Alice's Academy

Caroline Jones, editor

During and After the World Wars: L. M. Montgomery and the Canadian Missionary Connection in Japan

Yoshiko Akamatsu

Yoshiko Akamatsu, PhD, is a professor of literature at Notre Dame Seishin University in Okayama, Japan.  She translated Montgomery’s posthumous collection of short stories Akin to Anne: Tales of Other Orphans in 1988-89. In 1999, her article “Japanese Readings of Anne of Green Gables” was published in L. M. Montgomery and Canadian Culture, and in 2013, “The Continuous Popularity of Red-Haired Anne in Japan” appeared in Anne around the World.


War changes lives. In Rilla of Ingleside (1921), Anne Blythe’s close friend, Cornelia Elliott, a stern Presbyterian, decides to reconcile with the Methodists, believing that Canadians should not fight among themselves during a time of war, in this case, World War One. This shows a significant shift from earlier Anne books, which include satirical comments about Methodists made by Presbyterians. The author of the Anne books, L. M. Montgomery was born into a Presbyterian family, had female cousins who went to Persia (Iran) as Presbyterian missionaries, [1] and married a Presbyterian minister (Mitchell 147). However, she also reveals in her novels an interest in Methodists, missionaries and others who have had some connection with Japan. [2] It is worth remembering that it was a Canadian missionary in Japan, Loretta Leonard Shaw, who introduced Anne of Green Gables to its first Japanese translator, Hanako Muraoka, as a token of friendship when she left Japan before World War Two. Muraoka then devoted herself to translating it into Japanese as bombs rained down upon Tokyo. She was educated at Toyo Eiwa Mission School for Girls in Tokyo which was founded by Canadian Methodists. This paper will consider the Canadian missionary connection in Japan during and after the World Wars and examine the influence that they had on Muraoka and her translation of Montgomery's classic novel.


The mission school at which Hanako Muraoka was educated was founded by the Woman’s Missionary Society (WMS) of the Methodist Church of Canada in 1884, ten years after Montgomery’s birth. Japan opened its doors to foreign countries in 1854 after 300 years of isolation, but it was in 1873 that Japan tacitly permitted foreigners to propagate Christianity.   Many denominations of Christian missionaries had arrived in Japan, and Methodists were among them. In 1873, the first male Methodist missionaries came to Japan from Canada and began their evangelical activities, but when they realized they had little access to Japanese women, they recruited female missionaries. In 1882, the WMS appointed Martha Julia Cartmell (1845-1945) as their first woman missionary to go to Japan. When she began her evangelical work, she found that a school equipped with a dormitory would be necessary to provide Japanese girls with “an education as well as religious instruction” and that such an education would influence both students and their parents (Ariga, Irwin, and Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin 26). Cartmell’s efforts to open a boarding school for girls were rewarded with the financial help of the president of the WMS, Mrs. Sarah Gibbs Gooderham, who sent a thousand dollars to buy the site for the school in 1883 (Sippel, “Toyo Eiwa Jogakko” 5). [3] Cartmell succeeded in opening a school for girls in Tokyo, known as Toyo Eiwa, the next year.

According to Eri Muraoka’s biography of her grandmother, Hanako Muraoka, Hanako was born in Yamanashi, west of Tokyo, in 1893 as the first daughter of eight siblings. [4] Her father wanted to give her the opportunity for a good education, so she was transferred from a public elementary school to Toyo Eiwa Mission School for Girls as a scholarship student at the age of ten [1903]. According to A. Hamish Ion, Toyo Eiwa School “offered educational opportunities for women who otherwise might not have been able to continue their studies beyond the compulsory level” (The Cross and the Rising Sun 125). Hanako spent the next ten years studying Japanese subjects in the morning and English ones in the afternoon, while learning about Canadian lifestyle and culture, as well as Christianity.

After graduating, Hanako became a teacher at another Toyo Eiwa School for Girls in her hometown of Yamanashi. While teaching there, she published her first book, entitled Rohen, or Ingleside in English, in 1917. The book consists of twelve translated short stories and one original story. Interestingly, two of the translated stories are set in Canada (E. Muraoka, “On Rohen”). [5] This publication led to her working for Kyobunkwan, a publisher founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in Tokyo, which later became known as the Christian Literature Society of Japan. In 1919 she married Keizo Muraoka, the young head of a printing company and a member of the Presbyterian Church. Under the name of Hanako Muraoka, she began her translation work.

