Building as welfare herald revives in Shimane

July 12, 2016

There was a completion-celebrating ceremony of the Memorial Hall in honor of Fukuda Heiji and Yoshi who were forerunners of welfare service in Matsue-shi, Shimane Prefecture located in western Japan.

In 1866, Fukuda Heiji was born in Tottori Prefecture next to Shmane, and moved to Matsue in 1878. He begin a print shop in front of the prefecture office. Matsue was seized with the unprecedented big flood damage in October, 1893. Then Heiji had a sudden enlightenment on welfare service.

The children deprived of a house and parents became an orphan, and herded together to do a beggar and steal repeatedly. Heijii saw its condition and made a welfare facility called the Matsue Children Inn.

Fukuda Yoshi was born in 1872 as Heiji's younger sister. She  graduated from Shimane Prefecture Teacher Training School in 1890, and become a teacher of Honjo Elementary School. At the time, She met a Deaf girl named Ishibashi Haru.

This fateful encounter with the girl made Yoshi awaken in education for the Blind and Deaf. She was the first woman to establish the school for the Blind and Deaf in Shimane Prefecture, the 11th school for the Blind and Deaf across Japan. It  would be later split to the present Shimane Prefectural School for the Visually Impaired, and Matsue School for the Deaf.

The memorial hall where the completion-celebrating ceremony took place was the building used to be the chapel of the Matsue Children Inn.

Japanese source:

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