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Two Empires In Japan Essay, Research Paper

Two Empires In Japan by John M.L. Young and The Christian Confrontation with Shinto Nationalism by Kun Sam Lee were the two books I used for this subject. The former, an confidant 100 twelvemonth history of the persecution by the Asiatic authorities with their demands that all people bow in Kyujo-yohai, ( idolizing the Imperial House from afar ) ; and the battle of the Nipponese Christians in times of via media and prevail under such totalitarian force per unit area. The latter a more elaborate historical history of old Shinto and the earliest Christian missionaries. The undermentioned essay will concentrate on the conflicting political orientations within Japan between the Shinto warmongers and the Protestant mission attempt from it? s sprouting in 1859 until 1957.

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Dr. Young cites the entryway of Christianity into Japan at 1542 when a fierce storm found two Lusitanian crewmans shipwrecked on the southern island of Tanegashima. The Japanese accepted the Roman syncretism of the Gospel, but were more interested in the goods and engineering that came with ulterior Roman Catholic missionaries who arrived in 1549. The priests? efforts at proselytization were non really hard ; the spirit in which their attempts were received is competently demonstrated:

? The images of Buddha, with little application of the

chisel, served as images for Christ. Each Buddhist saint

found his opposite number in Roman Christianity ; and the road-

side shrines of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, were rededi-

cated to Mary. Temples, communion tables, bells, holy H2O vass,

thuribles, and prayer beadss were all ready and could be easy

adapted to the demands of the new faith. ( Young, pp. 12 )

Oda Noyabunga welcomed the Roman missionaries, for he needed their advanced arms to successfully get the better of the Ashikaga Shogunate.

Shortly after his triumph, Noyabunga was assassinated and all priests were driven out of Japan in 1587 vis a vie a edict from Hideyoshi the Great.

Sadly, Japan went more than 400 old ages without the influence of true faith

in the full land. Until the reaching of two Presbyterian missionaries, Dr. and Mrs.

J.C. Hepburn in 1859.

As the new missionaries became established they began get downing mission schools for the kids in which could go trained in the manner of the Gospel. However, after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 ( which consisted of the demotion of 270 Daimyo and over 2 million samurai giving up thier blade and position ) , the autochthonal faith of Japan, Shintoism, took a revitalised clasp on the multitudes.

Shinto was the implicit in worldview for all of Nipponese public civilization and social establishments. Including instruction, which stressed the worship of Amatersu-omi-kami, the fabulous sun-goddess from whom the Emperor descended ( hence, doing him divine every bit good ) .

In 1886, the Imperial Rescript on Education was issued in which filial piousness was prescribed to given to the Emperor in? profoundest bow? . Herein lies the beginning or focal point of the struggle in the

dealingss of Christianity and Shinto in Japan. Was bowing to the portrayal of the Emperor simply a mark of political trueness and presentation of the spirit of nationalism, as the Ministry of Education contended? Or was

obeying the authorization of the Rescript devotion, because the Emperor was perceived as Godhead, as the faithful Christians maintained?

The two work forces who were representative of the changing grades of Christian committedness in the thick of this battle were Masahisa Uemura and Kanzo Uchimura.

A really interesting historiographical struggle arose here because Lee respects Uchimura as sub-orthodox because he denied inerrancy, even though he didn? t spring in to the so called? Nipponese Christianity? ( which was a syncretistic blend of Shinto patriotism and Christianity similar to the worship in the Old Testament of Jehovah and Baal ) ; Lee so says Uemura is the Orthodox spokesman because he

believed in the substitutionary expiation and inerrancy ( even though Young says Uemura via medias with his Mukyokai ( no-church ) motion and his desires to

neglect any and all signifiers of confessional Christianity ) .

Young further says that even though Uchimura denied inerrancy, he was

valiant in his refusal to bow to the portrayal when he said? We are Protestants, we do non even bow to a portrayal of Jesus Christ, lest it be said that we worship a adult male. ? However, Uchimura was swept by via media, and subsequently in life gave himself over to really utmost patriotism, such that the pureness of his informant was desecrated. As Dr. Young said clip and clip once more? Such work forces lacked strong strong beliefs

refering truth and mistake necessary to enable the Church to stand without via media against the elusive cajoleries of polytheistic & # 338 ; hostile powers? . ?

With such work forces stand foring the Christian Religion in Japan, it is small admiration that when the Christian churches were pressured to fall in a united Nipponese denomination ( that would merely be another puppet organisation of the authorities ) , few churches refused. The Christians justified the brotherhood ( which included broad theologists every bit good those who advocated Japanese Christianity ) , as? Christian ecumenicity? and therefore it was to be encouraged. However, it was obvious to those stood house, that the? ecumenicity? of the those who agreed to fall in the one national church was merely a baptised manner of avoiding struggle and persecution from the authorities

There were nevertheless, some who resisted the totalitarian warmonger coercion of the Shinto province. One such group were members in the church affiliated with the Mino mission in the late 1930? s. The immature people, as they attended the authorities schools, were required to take thier periodical trip the Grand Shrine at Ise where they would pay court to the Sun Goddess, every bit good as pray for the prosp

erity of the Imperial Family. Two male childs, one 12, the other 11, said they would non take part in the devotion because? they were Christians? .

