Pioneer in Cultural Exchange: Kure YWCA

It is not too much to say the the Kure YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) made a remarkable contribution to the spread of Western culture in Kure right after World War II. It was established in 1948 under the advocacy of Ms. Jean Begg from New Zealand and was organized by some Japanese women in Kure who were associated with some churches. They began a drive to raise funds in order to buy the building which had once been a storehouse of Occupation Forces. They held a kimono show and a rummage sale of second-hand colothes, which eventually was a great success.


The Kure YWCA was the forerunner of so-called culture kyoshitsu (class) such as cooking class, English conversation, embroidery, Bible reading and so  on which have become popular among housewives.


English lessons were taught by many native speakers. One of them was Mrs. Mary Bleechmore, who stayed in Kure in 1947 to 1951. She also gave the war brides rudimentary lessons in Western style life including how to use a knife and a fork in preparation for their new life abroad. Recently she and her husband paid a visit to the Kure YWCA and renewed old friendships.


The Kure YWCA's rapid growth in popularity was due to the fact that there were no other public facilities available to citizens in those days. Now it is still run by those who will not spare strenuous efforts seeking peace and happiness.


The photograph below shows the first kimono show held in 1951 at the Kure YWCA.


Parkway Vol.3 No.6 December 1989


第二次世界大戦直後の呉において、呉YWCA(Young Women's Christian Association)が、西洋文化の普及に大きく貢献したといっても過言ではない。1948年ニュージーランド出身のジーン・ベッグさんの提唱のもと設立され、呉市内の教会関係の女性によって組織された。占領軍の倉庫となっていた建物を購入するための資金調達に動き始め、着物ショーや、中古衣類のバザーなどを開いて、獲得の運びとなった