NIS honors Miss Tane Matsukata on the school's 40th birthday

(Source: The Nishimachi Internationalist, Fall 1989, volume 11)

On Sept. 25, '89, over 400 "Friends of NIS" gathered at NIS to celebrated school's 40th anniversary in honor of Miss Tané Matsukata . Ambassador and Mrs. Edwin O. Reischauer were the guests of honor. The following is Mrs. Reischauer's speech.

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What a glorious evening this is! I'm most happy this evening to join all of you students, teachers, parents, alumni, friends of Nishimachi International School at its 40 anniversary celebration and honoring my sister, Tané Matsukata, who founded this school.

Every time I come here, I become very nostalgic, but I have felt more nostalgic today than ever before. As my husband and I walked into the Matsukata House, our spirits filled with memories of long ago, when as a child I lived here with Tané and my other sisters and brother. The recently renovated library which is beautiful was our living room and our dining room. I believe I'm standing right now on the location where there was a persimmon tree, and every year about this time in late September, the kaki got very ripe, and I used to climb the tree to pick them. I also forgot to say that when I went into the house the stairway and the banister seemed so much smaller than 64 years ago when I used to slide down the banisters. Your playground today was our lawn where we played croquet and in the winter time — I think there was more snow when I was a child —we made yukidarumas. In front of the entrance to our home, was a large area of pine trees where we rode our bicycles.

Today in the same place are buildings and classrooms in which over 300 students boys and girls from over 40 countries of the world, study and play together. We had a very nice guided tour by some of the students this evening. We enjoyed looking at the new buildings and the classrooms. It is hard to believe that this was once where my family lived quietly together.

The Matsukata home was my mother's "greenhouse" which she built in 1921. She had many dreams about educating and bringing us children up in this house. Born and raised in America and only coming to live in Japan after her marriage, she was determined to give us children an education which would prepare us for living in democratic society which she envisioned Japan would become in our lifetime, as indeed it did. She wanted to bring us up to be independent, responsible and democratic individuals, and since she felt Japanese schools at that time could not give us the kind of education she wanted to give us, she employed an American teacher and Japanese teachers to teach us here at home. The third floor was used as our classroom. In this way my mother prepared my sister Tané to do what she did when she started this school years later in 1949, after Japan's defeat in World War II. The seeds planted by my mother matured, and when replanted by my sister in this same soil, it became the Nishimachi International School. We just completed it while building a democratic society in Japan. This school is not just a school which teaches English and Japanese. It is not just a school to prepare boys and girls for higher education. It is a school which prepares them to become responsible citizens of the world. Japanese and boys and girls from many countries of the world Are here to learn to work happily together and to communicate effectively with each other and to recognize and appreciate the cultural differences. They come here to learn what it means to be truly international and to learn from each other and cooperate happily together. The basic objective of Nishimachi School is to teach boys and girls how to make this a peaceful world. As the school song we all will be singing later this evening says, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." Today the world situation demands are such that each one us must strive to help make this a peaceful world. I believe that the education Nishimachi International School has offered for 40 years has prepared boys and girls who have attended the school to live and work in harmony and peace. This is what my sister Tané strove to do at Nishimachi International School and the continuation of her effort will forever keep her alive in our minds.