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Naosaku Yamanaka [山中直作]
July 25, 1886
Tsuchiura City Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
|Died||January 22, 1976 (aged 89)|
Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, Japan
Naosaku Takahashi (髙橋直作 [or 高橋直作], birth name: Naosaku Yamanaka [山中直作], pen name: Shimbi Takahashi [高橋真美]) was a minister (the Salvation Army and the United Church of Christ in Japan), an ecologist for planting trees, a novelist, and a pioneer in social work.
Takahashi was born on July 25, 1886 at 1071 Sugeya in Tsuchiura City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. (Tsuchiura is now an eastern suburban city in the Greater Tokyo Area.) His father was Bunzayemon Yamanaka and mother, Kon. He completed an eight-year elementary school program and an informal 3-year preparatory study in classical Chinese for secondary school. When he was 16 years old, Takahashi journeyed to Tokyo on April 1, 1903 to continue his education. He was accepted as a “schoolboy” of the Shuyojuku, a famous private boarding home for self-help working students established by Professor Kazumasa Yoshimaru (吉丸一昌). The professor was a poet and instructor of Japanese literature at the Tokyo Music School (now Department of Music, Tokyo University of the Arts). The group picture on the right was taken at the garden of the Shuyojuku in Tokyo on May 31, 1903. In 1905, Takahashi worked briefly for the newly-established Tokyo Toden (a tramcar company, formerly the Tokyo Densha Tetsudo; presently, the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation). He served in the army from 1906 to 1908 in the 2nd Infantry Regiment of the 1st Division (Imperial Japanese Army) garrisoned in Sakura, Chiba Prefecture. After being discharged from the military in 1909, Takahashi worked for Hakubunkan, a publishing company and concurrently attended Professor Rinzo Yuhki’s (結城林蔵)  lectures on photography at the Tokyo Higher Technical School (now Tokyo Institute of Technology) as a non-degree student.
On April 24, 1906, Takahashi participated in a student rally of the Salvation Army led by Gumpei Yamamuro (山室軍平) at the Wakyogakudo, a multi-purpose public hall near Kandabashi (神田橋 (日本橋川)), Tokyo. It was there that he resolved to pursue a Christian life. After his discharge from the 2nd Infantry Regiment of the Imperial Japanese Army, he began to work in the photography division of publisher Hakubunkan in 1909. During that time, he also volunteered as a lay member of the Kanda Squadron of the Salvation Army in Tokyo. As further elaborated below, on April 4, 1914, Takahashi married Hide, the daughter of Mantaro Takahashi. He changed his surname from his family name, Yamanaka, to Takahashi and was registered as Mantaro’s son-in-law. The first marriage ended shortly thereafter with the death of Hide. Following his wife’s death, Takahashi decided to become a full-time soldier in the Salvation Army and worked as a staff member in their publishing department. In 1918, he was accepted to the Salvation Army College for Officer Training in Tokyo and graduated in 1920 with the rank of lieutenant.
As an officer of the Salvation Army Headquarters in Tokyo, Takahashi engaged in relief activities following the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake in September, 1923. After serving as the chief officer of Hamamatsu Squadron and then Osaka Squadron, Takahashi was appointed the commander of the Hokkaido Regiment, Sapporo, in 1928. In 1933, he was transferred to the Kanto Regiment in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture. When he became the commander of Hokkaido Regiment, Takahashi was promoted to major. As a newly appointed commander, Maj. Takahashi proposed planting trees in the vast uncultivated fields in Hokkaido. Eventually, Maj. Takahashi, his wife (Lt.) Yukino, and their co-workers completed the planting of 17,000.
