In 1997, the cities of Leavenworth, Kansas and Omihachiman, Japan became Sister and Brother cities. The two cities are connected because of the civic and religious commitment of one man, Mr. William Merrell Vories.
Vories was born in Leavenworth in 1880. In 1905, he traveled to Omihachiman as a YMCA evangelistic teacher and missionary. Vories dedicated his life to Christian principles and remained in Japan for the remainder of his life. He established numerous civic and entreprenurial organizations to support his missionary work. His legacy includes the establishment of the Christian Omi Brotherhood, the Vories Architectural Company, the Omi Pharmaceutical Sales Company, the Omihachiman Christian School, and the Omihachiman Vories Memorial Hospital. His work as a missionary, businessman, architect, social worker and educator significantly contributed to the Japanese and Omihachiman communities.
Mr. Vories' accomplishments are legend to the Japanese people. Numerous Japanese delegations continue to visit Leavenworth to pay homage to Mr. Vories and his birthplace. The cities of Leavenworth and Omihachiman celebrate Mr. Vories and his social, educational and religious teachings. Based on this common bond, our two cities have formed a lasting friendship.
October 12, 2008