American missionaries, Christian oyatoi, and Japan, 1859-73 [electronic resource] /
Hamish Ion.
Vancouver : UBC Press, c2009.
xxiv, 410 p. ; 24 cm.
9780774816472 (hbk. : alk. paper)
More Details
Vancouver : UBC Press, c2009.
9780774816472 (hbk. : alk. paper)
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
language note
Includes some text in Japanese.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [301]-395) and index.
A Look Inside
Review Quotes
Hamish Ion has availed himself of an impressive array of sources in this original and nuanced study of the interaction between American Protestants and their Japanese contacts. His depiction of the complexity of their engagement makes this book invaluable reading for scholars of foreign missions and international relations, while the light he sheds on the impact of foreigners and Western ideas during the late Tokugawa and early Meiji periods contributes significantly to understanding of Japan at one of its most formative stages. -- Elizabeth Dorn Lublin, History Department, Wayne State University This important work depicts in persuasive detail the lives of the first Protestant missionaries to Japan as they waited fourteen years in segregated settlements for government permission to extend their faith throughout the land. They acted, in Hamish Ion#146;s colourful phrase, as 'walking encyclopaedias' of Western life. Based on in-depth references to Japanese and Western sources, American Missionaries, ChristianOyatoi, and Japan, 1859-- 73is highly recommended. -- John F. Howes, author of Japan's Modern Prophet: Uchimura KanzĂ´, 1861-1930 Hamish Ion may well be the greatest living authority on the history of Protestant missions to Japan. -- Clifford Putney, History Department, Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Vol 34, No 2, April 2010
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, February 2010
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Main Description
Japan closed its doors to foreigners for over two hundred years because of religious and political instability caused by Christianity. By 1859, foreign residents were once again living in treaty ports in Japan, but edicts banning Christianity remained enforced until 1873. Drawing on an impressive array of English and Japanese sources, Ion investigates a crucial era in the history of Japanese-American relations -- the formation of Protestant missions. He reveals that the transmission of values and beliefs was not a simple matter of acceptance or rejection: missionaries and Christian laymen persisted in the face of open hostility and served as important liaisons between East and West.
Main Description
Japan closed its doors to foreigners for nearly 250 years because its rulers feared political instability would follow the arrival of Christian missionaries. It was not until the upheavals of the mid-nineteenth century that it once again opened its ports to foreign ships and residents. Ion investigates the impact of American Protestant missionaries and Christian laymen, or oyatoi, from their arrival in 1859 to the open propagation of Christianity in 1873. His exploration of their aspirations and efforts in private, mission, and government schools reveals that the transmission of values and beliefs was not a simple matter of acceptance or rejection. Missionaries saw promise in the face of hostility and, as informal agents of the United States, served as cultural mediators between East and West. This nuanced account of a crucial but neglected aspect of Japanese-American relations will appeal to students and scholars of modern Japan, international relations, and Christian missions.

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