As a Salvation Army Officer (Minister)
Needless to say, social work was one of the most important activities in the Salvation Army's mission. However, Takahashi considered Prof. Kazumasa Yoshimaru of the Shuyojuku to be the first proponent of social welfare and vocational training for the poor. As Prof. Yoshimaru’s protégé, Takahashi had been bequeathed a 5,400 square-foot house of Prof. Yoshimaru located at Komagome, Tokyo, which, he, in turn, donated to the United Church of Christ in Japan for their social work activities. From the Kanto Regiment in Maebashi, Gunma, Maj. Takahashi was transferred to the Salvation Army Tokyo Headquarters. On August 1, 1937, he was appointed commander of the Social Work Department’s Doryokukan (“Effort Hall”) near Mikawashima Station, Tokyo. The Doryokukan was a vocational aid center primarily engaged in the temperance movement and helping those recovering from alcoholism. Unfortunately, on April 25, 1945, about four months before the end of the Second World War, the facility was closed due to a forced evacuation order from the Imperial Japanese Army, and the building was dismantled by the military, interrupting Takahashi’s activities in social work.
As a United Church of Christ in Japan Minister (Pastor)
Although Maj. Takahashi was essentially a Salvation Army officer until 1948, after the war, he was technically a pastor (Rev. Takahashi) of the United Church of Christ in Japan. The historical reasons are as follows: The Salvation Army was renamed the Japan Salvation Corporation (日本救世団) in 1940 at the behest of the Imperial Army to avoid any confusion with the militarized army. The Japan Salvation Corporation participated in the United Church of Christ in Japan, which was established for the purpose of uniting the Christian churches through accreditation by the Religious Organization Law (宗教団体法) of 1940. As a result of a subsequent G.H.Q. order (GHQ=General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers), the name Salvation Army was revived in 1948, but Takahashi remained a minister (pastor) of the United Church of Christ in Japan in order to continue his on-going projects in social work. Reverend Takahashi was an active pastor until January 1959, when he retired at age 72. In the month following his retirement, in discharge of his remaining obligation, he and his major patrons inspected the relocation site of “Keiairyo” in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Establishment of “Meguro Koseiryo (Meguro Shelter Home)” and “Airinkai”
Immediately after the end of WWII, Takahashi had been leading a rescue mission, the so-called “Karikomi” or “hunting,” a playful word for “finding” those made homeless by the war. Many homeless adults and orphaned children were found camping in Ueno Park and the underpasses near Ueno Terminal Station because the huge area of downtown Tokyo had been destroyed in the U.S. air raids. Thousands of people had lost their homes and suffered from hunger and diseases but there were no adequate protective care facilities for them. After tenacious negotiations with the Welfare Division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau and other authorities, Takahashi was able to rent a part of the barracks of the Imperial 17th Army or Seventeenth Army (Japan) located in Meguro, Tokyo. Thus, on January 25, 1946, the “Meguro Koseiryo” was established as a permanent shelter for homeless adults and orphans. On October 8, 1948, Emperor Hirohito visited the Meguro Koseiryo to commend and encourage Takahashi’s social work. Takahashi personally took the initiative on the front line in “hunting,” (i.e., the rescue mission) shortly after the establishment of the Koseiryo, and as a result, contracted typhus. At that time, it was thought that no one past age 40 could survive, but fortunately Takahashi recovered from the deadly disease notwithstanding his 59 years. Koseiryo had a home for single mothers, “Boshiryo,” and a dormitory for orphans, “Wakabaryo.” It presently continues its social work as the non-profit corporation “Airinkai,” and operates three facilities in Meguro, Tokyo: “Komabaen,” “Hakujuso,” and “Hikawa Home.” Takahashi served as a board member of the Airinkai until his retirement at the age of 72.