It was during her five years of teaching that World War One took place. According to Eri Muraoka, Hanako listened to her Canadian missionary colleagues refer to the war as “Our War” and they spent their days thinking of the hardships of Canadian soldiers overseas, as well as on the home front. In the afterward of the Japanese translation of Rilla of Ingleside, An no Musume Rira [Anne’s Daughter, Rilla] Hanako remembers of the days of 1918, recalling that her Canadian colleagues including the principal, did not use coal heaters or stoves even in the cold winter, following the example of​ Canadian people’s endurance of wartime hardship. Japan joined the war as one of the Allied Powers, and was victorious at the end.

After World War One, in 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake flattened a vast area of Tokyo and its surrounding districts and Hanako Muraoka’s husband’s printing company was destroyed and went bankrupt. During the arduous reconstruction of the company, Hanako mainly earned their living using her English language skills. The Muraokas started a publishing and printing company at their home in 1926. In the same year, her only son, who was born in 1920, died suddenly and her despair was so great that she nearly lost her will to live. However, her close friend, Hiroko Katayama, a translator of Irish Literature, encouraged her to translate Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper (1881), which led her to resume her translation work. The book was published in 1927.

In 1932, Muraoka began reading the news to children on a radio program called “Newspaper for Children.” As a writer of children’s books and as a translator, she was asked to tell the news plainly to children. Every five-minute program started with Muraoka’s words, “Good evening, little people all over Japan.” It was so popular that she was called “Rajio no Obasan, [Aunty Radio]” for those nine years. However, when World War Two began, she quit her work on the radio because she did not want to refer to Canadians as enemies, since she considered many of them to be dear friends, nor did she wish to continue reading the increasingly hostile, war-centered news to children (H. Muraoka, Mukashi no Senseitachi 143-44).   During this cruel and bitter war, the Japanese government banned the use of English and expelled all foreign missionaries.


There are two female missionaries from Atlantic Canada who had a great impact on Hanako Muraoka: Loretta Leonard Shaw from New Brunswick, and Francis Gertrude Hamilton from Prince Edward Island. Shaw was a contemporary of Montgomery and died in 1940, just before the outbreak of World War Two, while Montgomery passed away in 1942. Hamilton was younger and she came back to Japan after World War Two.

The first missionary, Loretta Leonard Shaw, is remembered as the benefactor who gave Hanako Muraoka the 1908 winter printing of Anne of Green Gables [the first printing of which was published in June] as a token of their friendship. Her background, however, is well-known neither in Japan nor in Canada.

Shaw was born in 1872 in Saint John, New Brunswick. From her younger days, she showed an excellent gift for languages, earning first-class honors BA’s in English, French, and German (Kirkpatrick). [6] In 1896 she became a teacher and taught grammar school until 1904. Shaw, however, wished to explore missionary work and joined the Missionary Society of the Church of England in Canada which sent her to Japan in 1904. She taught English and Bible Studies at the Bishop Poole Memorial School for girls in Osaka. It is said that Shaw finished her Japanese language training course in one year instead of the usual two. She collected kimonos, pottery, and other cultural artifacts throughout her years in Japan, and donated more than 400 of these items to the Museum of New Brunswick in order to deepen Canadians’ understanding of Japanese culture.

Shaw often lectured on her experiences in Japan during her Canadian furloughs. She showed a desire to strengthen the friendship between Canada and Japan in her speeches and many writings. In 1922, she wrote a book, Japan in Transition in which she explains how women missionaries have played an important role in the education of Japanese girls. She proposes that the Japanese government should strive to support the higher education of women (Shaw, Japan in Transition 58).

After 25 years of teaching, Loretta Shaw moved to Tokyo to do editorial work for the Christian Literature Society of Japan, where she became editorial secretary. It was here that Shaw and Muraoka met and they worked together as editors. They published an evangelical magazine named Shōkōshi, or Children of Light. Shaw strongly believed that world peace could be achieved through mutual cultural understanding. In an article entitled “Utopia,” published in 1936 (the only article of Shaw’s to ever be published in the magazine in both English and Japanese), she refers to herself and her fellow editors as ambassadors and interpreters, saying that their work is to “introduce the religion, the culture, the thought of one nation to another and the quickest and surest way of doing this is through books [. . .] by introducing the best books of each nation to the other.”

