Japan Council:Kansas City

Leavenworth Sister City Omihachiman

In 1997, the cities of Leavenworth, Kansas, and Omihachiman, Japan, became Sister and Brother cities. The two cities are connected because of the civil 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 rest of his life. He established civic and entrepreneurial organizations to support his missionary work. His legacy includes the establishment of the Christian Omni 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 his common bond, our two cities have formed a lasting friendship.

Leavenworth dedicated a marker to the Sister/Brother friendship at North Esplanade Park along North Esplanade Street in Leavenworth.

Website: www.lvks.org