American Missionaries, Christian Oyatoi, and Japan, 1859-73
440 pages, 6 1/2 x 9
Release Date:01 Jul 2010
Release Date:15 Oct 2009

American Missionaries, Christian Oyatoi, and Japan, 1859-73

UBC Press

Japan closed its doors to foreigners for over two hundred yearsbecause of religious and political instability caused by Christianity.By 1859, foreign residents were once again living in treaty ports inJapan, but edicts banning Christianity remained enforced until1873.

Ion investigates the impact of American Protestant missionaries andChristian laymen, or oyatoi, from their arrival in 1859 to1873, when Christianity was propagated openly. Drawing on an impressivearray of English and Japanese sources, he grounds the hopes andaspirations of these early missionaries – along with theirefforts in private, mission, and government schools – in therealities of Japanese opposition to Christianity. The transmission ofvalues and beliefs in this context was not a simple matter ofacceptance or rejection: missionaries saw promise even in the face ofopen hostility. As informal agents of the United States and as integralmembers of the American community in Japan, they also served asimportant cultural mediators between the East and the West. 

American Missionaries, Christian Oyatoi, and Japan,185973 brings to light a crucial but neglectedaspect of the Japanese-American relationship. It will appeal tostudents and scholars of modern Japan, international relations, andChristian missions.

This book will appeal to specialists in modern Japanese studies,
international relations, Christian missions, and anyone interested in
exploring the impact of the United States on modern state formation in

Indispensable read for any scholar of the Meiji era or Christianity in Japan. Jim Hommes, University of Pittsburgh, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 37/1
This important work depicts in persuasive detail the lives of the first Protestant missionaries to Japan as they waited fourteen years in segregated settlements for government permission to extend their faith throughout the land. They acted, in Hamish Ion’s colourful phrase, as 'walking encyclopaedias' of Western life. Based on in-depth references to Japanese and Western sources, American Missionaries, Christian Oyatoi, and Japan, 185973 is highly recommended. John F. Howes, author of Japan's Modern Prophet: Uchimura Kanzô, 1861-1930
Hamish Ion has availed himself of an impressive array of sources in this original and nuanced study of the interaction between American Protestants and their Japanese contacts. His depiction of the complexity of their engagement makes this book invaluable reading for scholars of foreign missions and international relations, while the light he sheds on the impact of foreigners and Western ideas during the late Tokugawa and early Meiji periods contributes significantly to understanding of Japan at one of its most formative stages. Elizabeth Dorn Lublin, History Department, Wayne State University
Hamish Ion may well be the greatest living authority on the history of Protestant missions to Japan. Clifford Putney, History Department, Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Vol 34, No 2, April 2010
Hamish Ion is a professor of history at the RoyalMilitary College of Canada.


1 Beginnings in Bakumatsu Japan
2 Hoping for Change
3 In the Midst of a Restoration
4 Persecution
5 Overseas Students
6 Teaching in the Provinces and in Tokyo
7 Reinforcements and New Beginnings
8 The Yokohama Band



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