Head of the mission, Miss Wiedner, had an interview with the Minister of

National Education. Which in bend led the newspapers to reason that those associated with the mission were anti-nation, anti-people, and anti-land, because they refused to make the worship at the Ise Shrine. All of that due to the fact that the

national political construction is nonmeaningful outside a Shinto political orientation, and if culls Shinto, it is perceived that they necessarily reject the political construction. Such remarks were published in the newspaper under the headlines? The Mino

mission refuses to acknowledge any other God than the God of the Bible? . Although this was intended to be a capitol abuse, Miss Wiedner was overjoyed and despite farther force per unit area they Mino Mission Church remained faithful throughout. The Nipponese people, instead than detest the Mino people, were astonished and look up toing of their firm unity.

Although the licking of Japan in the Second World War damaged the religion of the people in the? Divine Emperor-Holy Land? construct, it was non long after that the Japanese were back to thier old ways with Shinto patterns. Japan? s licking brought a pact and a fundamental law by order of General Macarthur. While it guaranteed spiritual freedom, there was still much ridicule and contempt for those who would non bow to Amateresu-omi-kami ; for the public civilization of Japan, with its fabulous 2,600 twelvemonth history of racial high quality and the Divine Emperor, would non be shaken by a foreign imposed fundamental law.

There was nevertheless, much more allowance of non-government controlled Christian civil order. On the negative side of things, this relief of force per unit area from the authorities came tardily for many of the Christians who had already been hardened by that Eden-old spirit of tolerance ; and therefore would non interrupt with the Unified Nipponese Church, nor repent of thier theological syncretism of broad Christianity with Shinto spiritual nationalism.

While there were many faithful trusters in Japan as a consequence of the Protestant mission attempt, the laxness of the bulk of the institutional churches made a permanent feeling on the Nipponese people. An feeling that told the indigens that the

Westerners, while they may hold brought some nice apparels and aromas and the similar, brought a God that was non plenty unlike the Gods of the age to give the Nipponese people as a whole something of existent significance. What is needed in Japan are work forces and adult females who ;

? & # 8230 ; in the struggle between the Two Empires of polytheism [ we ] must non neglect to spot what san decently be rendered to the non-Christian province and what to God entirely. As we seek to set up the cause of Christ in Japan cognizing that we have the WORD OF GOD to steer us and the KING OF KINGS to govern us & # 338 ; allow us non turn weary in good making ; for in due season we shall harvest if we faint non. ?

( Young, pp.228 )


As I read these two books, I found myself easy going involved in the econtroversy. With Lee? s book, the inside informations of the events were clear and consise, except for the fact that he rarely translated the Japanese that was in th etext. Dr, Young ever catered to my ignorance in that country. That fact entirely made his book more gratifying because I didn? t feel like I was reading a foriegn text edition.

I made the point that I felt more intimate with Young? s book. That may good hold been because he taught here at Covenant, nevertheless, I think there is more involved. For one, the historiographical difference that I noted was one of the indicants that made me believe that Mr. Lee was, shall we state, less valorous in his defence of the Reformed religion. Taht is no tto say I did non believe that he was Reformed, because I am reasonably certain he was.

As I read through the books I besides began to acquire a better appreciation on some of the jobs that are involved in forien missions work. The contention seems to me to be at its kernel a civilization war. But at its most basic degree, a war between civilization religions. That is non to state that I think that Christianity is a civilization. Rather, it is to state that the transcendent truth claims of Christianity come to bear on the whole of world in such a manner so as to dispute every facet of civilization. There? s the hang-up. The whole civilization is bound up and founde upon the faith of those who make up the civilization.

The inquiry so becomes, ? How do we curate to people who are imbibed in a civilization that Si founded upon an idelogical model, read faith, that is diametrically opposed to Christianity without showing Christianity as simply another civilization? ?

The job is farther complicated when the laguage differences are taken into history. To my cognition, there is non a individual word or character that can adequately pass on? Any privation of, or deficiency of conformance unto the jurisprudence of God. ?

Beyond that, there is non an easy manner to pass on the thought of a personal God. The Nipponese word for God is? Kami? . However, if I were to look at a beautiful scene, the word? Kami? would function as an accurate term for my feelings. They are non even Pantheists, as the dual use would look to connote. Even ththough they do non hold a word for a surpassing personal being.

These are merely a few of the troubles that foreign missionaries encounter. As I read these books, I got a existent feel dor the jobs that the American Christians had in showing the Gospel. Equally good as the faithful Nipponese Christians when they condemned thre chauvinistic syncretism of the Gospel by their ain people. The patriotism embede into the whole civilization an determination thier beginning in the Shinto faith, would hold made all of those who resisted capable to tremendous force per unit area. The books hence gave a feel for the via media of some ; and it gave me a greater grasp for those who stood house.