The Protestant Missions — July 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm

PREFACE to the Protestant missions in Japan by Otis Cary


Rev. M. Okuno and Wife

This book with a companion volume that treats of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox missions is an attempt to describe the chief events connected with the history of Christianity in Japan .It Labors under the disadvantage of dealing with occurrences so close at hand that it is difficult to see them in there right perspective and so to judge  of there comparative importance. It is however ,easier now then it will ever be again to gather materials such as are needed for the earlier chapters of such a book, and the completion of the first half century of organized Protestant missions in Japan presents a suitable occasion for looking back upon what has happened within that period.

I have confined myself for the most part to the simple narratives of events, indulging in but little comment and in no philosophizing upon them. Let him who reads draw his own lessons from the story

The narrative centers about the work of the missionaries and does not describe with any degree of completeness what has been done by the Japanese Christians. I whish it were otherwise : for after the first foundations had been laid, the up building of the Christian church has been chiefly accomplished through the earnest efforts of the Japanese workers. To a considerable extent however, their labors have been of that plodding, uneventful nature that does not furnish much striking material for a book of this kind.

Moreover, such material as could be utilized is difficult to collect. Foreign missionary socities publish the correspondence of the representatives and this naturally deals chiefly with events that have a direct connection with the missionaries themselves; but an exhaustive search through Japanese religious periodicals and a careful working over of what might there be found is needed for an adequate account of what has been done  by pastors, evangelists, and other Christian workers_ a task that must be left for some Japanese writer of the future who shall narrate the History of Christianity in his own country more completely then it is possible for an alien to do.

To Japanese readers it will doubtless seem that in passages dealing with the unfortunate misunderstandings that have occasionally arisen between missionaries and the Japanese Christians I have shown partiality for the former. It could hardly be otherwise; for if I write as things appear to me, the result cannot fail to be colored by my prejudices. I believe that my Japanese friends would prefer, all things considered, to have me write frankly my own views upon these matters, while trying at the same time to state them with fairness. Some incidents that I would gladly have passed over  unnoticed  were so connected with the General course of events that this could not be honestly done .These matters, though forming an integral part of the history , are after all a small part thereof; and while our opinions concerning them may differ, it is hoped that we can  be charitable to each other, allowing each to hold and express his own views upon them.

The different missions are disproportionately treated.

Doubtless that of the American Board occupies an undue amount of space, as a member of the mission I know more of its history and have had better opportunities for inquiry  than is the case with others .Moreover circumstances caused this mission and the churches that grew up in connection with its work to have a prominent  place in some of the movements that greatly affected the history  with which we have to deal . I have tried however to write impartially of the different bodies working in Japan ,and have only once or twice ventured upon any criticisms.

Japan Evangelist

Most of the materials for this book have been drawn from the magazines and reports published  by missionary societies, from Japanese papers, the “Japan Evangelist”, the historical sketches contained in the reports of the General Missionary Conferences, Ritter’s “History of Protestant Missions in Japan”, and for events in the present century ,from the annual issues of “The Christian Movement in Japan” published under the auspices of the standing committee of Cooperating Missions.

Like nearly all writers upon Japanese subjects, I have made great use of “The Japan Mail”, an English newspaper published in Yokohama. Its translation from Japanese Newspapers have been of special value.

Doubtless some errors will be discovered by those conversant with the events narrated. it is astonishing how hard it is to find the exact truth about even recent affairs.

Errors of one writer are copied by another and perhaps come to be so generally accepted that he who narrates what actually happened is thought to make a mistake .I have spent considerable time in trying to learn the truth upon points where doubts concerning the current story were aroused; but it may be that while trying to strain out some little gnat of error, I have allowed heavily laden camels to slip through unnoticed. Future Historians will join with me in being thankful to those who will lasso and throttle these beasts, and also to those who will help to exterminate the annoying little gnats.

Those acquainted with the Japanese language may criticize my way of writing some words. I have omitted the marks that designated vowels because they are somewhat misleading to the general reader and because it is difficult to secure such accurate proof reading as would ensure against mistakes Again though Japanese nouns have usually no distinction of number, it has seemed best for the sake of clearness to use such plurals as daimyos, etc.

A considerable portion of what is found in this book was used in the Hyde Lectures on Foreign Missions, given at Andover Theological Seminary in December,1909.

My hope and prayer is that this volume will help to increase the interest of the Christian world in the evangelization of Japan, and not in Japan only, but of other lands, for them, too, the fields are already white unto harvest and the time has come for the Church of Christ to reap the results of the laborers of those that bore the heat and burden of the day when the hard ground had to be broken up and the seed sown in soil that seemed little fitted for its reception.

The Japan Evangelist ~~
Volume 1, Issues No. 1-6, 1893-4:

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