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The Japan Experience

The Missionary Letters of Belle Marsh Poate and Thomas Pratt Poate, 1876-1892


Richard Poate Stebbins

This expertly edited collection of the letters of a Protestant missionary couple in Japan in the years 1876-1892 offers vivid insights into the forces at work in that country during the period of rapid modernization known as the Meiji era. Nova Scotia-born Belle Marsh served first with the U.S. Presbyterian mission in Yokohama before becoming the wife of Thomas Pratt Poate, a young Englishman who left a government teaching post in Tokyo to become an American Baptist missionary and spearhead a Baptist campaign in the northern part of Japan's main island. The adventurous life of the Poate couple and their five gifted children, here reconstructed in its wider context by their historian grandson, foreshadows some of the problems of cultural interaction in our own time.