Katsuso Miho Fund continues legacy of pacifism at YDS

MihoFumiye Miho ’53 B.D. heard a “deafening blast” just before the sky “turned into a brilliant, flaming orange as if many suns had begun to shine.”

Those are the images Miho carries with her decades after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, as recorded in an interview she did with the Sentinel in Grand Junction, CO in 1986.

Born into a Buddhist family in Hawaii, she went to Japan to study and was trapped there when World War II broke out.  The bombing of Hiroshima had a great influence on her life and eventually led to her becoming a Christian and Quaker, she told the Sentinel, because Christianity, for her, put a greater emphasis on peace, and less on nationalism and militarism.

In 1992, four decades after her graduation from YDS, Miho established the Katsuso Mino Fund for Scholarship in Peace-Making in honor of her brother, the late Paul Katsuso Miho ’43, who was prominent in peace and justice activities.  The fund was created in response to an endowment campaign by the YDS classes of the 1950s.

Scholarships from the fund are awarded each year to a student “who through his or her actions has shown lasting dedication to the Christian pacifist principles practiced by former professors Bainton, Calhoun, Latourette, Luccock, Morris, and Nelson.” 

YDS Alumni gather in paradise

In mid-August, Honolulu, HA was the setting for a Yale Divinity School reception for alumni – the first time in recent memory that alumni on the island paradise have gathered for a YDS-sponsored event.

The gathering, hosted by YDS Director of Development Constance Royster ’72 B.A., was held on Aug. 15 at the Moana Surfrider-Westin Resort & Spa.  About 15 alumni and friends attended the YDS reception.  The event was significant, Royster said, because it underscored YDS’s continuing commitment to maintain contact with all alums, no matter how distant from New Haven.

The reception provided an opportunity for alums in Hawaii to mingle with several others from the mainland who were in town to attend the wedding of Charles Vogl ’11 M.Div., a documentary filmmaker, and Socheata Poeuv ’12 M.B.A., founder of Khmer Legacies, a New Haven nonprofit that documents the Cambodian genocide through videotaped testimonies.  Officiating at the wedding was alumnus Glenn M. Libby ’95 M.Div., a chaplain at the University of Southern California, assisted by Stephanie Johnson '10 M.Div.  Click here to view more photos.

HawaiiOne alumna, Gwendolyn K. Hill ’03, flew in for the YDS reception from one of the other islands, Kauai, to attend.  In two instances, Royster was able to make contact with alumni who were unable to be at the reception: George Lee ’50 B.A., ’55 B.D., and David B. Turner ’87 M.Div.

Lee was in ill health, but Royster was able visit him at his parish, St. Clement’s, which has a K-4 school.  She called the visit “very rewarding” and reported delivering a YDS baseball cap and pin to Lee, which prompted him to say, “I shall show them proudly.  Many thanks for not forgetting me.”

Turner expressed disappointment to have missed the reception but was unable to attend because he was leading a conference on Native Hawaiian Culture and Communication.

Royster said a highlight of her trip to Hawaii was her visit with Fumiye Miho ’53 B.D., and her niece Roko Ishizuka.  Miho, who is 96 years old, was also prevented from attending the reception for health reasons.  A survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, Miho established the Katsuso Miho Fund for Scholarship in Peace-Making at YDS in 1992, and Royster was able to reiterate the Divinity School’s gratitude in person at the nursing home where Miho resides.  Before retirement, Miho, a Quaker and ardent peace advocate, taught school and was pastor of a Japanese-speaking Methodist congregation.

Among the YDS alumni in attendance at the reception, in addition to Hill, Libby, and Johnson, were Michael Del Ponte ’08 M.A.R., Timothy Morita ’85 S.T.M., and David Saurer ’70 B.A., ’73 M,Div.