the summer of 1877 four Japanese young men arrived in Greencastle,
sent to study at the university by Asbury alumnus John Ing, who
directed a mission school in Hirosaki, Japan. All were professed
Christians of the samurai class with little financial resources,
but willing to work.
They were given rooms in the attic of the
Edifice, hoisting coal for heating and cooking to their rooms
by block and tackle. (They managed to escape the burning building
during the great fire but without their cooking stove, which one
of them explained afterwards "was too hot!")
Fluent in English from their training under Ing, they also earned
some of their expenses by lecturing and preaching in the neighborhood.
They found general acceptance in the college and the community,
and were pledged by social fraternities.
A fifth Japanese arrived a little later but became ill and died
in Greencastle in 1878 and was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery.
Two who attained international distinction were Sutemi Chinda and
Aimaro Sato, who also became brothers-in-law when Chinda married
the latter's sister after graduation. In the best Asbury oratorical
tradition, Sato was making an impassioned speech in Meharry Hall
advocating the election of James Garfield to the American presidency
in the fall of 1880, when President Martin interrupted him to halt
the proceedings as inappropriate to the occasion!
Chinda and Sato entered the Japanese foreign service, and both served
as ambassadors to the United States as well as in other important
posts. Another, Izumy Nasu, translated the Iliad into Japanese.