Rethinking the history of conversion to Christianity in Japan, 1549-1644
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This thesis explores the history of Christianity and conversion to it in 16th and 17th Century Japan. It argues that conversion is a complex phenomenon which happened for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, it argues that due to the political context and limitations acting upon the mission, the majority of conversions in 16th and 17th Century Japan lacked an element of epistemological change (classically understood). The first chapter explores theories of conversion suggesting that conversion in 16th and 17th Century Japan included sorts of religious change not usually encapsulated in the term conversion including adhesion, communal and forced conversion. Moreover, it argues that contextual factors are the most important factors in religious change. The second chapter explores political context contending that it was the political environment of Japan that ultimately decided whether conversion was possible. This chapter charts the evolution of the Japanese context as it became more hostile toward Christianity. In the third chapter, the context of the mission is explored. It is argued that limitations acting upon the mission shaped post-conversion faith, so that changes to practice and ritual rather than belief became the mark of a successful conversion. The fourth chapter explores methods of conversion, the factors influencing it, and post-conversion faith more directly. It argues that Christianity spread primarily through social networks, but that conversion was also influenced by economic incentive, other realworld benefits, and Christianity’s perceived efficacy. Building on Chapter Three, the final chapter also seeks to illustrate that the missionaries were not successful in their attempts to spur epistemological change or instil a detailed knowledge of theology or doctrine amongst their converts.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Description of related resourcesIn the Appendix: - Elison, George (Elisonas, Jurgis). Deus Destroyed: The Image of Christianity in Early Modern Japan. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1973.
In the Appendix: - Kataoka Yakichi 片岡弥吉. Nihon Kirishitan junkyōshi 日本キリシタン殉教史. Tokyo: Jiji Tsūshinsha, 1984.
In the Appendix: - Ebisawa Arimichi 海老沢有道. Nihon Kirishitanshi 日本キリシタン史. Tokyo: Hanawa Shobō, 1971.
In the Appendix: - Ebisawa Arimichi 海老沢有道, Hubert Cieslik H.チースリク, Doi Tadao 土井忠生, and Ōtsuka Mitsunobu 大 塚光信, eds. Kirishitan sho: Haiya sho キリシタン書 排耶書. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1970.
In the Appendix: - Elisonas, J. S. A (Elison, George). “Statement on the Expulsion of the Bateren.” In Sources of Japanese Tradition, vol. 2, 1600 to 2000, edited by Wm. Theodore de Bary, Carol Gluck, and Arthur E. Tiedemann, 171- 174. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.
In the Appendix: - Zhāng Huìzhēn 張慧珍. “Tokugawa Ieyasu no Sunpu gaikōtaiksei: Sunpu gaikō no kōsō ni tsuite” 徳川家康の駿府外交体制: 駿府外交の構想について. Waseda Daigaku sōgō jinbunkagaku kenkyū sentā kenkyūshi 早稲田大学総合人文科学研究センター研究誌, no. 1 (November 2013), 214-202 (13-24).
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