Shaw left Japan for a furlough at the end of June, 1936. “[S]he hoped to return to this country, but illness prevented this from being fulfilled,” wrote her fellow missionary Miss K[atherine] Tristram (Downs 324). Sometime before she left in 1936—though Hanako Muraoka suggested it was 1939 in her essay (“Akage no An” 93) [7]—Shaw gave a copy of Anne of Green Gables to Muraoka in memory of their friendship. She hoped Muraoka would translate it and have it published. Muraoka read the book, was enchanted with it and began translating it into Japanese during World War Two.  At that time, Canada was an enemy of Japan and English was the forbidden language of the enemy. Because of this, and the threat of arrest, Muraoka worked in secret. She said her translation manuscripts were so precious to her that she took refuge in air-raid shelters with them. Shaw’s hopes for a “Utopia” were temporarily dashed until the war ended in 1945. It was in 1952 that Muraoka published the very first Japanese translation of Anne of Green Gables, as Akage-no-An. Unfortunately,Shaw did not live to see her wish fulfilled, because she had passed away in her homeland in 1940.

The second missionary, Frances Gertrude Hamilton, was born in Margate, Prince Edward Island in 1888. Her transcripts say that she graduated from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, with “an outstanding skill and knowledge of music and of leadership” (Ariga, Irwin, and Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin, 68). She arrived in Japan in 1917, in the middle of World War One, as a music teacher at Toyo Eiwa School for Girls, and later became a teacher of English, Religion and Child Education. Between the years 1925 to 1938, she served as the 15th and 17th principal of the school. Although she did not speak much Japanese, she “understood spoken Japanese well and reportedly had a good and trusting relationship with her Japanese colleagues” (Sippel, “Surviving” 33 and Toyo Eiwa Jogakko Gojyūnenshi, 208-09).

In 1938, however, Hamilton resigned her position under mounting tensions of global instability pre-World War Two, and the school elected a Japanese principal. The Ministry of Education forced foreign missionaries to retire from the management of schools and required a portrait of the Emperor to be displayed in every school. In 1941, one of the Chinese characters in the name of the school, Toyo Eiwa, was changed: “Ei” meaning “Britain or English” was replaced by another character with the same sound, meaning “forever.” Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7 in the same year, and Japan officially entered World War Two. Amid this great upheaval, Hamilton locked herself in her house, declining a farewell party offered by teachers and students and took a wartime exchange ship back to Canada in June, 1942 (Sippel, “Surviving” 42). In 1943, she took a position as a teacher at a re-location centre in Lemon Creek, British Columbia, teaching Japanese Canadians there until 1946. She also travelled throughout Canada, speaking about Japan to improve intercultural understanding. [8]

In 1947, Hamilton returned to Japan and resumed teaching. She was head of the Child Education Department at Toyo Eiwa Junior College from 1951 to 1956. It was during this period that Hamilton and Muraoka worked as colleagues. Muraoka taught story-telling to children as a part-time teacher (E. Muraoka, “On Hanako Muraoka’s teaching”). Hamilton was delighted to know that Muraoka had published Anne of Green Gables, written by a fellow Prince Edward Islander. When Hamilton retired and went back to Canada in 1957, she made a short visit to her home, Prince Edward Island, and sent Muraoka some souvenirs, including a copy of Montgomery’s “Island Hymn.” In a letter dated July 31, 1957, Hamilton wrote that she thought of Muraoka while visiting the Green Gables House, and hoped she would come to Prince Edward Island someday (E. Muraoka, An no Yurikago 360). With joy, Muraoka translated “The Island Hymn” into Japanese. In 1967, after the loss of her husband and having finished translating all the Anne books, Muraoka went to visit her daughter Midori who had moved with her family to the United States. She wanted to visit Prince Edward Island the following year, but circumstances prevented her from going and Hanako Muraoka died in 1968, never having set foot on Prince Edward Island. Hamilton survived Muraoka and passed away in Beamsville, Ontario in 1975.


Canadian missionaries of the Methodist Church and other denominations played important roles in the education of Japanese young people during and after the two World Wars.  One of the positive fruits of their education is the translator Hanako Muraoka’s works. Her education at Toyo Eiwa School for Girls for ten years established the base of her language skills and her understanding of Canadian life, which helped her to translate Anne of Green Gables.  For Muraoka, translating a book of the enemy, even one as innocent as Anne of Green Gables, was a courageous mission. [9]

Having lived through the horrors of war and Japan’s painful defeat, Hanako Muraoka wrote of the value of peace in her essays after World War Two (“Mukashi no Senseitachi” 143-58 and “Heiwa eno Negai” 137-39.). It is not through war, but through peace and education that people all over the world have the chance to freely enjoy L. M. Montgomery’s works. In her last work, The Blythes Are Quoted (which was posthumously published in 2009), Montgomery suggests the cruelty of war and its painful effect on the human spirit, particularly through Walter Blythe’s last poem, “The Aftermath.” Montgomery and Muraoka recognized the significance of peace after their experience of wars as writers and individual citizens. Some Canadian missionaries who were forced to leave during the war returned to Japan after 1945, but “the role that Canadian missionaries had traditionally played as ambassadors of goodwill between neighbours across the Pacific as well as messengers of the cross diminished, [a]s Japanese-Canadian relations became increasingly complex” (Ion, The Cross in the Dark Valley 341). However, the Canadian missionaries and their work in Japan established the connection among Montgomery’s books, her first Japanese translator, and her beloved Prince Edward Island.



