1st Edition

Ideology and Christianity in Japan

By Kiri Paramore Copyright 2009
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    Ideology and Christianity in Japan shows the major role played by Christian-related discourse in the formation of early-modern and modern Japanese political ideology.

    The book traces a history development of anti-Christian ideas in Japan from the banning of Christianity by the Tokugawa shogunate in the early 1600s, to the use of Christian and anti-Christian ideology in the construction of modern Japanese state institutions at the end of the 1800s. Kiri Paramore recasts the history of Christian-related discourse in Japan in a new paradigm showing its influence on modern thought and politics and demonstrates the direct links between the development of ideology in the modern Japanese state, and the construction of political thought in the early Tokugawa shogunate.

    Demonstrating hitherto ignored links in Japanese history between modern and early-modern, and between religious and political elements this book will appeal to students and scholars of Japanese history, religion and politics.

    Introduction  1. Japanese Christian Thought: Doctrinal Diversity or Civilizational Clash?  2. Japanese Confucianism and Japanese Christianity: Parallels and Interactions  3. Early Tokugawa Anti-Christian Discourse: Proclamations, Populist Literature and Diplomacy  4. Attacking Non-Christian "Christians": Ideological Uses of Early Tokugawa Anti-Christian Discourse  5. Mid- and Late Tokugawa Anti-Christian Discourse: Continuity and Change  6. Meiji Anti-Christian Discourse: Modern National Ideology and Conservatism.  Conclusion.  Bibliograpy


    Kiri Paramore is Assistant Professor in Japanese History at Leiden University,

    The Netherlands. He received his PhD in 2006 from the University of Tokyo.

    "What is the relationship between religion and power? Is secularization an aspect of "modernization"? Kiri Paramore's probing analysis of the role of anti-Christian discourse in Japanese politics between 1600 and 1900 sheds new light on these questions. His argument that imagined "Christianity" played a key role in the two major instances of Japanese state formation during this period is both provocative and persuasive. This is an ambitious and important new work." - Hiroshi Watanabe, Professor of Japanese Political Thought, University of Tokyo.

    "In this fascinating study, Kiri Paramore bores deeply into the textual history and intellectual legacy of Christian and anti-Christian thought in Tokugawa Japan. As he shows, anti-Christian writings increasingly served the purposes of contemporary political criticism and controversy that had little to with Christianity, and everything to do with stigmatizing the enemies of 'order' in an unanswerable manner. This was an ideological strategy, Paramore further shows, that if anything gained force as Japan's leadership committed itself to an emperor-centered program of modernization following the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Not only is it important to have these materials newly available, the research behind them is fresh and engaging, reflecting the best of recent Japanese scholarship. This is an admirable and eye-opening work." -Andrew Barshay, Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley.

    "Ideology and Christianity in Japan by Kiri Paramore is an important and thought-provoking contribution to the field of Tokugawa intellectual history.  It will be of interest to specialists and advanced students who are engaged in the study of Tokugawa ideology and cross-cultural exchanges between Easten and Western philosophy and religion."
    -William J. Farge, S.J., Loyola University New Orleans, Journal of Japanese Studies, 36:1.

    Paramore’s study of the anti-Christian discourses depends for the greatest part on original Japanese sources which for the first time were translated and discussed in this context. This makes the book especially interesting and valuable."Claudia von Collani, Vatican City; Bibliographia Missionaria, 2011.