This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: rst, and it
was there that he was converted to Christianity. In 1891 Uchimura
created a sensation back in Japan when, as a teacher at the esteemed
First High School in Tokyo, he refused to bow before a copy of the
Imperial Rescript on Education. He was branded a traitor by some
people, forced to resign his position for the offense of lèse majesté, and
became the target of polemical attacks that charged him with possessing
allegiances incompatible with the responsibilities to emperor and nation
required of subjects in the educational rescript.17 Uchimura thus became
a victim of the shift in attitude, on the part of the Japanese public and
many intellectuals, from the open and naive internationalism of the
1870s to an illiberal, virulent nationalism. Although he worked for another decade or so in journalism, Uchimura eventually retired from
public view to a life of private teaching and writing on religion.
Contrary to the assertions of his detractors, Uchimura did not embrace Christianity to the exclusion of national loyalty. He steadfastly
proclaimed his devotion to the “two J’s”—Jesus and Japan—and insisted
that, just as Anglicans were essentially English Christians, Presbyterians
were Scottish Christians, and Lutherans were German Christians, he was
a Japanese Christian. At the same time, he readily acknowledged that trying to be both Christian and Japanese was apt to please neither Christians
I do not know which I love more, Jesus or Japan.
I am hated by my countrymen for Jesus’ sake as yaso [a Christian], and I
am disliked by foreign missionaries for Japan’s sake as national and narrow.
No matter; I may lose all my friends, but I cannot lose Jesus and Japan.18 Uchimura even founded a “non-church” (mukyòkai) movement in an
attempt to deracinate Christianity from its alien institutions and traditions by eliminating its clerical organization and other ecclesiastical trappings, and to render it as much Japanese as Western. For his epitaph he
wrote in English:
I for Japan;
Japan for the World;
The World for Christ;
And All for God....
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13