I would like to express my sincere thanks to the following institutions which offered their valuable materials: The Anne Memorial Room/The Hanako Muraoka Study Room, the Archives of Aoyama Gakuin University, the Archives of Toyo Eiwa Women’s College, the Archives of Poole Gakuin, the Christian Literature Society of Japan, the New Brunswick Museum and University of New Brunswick.


Authorial Note

This paper is based on my presentation under the same title, given at the 2014 L. M. Montgomery International Conference, “L. M. Montgomery and War” on June 28, 2014. I have revised the paper and added more consideration on this theme.


1. They are Annie Montgomery (1847-1917) and Charlotte Geddie Montgomery (1855-1905), L. M. Montgomery’s first cousins.

2. For example, “My Graves,” a story written by a young Anne Shirley, is about the wife of a Methodist priest, and her unhappy wandering throughout Canada, losing eight of her nine children. This story is recalled as a work from her younger days in Anne of the Island (1915). One of Anne’s “bosom friends,” Priscilla Grant, marries a foreign missionary who is sent to Japan. Her marriage is mentioned in Anne’s House of Dreams (1917) and we hear that “Priscilla’s son has gone from Japan” to fight in World War One in Rilla of Ingleside.

3. Sarah Gibbs Gooderham (1829-1906) was the wife of James Gooderham (1825-1879) who was a Methodist minister and left the ministry and engaged in merchandising and milling and managed the linen mills of Gooderham and Wort . Through Mary Rubio, I became interested in the Gooderhams and found out more about Sarah’s background.

4. Almost all the descriptions of Hanako Muraoka’s life are based on Eri Muraoka’s biography of her grandmother.

5. Only one copy of this book was discovered at the Christian Literary Society of Japan in 2014.

6. See Andrea Kirkpatrick’s descriptions of Loretta Leonard Shaw’s life.

7. The original essay was published on November 6, 1964.

8. In an E-mail dated August 20, 2014, Fumie Sakai at the Archives of Toyo Eiwa corrected the data and explained that Hamilton began her teaching at Lemon Creek in January, 1943.

9. Regarding the post-WWII openness to Western texts, Muraoka's Japanese translation of part of “Mrs. Rynde is Properly Horrified” and "Anne's Apology" were included in the textbook of Japanese language in some areas, but it was not so widely used as some people believe.


Works Cited:

Akamatsu, Yoshiko.   “Continuous Popularity of Red-haired Anne in Japan: an Interview with Yoshiko Akamatsu.”  Anne around the World : L. M. Montgomery and Her Classic. Eds. Jane Ledwell and Jean Mitchell. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2013. 216-27. Print.

Ariga, Seiichi, Wayne Irwin and Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin, trans.  Canadian Woman Missionaries at Toyo Eiwa in Japan 1882-2006.  Tokyo: Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin, 2012. Print.

Downs, Darley, ed.  The Japan Yearbook 1941.  Tokyo: The Christian Literature Society of Japan, 1941. Print.

Ion, A. Harmish.  The Cross and the Rising Sun: The Canadian Protestant Missionary Movement in the Japanese Empire, 1872-1931.  Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 1990. Print.

---. The Cross in the Dark Valley: The Canadian Protestant Movement in the Japanese Empire, 1931-1945.  Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 1999. Print.

Kirkpatrick, Andrea.  “Loretta Leonard Shaw.”  In Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. XVI (1931-1940).  Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2014. Web. 20 June 2014.

Mitchell, Jean.  “Evangelicalism and the Crafting of Anne of Green Gables.”  In Anne around the World: L. M. Montgomery and Her Classic, edited by Jane Ledwell and Jean Mitchell, 147-63.  Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2013. Print.

Montgomery, L. M.  Anne of Green Gables.  Edited by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston.  1908.  New York: Norton, 2007. Print.

---. Anne’s House of Dreams.  1917.  New York: Bantam, 1992. Print.

---. Anne of the Island.  1915.  New York: Bantam, 1987. Print.

---. Rilla of Ingleside.  Edited by Andrea McKenzie and Benjamin Lefebvre.  1921.  Toronto: Viking Canada, 2010. Print.

