Japan has had three Catholic prime ministers, and its current empress was raised and educated in the faith. How did a non-Christian nation come to foster more Catholic leaders than the United States, particularly when Protestantism is said to define Christianity in Japan and Catholicism is believed to be but a fleeting element of the country’s so-called Christian century?
Far from being a relic of the past – something brought to Japan by sixteenth-century missionaries such as Francis Xavier and then forgotten – Catholicism offered, and continues to provide, an authentic way for Japanese to shape their own cultural identities. This volume documents the appeal of Catholicism not only among farmers and fishers but also among scientists, diplomats, novelists, and members of the imperial household who have answered the challenge of Christianity and found inspiration in Catholicism since the late nineteenth century. Associated with the past, Catholicism has offered many Japanese an alternative way to maintain “tradition” and negotiate modernity.
This path-breaking exploration of Catholicism’s long-term influence on Japan challenges the deep-seated tendency to juxtapose the traditional, non-Christian East with the modern and Christian West.
This volume will be of interest to students and scholars of Japan studies, Christianity, and comparative religion.
Makes a much-needed contribution to the study of Christianity in Japan...Xavier's Legacies is a critical contribution and a must-read for serious students ofAsian social and religious studies in the modem period.
At the end, we have been helped to better understand how Japan, after a long and bitter war, managed to enter the community of democratic nations harmoniously...The vast amount of data gathered together in these pages and the thoughtful commentary make this book a most useful resource.
I have been looking for a book like this for some time to use in courses on Japanese Christianity. While there are stellar publications on the so-called Christian century in Japan, spanning the late 1500s through early 1600s, there has been nothing on the modern period covering Christian history from such a wide and diverse perspective. Xavier’s Legacies is a much-needed book in the fields of Asian and religious studies.
Xavier’s Legacies, on Catholicism in the context of modern Japanese cultural and intellectual history, is a long-awaited volume. Here we encounter not the lives of saints, but ordinary Japanese who bring their ideas and their faith to bear on the transitions and the tragedies of their time.
Kevin M. Doak is the Nippon Foundation Chair in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Georgetown University. He is co-editor of the Journal of Japanese Studies and sits on the executive board of the Society for Japanese Studies.
Contributors: James R. Bartholomew, Kevin M. Doak, Ann M. Harrington, Mariko Ikehara, Mark R. Mullins, Toshiko Sunami, Mark Williams, Yoshihisa Yamamoto, and Yoshimitsu Yoshihiko (with Charles C. Campbell)
Introduction: Catholicism, Modernity, and Japanese Culture / Kevin M. Doak
1 Catholic Women Religious and Catholicism in Japan: 1872-1940 / Ann M. Harrington
2 Toward a History of Christian Scientists in Japan / James R. Bartholomew
3 Tanaka Kotaro and Natural Law / Kevin M. Doak
4 Catholicism and Contemporary Man / Yoshimitsu Yoshihiko (translated and annotated by Kevin M. Doak and Charles C. Campbell)
5 Kanayama Masahide: Catholicism and Mid-Twentieth-Century Japanese Diplomacy / Mariko Ikehara
6 Crossing the Deep River: Endo Shusaku and the Problem of Religious Pluralism / Mark Williams
7 An Essay on Sono Ayako / Toshiko Sunami (translated and annotated by Kevin M. Doak)
8 The Theory and Practice of Inculturation by Father Inoue Yoji: From Panentheism to Namu Abba / Yoshihisa Yamamoto
9 Between Inculturation and Globalization: The Situation of Catholicism in Contemporary Japanese Society / Mark R. Mullins
Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.Subscribe to our newsletter now
Read past newsletters