Portland State University. Department of History
Linda A. Walton
Date of Publication
Master of Arts (M.A.) in History
William Smith Clark (1826-1886) -- Travel -- Japan -- Hokkaido, Hokkaido (Japan) -- Description and travel, Japan -- History -- Meiji period (1868-1912)
1 online resource (4, vi, 209 p.)
In March, 1990, I was hired to teach English in Japan at a small, private academy in Chitose, Hokkaido. The school was called the Academy of Clark's Spirit. My first day at work I was asked by my boss, Sato Masako: "So Mr. Walker, of course you know who Dr. Clark is?" I told Mr. Sato that I was sorry, but that I did not. "You said in your resume that you are a history student? We named this school after him. He's one of the most important people in Hokkaido's history," he said, looking disappointed. Mr. Sato explained that he wanted me to teach with the spirit of Clark in mind and bring to his classrooms what Clark brought to Hokkaido over a hundred years before. I nodded and asked to see my apartment. I began this study of William Smith Clark after my first stay in Hokkaido. It is the product of my interest in modern Japanese history, particularly Japan's relationship with the United States. The first leg of this project was started in Amherst, Massachusetts, where I met with Dr. John Maki. He directed me through the Clark collection at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. I had several interviews with Maki during the week I was in Massachusetts and was given liberal access to the Clark collection under his influence. The second leg of my study was continued in Sapporo, Hokkaido. I met with Dr. Toshiyuki Akizuki at Hokkaido University and was shown through the Clark collection there. I lived in Hokkaido for about two years and have kept notes on the tribute paid to Clark and visible signs of his impact on the northern island. The focus of this study is to look at Clark's contribution to the development of Hokkaido by detailing his work in education, Christianity, and agriculture. By focusing on Clark's particular contribution to Hokkaido a larger historical trend, that is, the importation of foreign ideas in the history of Meiji Japan, is better understood. ~he results of this study conclude that Clark was an important figure in the history of Hokkaido's settlement, and to the development of nineteenth century Japan.,. ,Clark was also an important figure in the history of the relations between Japan and the United states., It is in lasting institutions like Hokkaido University and the Sapporo Independent Christian Church where Clark's impact is best illustrated. These institutions, particularly the university, were the nerve centers for Hokkaido's development, and Clark planted these seeds of enlightenment, under the direction of the Meiji government, in the fertile northern soil. I have gained a better understanding of Clark's stay in Hokkaido because of this project, but doubt that I could even now satisfy Mr. Sato's insistence that I teach with Clark's spirit. I do understand, however, why it was important to Mr. Sato that I try. Clark's phrase "Boys Be Ambitious" still embodies the spirit of many educators in Hokkaido and his success with Japanese students is one of the better examples of international exchange in any country. Clark is cherished by the people of Hokkaido as the spiritual pioneer of their island even though his stay
Walker, Brett L., "William Smith Clark: A Study in Education, Christianity, and American-Japanese Cooperation in the Nineteenth Century" (1993). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4640.