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1954 Sambika queries (J C Davison, C T (A) MacNair items)

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Haruo's picture

One of my longstanding hymnological queries has to do with the origins (and original English text, assuming there was one) of hymn #158 in the 1954 Japanese Protestant hymnal ??? ("Sambika"). The tune is HYMN TO JOY, and I have found that it was often treated for that reason as a "translation" of "Joyful, joyful, we adore thee", though the text is not a translation of that hymn. The original first line is given as "Ring, O ring, ye chimes of glory" and attributed to "John Carroll Davison, 1884". My research has indicated that Mr. Davison was a Canadian Methodist missionary in Japan, but beyond that I have no information on him or the text attributed to him. The hymn does not appear in the current ???21, which does have an actual Japanese translation of "Joyful, joyful..." A second query arising from the same hymnal has to do with the composition and previous text-wedding history of the tune at hymn #95. The text is a Japanese metrical Magnificat, and the tune name MARY'S SONG suggests that it may have been composed for such a text. But in what language? By whom? The composer is listed as "Caroline Tuck (Alexander) MacNair, 1895". Anybody know more? Neither item (nor author nor composer) turns up in the database here.


Seek and ye shall find. Last time I googled her nothing came up. This time has an obituary (almost halfway down this long page ( No birth date but otherwise reasonably detailed for its brevity. Haruo My Little Hymnblog ( North America's leading Esperanto hymn writer and hymnologist Webmaster, Fremont Baptist Church, Seattle

Dear Haruo,

John Carroll Davison is a very distant cousin of mine, I have discovered him while doing a family tree. I would be happy to share what I have about him with you. I have not as yet located this hymn, but will keep looking.

"Methodist Missionary Graves in Japan
by John W. Krummel
A little further from the main entrance to the Yokohama cemetery ... are the graves of two of Julius and Mary Frances Davison Soper’s children both of whom died in Tokyo where their parents pioneered MethodistEpiscopal work. They were
Lena Isabel (1874-1875) and
James Preston (1878-1879).
...Mr. and Mrs. Soper returned to America in 1911because of her health and worked among the Japanese in California.
John Carroll Davison (1843-1928),
the brother of Mrs. Soper, and his wife began the Methodist work on the southern
island of Kyushu in 1873 and spent most of their life there until retirement in 1922. Presiding elder continuously from 1884 to 1921, hymnody was one of his interests and he prepared the first Japanese Methodist hymnal.
Mrs. Davison (Mary Elizabeth Stout) (1850-1915) died in Nagasaki and is buried in the foreigners’ cemetery on a hill overlooking the city and the harbor. Mr. Davison died in California and his ashes were brought back to rest next to his wife."

His family was from the Harmony New Jersey area.

Best, June

Thanks so much, June! If you do run across an English text for the hymn in question (#158 in the 1954 Sambika) I will be thrilled to see it. Also, if you see any trace of an available (online or for purchase) copy of his Methodist hymnal, that too would thrill me.