Establishment of “Keiairyo (Retirement Home)” and “Keiaikai”
In 1949, Professor Takayuki Namaye (生江孝之), a pioneer of modern Japanese social work and a scholar of the history of social work, planned to establish a paid-retirement home for the first time in Japan, and Takahashi assisted in its planning. On May 24, 1950, Takahashi acquired the mansion of a declining baronial family at Omori Sanno, Ota-ku, Tokyo, and started moving in from August 18th. The first director was Prof. Namaye (age 82) and the manager was Rev. Takahashi (age 64), who concurrently served as the pastor of Keiairyo Chapel. The baron’s residence (18,000 sq-ft), however, gradually became overcrowded because of the limited space in the urban area. Takahashi was forced, by law, to relocate the Keiairyo to a suburban area. Finally, in 1959, he was able to purchase land in Yamato City, Kanagawa Prefecture, which was four times larger than the previous premises. The new facility was inaugurated in 1960 and still exists at the same address as the non-profit corporation “Keiaikai” (Keiai no Sono). Professor Namaye died in 1957 before the relocation, and Rev. Takahashi resigned from his post as manager and pastor at the age of 72 after the purchase of the new land in 1959.
On April 4, 1914, Takahashi married Hide, the daughter of Mantaro Takahashi, and changed his surname from Yamanaka to Takahashi. Although his wife Hide died soon after marriage, he continued to call himself “Takahashi” for the rest of his life. The tragedy of his wife’s death was the motivation for his dedication to the Salvation Army. In 1918, early in his career as a Salvation Army officer, Takahashi married his Salvation Army colleague, Yukino (father: Wajiro Mizushina, mother: Yuki). She was from Aoki, Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture. They had nine children (four sons and five daughters). Among the children, the eldest son and the fifth daughter helped Takahashi’s social work after their completing graduate study at the one-year graduate course of the Japan College of Social Work for college graduates. The college had been established by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 1958 with the support of G.H.Q. Prior to their graduate study in social work, the eldest son had graduated from Tokyo Imperial University (now the University of Tokyo) with a L.L.M. and the fifth daughter graduated from Aoyama Gakuin University with a B.A. As discussed below, these two children later emigrated to the United States. In addition, his second son and his fourth daughter worked for Takahashi’s social work projects on a part-time basis. The second son assisted as a medical doctor (M.D. and Ph.D. from the Tokyo Medical and Dental University); he later became the director of the Department of Surgery, Tokyo Metropolitan Komagome Hospital, 東京都立駒込病院. The fourth daughter helped Takahashi as a licensed nutritionist (B.S. from the Jissen Women's University, 実践女子大学). Takahashi spent most of the rest of his life in Niiza, Saitama with his wife, Yukino. One of the major highlights of their retirement life was the six months in California staying with their eldest son and their fifth daughter. The son had become an attorney in Los Angeles, California, and the fifth daughter had become a top cosmetologist and had won many statewide and nationwide prizes. At the age of 72, Takahashi officially resigned as minister of the United Church of Christ in Japan, but he continued his involvement in various social work programs as a Christian throughout his life. He died on January 22, 1976 at the age of 89 in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture.
