Christ in Japanese Culture: Theological Themes in Shusaku by Emi Mase-Hasegawa

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By Emi Mase-Hasegawa

This ground-breaking research at the Roman Catholic, jap novelist Endo Shusaku (1923-1996) uniquely combines western and eastern spiritual, theological and philosophical inspiration. the writer translates Endo's principal works equivalent to Silence (1966), The Samurai (1980), and Deep River (1996), from a theological perspective as files of inculturation of Christianity in Japan. Analysing the social and spiritual context of Japan in a world standpoint, the writer identifies a critical function for koshinto - a conventional jap ethos - in Endo's inspiration on inculturation. Endo's swap from a severe to a favorable attractiveness of the koshinto culture partially money owed for his movement from a pessimistic perspective of Christian inculturation in his early years to the growing to be theocentric and pneumatic issues of his later years. crucial for Western readers.

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Extra resources for Christ in Japanese Culture: Theological Themes in Shusaku Endo's Literary Works (Brill's Japanese Studies Library)

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1. 1947–1965: First stage. These years can be regarded as a preparatory stage and includes his first published essay, “Kamigami to kami to” (Gods and God) in 1947. He was unable to understand western Christian sensibilities during this time and almost despaired of trying to fit western Christianity into Japanese culture. His works Suzuki 1944/2002: 11–21. He locates Japanese spirituality, however, in Buddhism. Carter 2001: 38. 28 Suzuki 1944/2002: 20. Kadowaki 1997: 2–36. This point was highlighted for me when I attended, as an interpreter, a WCC conference in February 1998 in Karasjok, Norway, entitled ‘Land and Spirituality’.

Drummond 1971: 309. 33 Influenced by Christian notions of God’s creation, the Hirata school of Shinto (followers of Hirata Atsutane) constructed a Shinto cosmology and theology. He claimed the universality of their faith by saying that the Goddo ( Japanese way of pronouncing God) of Christianity, or 天帝 (Tentei) of Confucianism, are all the same kami in the center of the universe. Different traditions just call it by different names. The Hirata school of Shinto tried to syncretize Shinto and Confucianism.

Fujita 1991: 78. 24 Christian lords such as Yoshishige Ôtomo, Ukon Takayama and others, with the padre’s encouragement, ordered the systematic demolition of Buddhist temples and monasteries and Shinto shrines in their fiefs, exiled the clergy associated with those religious institutions, and confiscated their properties for use as Christian facilities. Fujita 1991: 263. Also Livesey 1995: 6. Ôtomo Sorin was a devoted Zen follower who became a fanatical Christian daimyo at the age of forty eight.

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