Why Christianity failed in Japan?

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
15,657
Welsh Marches
#2
Wasn't the relative failure of Christianity in Japan partly a result of historical contingencies, since it was actively and indeed brutally suppressed under the Shogunate, as a danger to the desired social order and source of foreign influence? It survived underground to some extent nonetheless. The Japanese have, moroever, had their own long-standing religious traditions which have not been disrupted by Communist government in the same way as in China.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
32,480
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#3
Wasn't the relative failure of Christianity in Japan partly a result of historical contingencies, since it was actively and indeed brutally suppressed under the Shogunate, as a danger to the desired social order and source of foreign influence?
This. But Christianity did not fail prior to the suppression. A large number of daimyo, mostly around Kyushu, converted to Christianity. Nagasaki was given to the Jesuits by one of the daimyo to rule as their private fiefdom.

All the significant daimyo fought on the side of the Toyotomi in the Sekigahara campaign, which may have contributed to their suppression under the Tokugawa.

It survived underground to some extent nonetheless. The Japanese have, moroever, had their own long-standing religious traditions which have not been disrupted by Communist government in the same way as in China.
This is true, although it's perhaps more correct to say their religious traditions weren't disrupted a second time - the first was after the importation of Buddhism, which during the post-Meiji restoration period, was seen as a foriegn religion.
 
Likes: Linschoten

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,104
Portugal
#4
This. But Christianity did not fail prior to the suppression. A large number of daimyo, mostly around Kyushu, converted to Christianity. Nagasaki was given to the Jesuits by one of the daimyo to rule as their private fiefdom.

All the significant daimyo fought on the side of the Toyotomi in the Sekigahara campaign, which may have contributed to their suppression under the Tokugawa.
Not my favourite field, but besides what you said, I also have the idea that the rivalry between Portuguese and Castilian, under the same king, contributed to give a negative idea among the Japanese about the Catholics.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
32,480
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#5
Not my favourite field, but besides what you said, I also have the idea that the rivalry between Portuguese and Castilian, under the same king, contributed to give a negative idea among the Japanese about the Catholics.
I don't know about that, but certainly contact with the Protestant Dutch gave the Japanese a competing viewpoint. Ieyasu was unimpressed when the Portuguese tried to get him to execute Will Adams.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,104
Portugal
#6
I don't know about that, but certainly contact with the Protestant Dutch gave the Japanese a competing viewpoint. Ieyasu was unimpressed when the Portuguese tried to get him to execute Will Adams.
Charles Boxer studied the issue, in his several works about the Portuguese (and Spanish) presence in the Far East. Although not uniquely about Japan, this article from 1946, and possibly outdated in some details, gives a good first picture about the Iberian rivalry, and some of its effects in Japan:

Portuguese and Spanish Rivalry in the Far East during the 17th Century on JSTOR (specifically pages 161-162 mention the 1639 events in Japan).
 

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