Major Works (Pen Name “Shimbi Takahashi”
- Shimbi Takahashi “Kanashimi no Uchiyori (A Novel: From the Abyss of Grief)” Tokyo: Keiseisha, 1918 小説 高橋真美『悲しみの裡より』（東京：警醒社、1918年）
- Naosaku Takahashi “Shikan no Kenko Mondai (Health Problems among Officers)” in Kyuseigun Shikan Zasshi 22(1933): 282-287 論文 高橋直作「士官の健康問題」『救世軍士官雑誌』22巻（1933年）：p.282－287（東京：救世軍出版及供給部刊）
- Shimbi Takahashi “Kanashimi no Uchiyori (From the Abyss of Grief): Revised and Enlarged” Tokyo: Taishindo, 1971 小説 高橋真美『改訂・増補 悲しみの裡より』（東京：待晨堂、1971年）
- Shimbi Takahashi “Watashi no Shinyaku: Hachijyu-Hachinen no Shogai ([Autobiography] My New Testament: Eighty-eight Years of My Life)” Tokyo: Isamu Takahashi (private edition), 1973 自伝 高橋真美『私の新約 八十八年の生涯』（東京：髙橋勇 私家版、1973年）
（Takahashi published several articles under the name of “Maj. Takahashi” in Kyuseigun Shikan Zasshi. なお、『救世軍士官雑誌』に「高橋中校」名の論文が複数あるが「高橋直作」であるかどうかは不明。中校は将校の階級で尉官の上、佐官の下。）
- Shimbi Takahashi “Watashi no Shinyaku: Hachijyu-Hachinen no Shogai ([Autobiography] My New Testament: Eighty-eight Years of My Life)” Tokyo: Isamu Takahashi (private edition), 1973 自伝 高橋真美『私の新約 八十八年の生涯』（東京：髙橋勇 私家版、1973年）p.17, 37, 508
- Shimbi Takahashi “Watashi no Shinyaku: Hachijyu-Hachinen no Shogai ([Autobiography] My New Testament: Eighty-eight Years of My Life)” Tokyo: Isamu Takahashi (private edition), 1973自伝 高橋真美『私の新約 八十八年の生涯』（東京：髙橋勇 私家版、1973年）p.35－36
- Shimbi Takahashi “Watashi no Shinyaku: Hachijyu-Hachinen no Shogai ([Autobiography] My New Testament: Eighty-eight Years of My Life)” Tokyo: Isamu Takahashi (private edition), 1973 自伝 高橋真美『私の新約 八十八年の生涯』（東京：髙橋勇 私家版、1973年）p.29
- Shimbi Takahashi “Kanashimi no Uchiyori (From the Abyss of Grief): Revised and Enlarged” Tokyo: Taishindo, 1971 小説 高橋真美『改訂・増補 悲しみの裡より』（東京：待晨堂、1971年）p.4
- Shimbi Takahashi “Watashi no Shinyaku: Hachijyu-Hachinen no Shogai ([Autobiography] My New Testament: Eighty-eight Years of My Life)” Tokyo: Isamu Takahashi (private edition), 1973 自伝 高橋真美『私の新約 八十八年の生涯』（東京：髙橋勇 私家版、1973年）p.61－225
- Shimbi Takahashi “Watashi no Shinyaku: Hachijyu-Hachinen no Shogai ([Autobiography] My New Testament: Eighty-eight Years of My Life)” Tokyo: Isamu Takahashi (private edition), 1973 自伝 高橋真美『私の新約 八十八年の生涯』（東京：髙橋勇 私家版、1973年）p.226－306
- Shimbi Takahashi “Watashi no Shinyaku: Hachijyu-Hachinen no Shogai ([Autobiography] My New Testament: Eighty-eight Years of My Life)” Tokyo: Isamu Takahashi (private edition), 1973 自伝 高橋真美『私の新約 八十八年の生涯』（東京：髙橋勇 私家版、1973年）p.491
- Shimbi Takahashi “Watashi no Shinyaku: Hachijyu-Hachinen no Shogai ([Autobiography] My New Testament: Eighty-eight Years of My Life)” Tokyo: Isamu Takahashi (private edition), 1973 自伝 高橋真美『私の新約 八十八年の生涯』（東京：髙橋勇 私家版、1973年）p.379
- Hiroki Ogasawara “Namae Takayuki” 小笠原宏樹『生江孝之』（シリーズ福祉に生きる 29）（東京：大空社出版, 1999年）ISBN 4756809081
- Isamu Takahashi “I have reached 8th year of the Oxen” 髙橋勇「第8回目の丑年を迎えた私」『江戸川病院のあゆみ』2008年度 p.73－75（メディカルプラザ江戸川院長のとき、この頃を振り返っている）
- Ben Kiyoshi Takahashi "Judo and Myself" 髙橋ベン潔士「柔道と私 我が半生の記」『二高柔道』16号（1998年） p.56－64、仙台：旧制第二高等学校尚志柔道会発行
- “Profile” in Tower Topics (Bullock's Wilshire) Los Angeles: March 21, 1970, p.1
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