The Gotemba Meeting Memorial

About The Gotemba Meeting

The Gotemba Meeting was held in June 14th to 16th, 1949 at the Japan YMCA Center "Tozan-so" in Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture. Japanese Christian educators and the mission board delegates from the Unites States both working for establish a new Christian university in Japan gathered to conclude the final unversity constitution. Approved here is the name of the new university to be "International Christian University," and to set up the College of Liberal Arts, with the graduate school of education following it. Also declared that the univeristy will produce students who would be the future leaders to contribute to realize the world peace on the basis of the Christian faith; the founding spirit of ICU.

This is the grouop photograph at the meeting. Prince Chichibu in the center, Ralph E. Deffendorfer and Maurice E. Troyer form the Japan International Christian University Foundation in both sides.

Q: Do you recognize other atendees?

Yes, we can name all members in this photograph, plus the names of attendees not included in this photo, and the absentees. Please click the photo to see their names.

Q: Why did the Imperial family member attend the meeting?

Soichi Saito (Low right-end in the photo) was one of the main figures in the university foundation movement. He was an elite Japanese Christian, worked as the Chairperson of Japan YMCA, the Director of the Repatriation Relief Agency, the Japan delegation for the United Nation ad hoc committee, etc. He happened to know that Prince Chichibu, who was his acquaintance, was staying in Gotemba during the meeting period, and so invited him to join. There was an open and cheerful atmosphoere in the Japanese Imerial families at this time. It was believed taht democracy would bring the Japanese the relief and the hope for the future, regardless of the classes and religions. After Prince Chichibu passed away two years later, Princess Chichibu stayed in the center of the foundation and supported ICU for long, as an Honorary Councillor.

Q: Can we still visit this place?

Yes. The YMCA International Youth Center Tozanso is still operating in the same location in Gotemba. The red arrow in the following aerial photo shows the shooting angle. [by GoogleMap]

Q: Are there any documents left about this meeting?

Yes. The proceedings and other related documents were donated few years ago. Please click the follwoing link to see them (Total: 374MB You might have to wait a while.)