for family funds and also to the Mission Board, asking for help to bring Takamori back to America for further study and to stay part of the time in our parents  home. Mary was able to raise the money and Takamori studied at Chicago Kindergarten School and at Columbia University. When funds grew low, we all pitched in to help raise more money. We thoroughly enjoyed having her in our midst for vacations. One  day I asked her how she understood the meaning of "de- mocracy". She replied, "I will tell you. I went to see the Senior Class  at Columbia University in the graduation. There was no seat in  the rear.  I went slowly, slowly along the wall of the chapel look- ing for a seat. Then I saw I was by the place reserved for Faculty. One of the high ranking teachers arose and gave me his seat and he stood by the wall. This woud never happen in Japan. I would be disgraced afterward. So you see how I learned the meaning of democracy?"

After Takamori San’s departure from our home in Cleveland for journey to Japan, we all looked at each other and one of us said,  "She didn’t want to go". in her quiet Japanese way, she covered up the sorrow she had at parting." But when she arrived in  Nagasaki, she soon took over the kindergarten leadership in Kwassui Jo Gakko; the class of girls waiting to be trained in the kindergarten methods, and two other kindergartens to be super- vised — one of which was at the Y.M.C.A. building and the one for babies whose mothers coaled the boats. Takamori San had a wonderful life in Japan. She went to many cities, to many audiences, explaining the essence of the new kindergarten method and its in- fluence on the children in their formative years. She was the first Japanese woman to speak on the radio on education and Christian methods with children.

All of us at home in Cleveland were rewarded by her success and influence back in Japan. Later during the War with Japan, my sister at home grieved and grieved saying, "They are such wonderful people. We ought to be great friends instead of enemies. I feel that  Takamori also knows that most of our people feel friendship with Japan." Mary lived to know about the generous terms that America gave Japan at the conclusion of World War ll. During and directly after the war we packed food packages of dried fruits and coffee, hard candies, and any kind of food which could be shipped. Takamori and her sisters wrote so appreciatively. Mary's grief was hard for us as a whole family, and we knew that the war brought many  casualties  beside  the   battlefield.   Although  Mary   was   not


able to return to Japan because of her health, we all felt that her work continued through the teachers she taught and the kinder- gartens she started.

One day two years after the Second World War, I met a Japanese boy, a student in Cleveland College, on a street corner and in conversation told him about my sister’s love for Japan. Then  I  told him about the kindergarten for the "boat mothers". He said, "That is impossible. We have mechanical machiney which coals  our boats and all boats coming to Nagasakil" Praise God for progress and for first steps toward progress.

The International Cody Family Association