---. The Blythes Are Quoted.  Edited by Benjamin Lefebvre.  Toronto: Viking Canada, 2009. Print.

Muraoka, Eri.  An no Yurikago: Muraoka Hanako no Shogai [Anne’s Cradle: A Biography of Hanako Muraoka].  2nd ed.   2008.  Tokyo: Magazine House; Tokyo: Shinchosha, 2011. Print.

---.  "On Hanako Muraoka’s teaching at Toyo Eiwa Junior College."  Eri Muraoka’s message to the author.  18 June, 2014. E-mail.

---.  "On Rohen."  Eri Muraoka’s message to the author.  10 June, 2014.    E-mail.

Muraoka, Hanako.  Afterward.  In An no Musume Rira [Anne’s Daughter Rilla], 559-61.  By L. M. Montgomery.  Translated by Hanako Muraoka.  1959.  Tokyo: Shinchosha, 2008. Print.

---. Akage no An[Red-haired Anne]” and “Mukashi no Senseitachi [Teachers of Old Days].”  In Ikiru to Iukoto [What Human Beings Live], 93-99, 143-58. [My translation.]  Rev. ed. Tokyo: Akage no An Kinenkan /Muraoka Hanako Bunko, 2004. Print.

---. “Boseiai wa Shinka subeki monodearu [Mother’s Love Should be Developed]” and “Heiwa eno Negai [The Wish for Peace].”  In Omina nareba [Because We are Women]: The Collected Essays of Hanako Muraoka, 161-64, 137-39.  Tokyo: Akage no An Kinenkan /Muraoka Hanako Bunko, 2004.  (Rept. of Josei no Ikigai [Women Find Life to Live].  Tokyo: Maki Shoten, 1953.)  [My translation.] Print.

Sakai, Fumie. "On Hamilton’s teaching at Lemon Creek."   Message to the author.  20 Aug. 2014. E-mail.

Shaw, L. L. Japan in Transition.  London: Church Missionary Society, 1922. Print.

---. “Utopia.”  Kyobunkwan Bulletin. (March 1936): 1, 12. Print.

Sippel, Patricia G.  “Surviving Japanese Militarism: Canadian Educators at a Christian Girls’ School.”  Asian Cultural Studies. International Christian University, No. 38 (2012): 31-45. Print.

--- “Toyo Eiwa Jogakko as a Site of International Exchange: The Experiences of Three Canadian Methodist Women.”  Toyo Eiwa Graduate School Kiyo, No. 7 (2011): 1-20. Print.

Toyo Eiwa Jogakko, ed. Toyo Eiwa Jogakko Gojyūnenshi [The Fifitieth Anniversary of the History of Toyo Eiwa School for Girls.] [My translation.]  Tokyo: Toyo Eiwa Jogakko, 1934. Print.

Works Consulted

Krummel, John W., ed. Rainichi Mesodist Senkyōshi Jiten, A Biographical Dictionary of Methodist Missionaries to Japan, 1973-1993.  Tokyo: Kyobunkwan, 1996. Print.

Muraoka, Hanako. “Futari no Shōjō [The Two Heroines, Pollyanna and Anne].”  In Sozo no Tsubasa ni Notte [On Imagination’s Wings]: The Collected Essays of Hanako Muraoka, 205-12.  Rep.Tokyo: Kawade Sobo Shinsha, 2014.  [My translation.] Print.

Nihon Kirisutokyo Rekishi Daijiten Hensyuiinkai, ed. Nihon Kirisutokyo Rekishi Daijiten [Historical Dictionary of Christianity in Japan.] [My translation.] Tokyo: Kyobunkwan, 1988. Print.

Shiryoshitsu Iinkai and Kinenshi Hensyū Iinkai, eds. E de Miru Pūru Gakuin no Hyakujūnen, Poole Gakuin: The Way It Was.  Osaka: Poole Gakuin, 1990. Print.

 “The Martha Cartmell Story.” History. Centenary United Church, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Web. 20 June 2014.

Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin.  Kanada Fujin Senkyoshi Monogatari.  Tokyo: Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin, 2010. Print.

Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin Hyakujūnenshi Hensan Iinkai, ed. Pictorial History of Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin. 1664-1994 (Me de Miru Tōyō Eiwa Jogakuin no Hyakujūnen ).  Tokyo: Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin, 1995. Print.

---.  Tōyō Eiwa Jogakuin Hyakunijūnenshi (The History of Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin, 1884-2004).  Tokyo: Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin, 2005. Print.



Yoshiko Akamatsu

Volume 18, Issue 2, The Looking Glass,December 2015

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