- Category : Educator
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (16)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Unexpected 4
Dutch educator who was a citizen of no country but was honored in Holland, Austria and Japan as a missionary, educator and statesman. Verbeck was one of a select group instrumental in having the Bible translated into Japanese in 1887 and is best known for his advocacy for the use of the German language in Japanese medical studies.
Verbeck studied engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of Utrecht and graduated from the Moravian Academy in Zeist in 1848. When he was 22, his sister and her husband invited him to travel to the United States where he took a position at a foundry outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin. After about a year, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, and then on to Helena, Arkansas where he found an engineering position. Eventually he returned to Wisconsin to be near his sister’s family, and when they moved to New York, he followed. During the summer of 1854, he contracted cholera and was confined to his bed for a full month. Reportedly he vowed to become a missionary if he survived the illness. While in New York, he enrolled at a theological seminary. After completing his studies, he was licensed and ordained an evangelist on 3/22/1859.
Verbeck married Maria Manion on 4/18/1859. He and his new wife sailed from New York on 5/07/1859 for his first assignment. Although delayed by storms, they arrived safely in Japan, anxious to begin their missionary duties. The birth of their first child on 1/26/1860 marked the first Christian child born in Japan since its reopening to the world, but joy turned to sorrow when their daughter, christened Emma Japonica, died on 2/09/1860. The couple’s second child, William, was born on 1/18/1861, and January 1863 saw the arrival of another daughter, once again named Emma Japonica. The political atmosphere in Japan was changing, and Verbeck was fearful for his family’s safety. Warned that his own life was in danger, he moved the family first to the island of Deshima, and later to Shanghai. Three more children were born in the years between 1864-68.
During his years in Japan, Verbeck had been teaching English to Japanese students from his home, but during 1864-65, the classes were moved to the government school. By early 1868, it became obvious that it would be necessary to leave Nagasaki, and accepting an offer to go to Tokyo to help form a national university, he made his preparations on 3/23/1869. His wife and children were readied for their voyage to California. Verbeck became president of the University of Tokyo and received the Japanese order of the "Rising Sun" in 1877.
Verbeck died on 3/10/1898, Tokyo.