The Finnish School in Japan, originally established for the children of the Finnish missionary families, celebrates the 50th anniversary this year. Ms. Johanna Yukie Syrja-Sano, one of the former students, describes its history and current activities.
The Finnish School in Japan (nicknamed JASUKO) was founded in Otsu city, Shiga prefecture, Japan, in 1964, for the educational needs of the children of Finnish missionaries working in Japan.
The first school year in the fall of 1964 started in a church in Chausuyama, Otsu, initially with three students which soon grew to six. The number of students was at its largest in the spring of 1987, when 43 students attended. Most of them also lived in the school. The school was founded by Finnish Free Foreign Mission (currently Fida International), joined later by other mission organizations, namely Finnish Lutheran Overseas Mission (FLOM), the Finnish Lutheran Mission (FLM) and the Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland (LEAF).
The school used barracks built by parents and volunteers for many years, until the new dormitory and classroom building were completed in 1987.
There was a gradual decline in the number of Finnish missionaries in Japan during the 1990’s, and the JASUKO cooperation between the four missionary organizations came to an end in 2003. The school recommenced activities again in 2006, this time in Finnish, English and Japanese, and this trilingual school continued until 2008.
Today JASUKO graduates are involved in missions and many other forms of Japan-Finland relations. Graduates in Finland have started a baseball team called JASUKO Giants (see photo).
Currently JASUKO is managed by a church group which holds seminars and camps, as well as cultural and volunteer events in JASUKO all through the year. JASUKO continues to play an important role in Finland-Japan relations. Accommodation is available all around the year, with the big sauna remaining a special attraction for visitors to enjoy.
If you happen to be in the area, why not drop by to experience Finnish life in Japan!
For further information:
Sami-Pekka & Mai Lehtosaari
Caretakers on behalf of Kirisuto Fukuin Kyokai
2-10-1 Shimmen Otsu-shi Shiga-ken 〒520-2115