このシリーズでは、私が1994年に執筆した統一神学大学院(Unification Theological Seminary)の神学課程修士論文(Divinity Thesis)を日英二か国語で掲載している。今回から第2章の「アメリカの宣教師と日本のキリスト教徒」に入る。








II. American Missionaries and Japanese Christians

Carlo Caldarola illustrates the socio-psychological dynamics of the encounter between American missionaries and Japanese, dividing it into three phases: the first phase is called “Happy Encounter,” the second is “Development of Incompatibilities and the Struggle for Independence,” the third is “The Emergence of the Non-Church Movement.”

A. First Phase: Happy Encounter

American missionaries played an outstanding role in introducing Christianity to the Meiji Japan, feeling a particular obligation to her. Their background was the spirit of Great Awakening, which was characterized by the feeling of optimism about the American destiny, benevolent activism, and premillenarianism. They believed that the people of Asia and Africa were miserable masses, wandering in the darkness of idolatry and vice; so they would experience the tortures of eternal Hell unless they were converted to Christianity. They saw America’s expansion as the Providence of God, and her destiny to bring blessings on all nations. The Japanese mission was established largely as a result of this generalized missionary fervor, combined with the expansionist interest.(1)
American missionaries basically had a simple assumption: increasing interest in western culture by the Japanese would inevitably lead them to acceptance of the Christian religion. Their evangelizing strategy was aimed primarily at convincing the Japanese to accept Protestant Christianity as the basis for a sound start in modernizing their country. Thus, it was with a deep sense of Christian duty and cultural pride that the American missionaries entered Japan during the late 1850’s.
Those who initially responded to this appeal were young samurai. Indeed, in early Meiji Japan all the outstanding Christians, including Uchimura, were young samurai converts. According to some historians, these samurai Christians, who lost their elite status with the termination of the samurai class by the Meiji government, all had been born in province which had not supported the Restoration and consequently had been excluded as a group from participation in the leadership of the new state. Therefore, these sons of samurai sought to recover their lost social prestige and leadership role by acquiring the Western learning brought by Protestant missionaries. They eagerly embraced the new religion of the (Puritan) missionaries because the latter taught that Christian ethic underlay the progress and strength of Western culture.
Furthermore, because the Puritan ethic exemplified by these early Protestant missionaries appeared similar to their own traditional (samurai) ethic, conversion for these young sons of samurai represented not a fundamental change in values. To a young samurai filled with a strong sense of responsibility toward family and country there seemed no better way to recapture status in the changing world than to utilize western knowledge and culture. Thus, education at a mission school was considered to be a great privilege and to augur a bright future.(2)

(1)Caldarola, pp.23-6.
(2)Caldarola, p.27.

カテゴリー: 統一神学大学院修士論文シリーズ パーマリンク