The Protestant Missions — March 30, 2011 at 2:08 am

The beginning of stumped growth!


Kyokujitsu-ki (the sun-with rays-flag) It was the ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy; and is now employed by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Ships

Many reasons:

JAPAN is a country of sudden changes. The bright prospects that gave rise to the hope that the country would be speedily evangelized were soon clouded over. Missionaries are usually optimists, and it seemed to most of them that the storm would quickly pass and the sun would then shine out as brightly as before. In the correspondence of the period now to be reviewed the hopes of the writers frequently find expression in such words as, “The worst is over,” “The reaction has spent its force,” “Things are looking brighter than they have for a long time,” etc. Yet a full decade must pass ere there would be any very marked improvement, and even then the rate of apparent progress would be much slower than it had been before the reaction set in.

The article from the Japan Mail of April 27, 1889.

The reasons for the retardation in the advance of Christianity were numerous. Among them much prominence must be given to a great reaction against the acceptance of Western civilization. The Japan Mail of April 27, 1889, writing of the way this had arisen said:

“The fall of 1887 found the nation beginning to be pervaded by the apprehension that it had travelled too rapidly; that it was in danger of losing individuality altogether; and that the way to compete with foreign countries was not to follow in their wake by copying their example, but rather to strengthen and develop the faculties that belong especially to the genius of the country.
This conviction has now passed into the cry of the day. Under the name of Kokusui Hozon (Preservation of the National Excellencies) it is recognized as the guiding principle, the first duty of the present generation. It is talked of, written about, and even embodied in song. It inspires the lectures that are delivered before scientific and political associations, and it manifests its influence in a thousand directions of every-day life. Even Buddhism has taken advantage of it, and endeavored to rekindle the members of a faint faith by connecting the dignity of the throne with the permanence of Shaka’s doctrine.”

The establishment of the Sonno Hobutsu Dai Dodan

The movement of the Buddhists took shape in the establishment of the Sonno Hobutsu Dai Dodan (Great Association for Honouring the Emperor and preserving Buddhism). The prospectus of this society as translated by the Japan Mail said:

“This Association is formed for the purpose of maintaining the majesty of our Emperor and the truth of the doctrine of Buddha — a union of all those who wish to protect our land and religion from the contempt of the foreigner. Those who unite with us are expected to avoid everything that would lessen the honor and reverence due to His Imperial Majesty or the influence of the Buddhist doctrine. For instance, in selecting our representatives to the national parliament, to provincial assemblies, to town councils, or local offices, in the distribution of all honors, in appointing school-teachers, officials of societies and business companies, etc., we pledge ourselves carefully to exclude all who are disloyal to our Emperor or untrue to Buddhism by believing in the foreign religion called Christianity. If these points are kept well in mind and carried into practice, we, thirty-nine million of brethren united into one, will so protect our country that, although many a difficulty and many an internal social and political problem may arise, still our Emperor’s position shall stand secure and the doctrine of Buddha shall remain unshaken. Yes, if we but stand together on this solid foundation of truth, the result will be that no foreign land will point at us with the finger of scorn. Now, brothers, if you can see the truth as here stated, do not hesitate to come up and join our band. Give us your hand; we shall then all stand together and add to the strength and life of our Yamato’damashii (Spirit of 0f Japan).”

for more on Japan’s nationalism read here

See here for the Japanese Spirit

One Comment

  1. Thanks for your comment,it ended up in my spam box. That is why it took me so long to see it. I’ll look into it!

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