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The eclecticism of the Japanese in intellectual matters may be explained by calling attention to one phase of their attitude toward the three cults of Old Japan. There was in general a feeling of “ with malice toward none, with charity for all”; for the three, to a greater or less degree, overlapped or supplemented each other. Shinto, as we have seen, was only a national cult; Confucianism was a philosophy of the relations between man and man; while Buddhism was a true religion, with ideas about sin and salvation. As another has summed up the scope of these three “ways,” “Shintoism furnishes the object of worship, Confucianism offers the rules of life, and Buddhism supplies the way of future salvation.” It was, therefore, possible for a person to be a disciple of two, or even all, of these “ doctrines” at one and the same time. He “had constantly before his eyes the emblems of each of these religions. In nearly every Samurai's house were the moral books of Confucius, the black lacquered wooden tablets, inscribed in gold with the Buddhist names of his ancestors, while on the god-shelf stood the idols and symbols of Shinto.”
Therefore there are to-day probably thousands of Japanese who would readily accept Christianity by simply adding the image of Jesus to their present collection, and giving it equal honor with those of Buddha and their ancestors. They might easily incorporate Jehovah in their pantheon; but they find
1 See Lowell's “Soul of the Far East,” pp. 168, 169.
difficulty in appreciating the intolerance of Christians in having " no other gods besides ” Jehovah.
The references for this chapter are in general the same as those for the preceding chapter, except that, in place of the special papers on Shinto, should be substituted special papers on Confucianism by Knox and Haga in Transactions Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. xx. pp. 1-192; on Buddhism, by Lloyd in Transactions Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. xxii. pp. 337-506; and Nitobe's “Bushido, the Soul of Japan."
OUTLINE OF TOPICS: Mediæval Christianity; Modern Christianity; missionaries; Japanese Christians ; Christian literature; kinds and methods of work; churches and chapels; Sunday. schools; Christian education ; Christian philanthropy; Young Men's Christian Association and Young Women's Christian Association; temperance and the social evil; interdenominational institutions ; Japonicized Christianity; Christianity and business; Sabbath ; Christianity and the press; Christianity and Christians in politics; simple Christianity; status of Christianity. — Bibliography.
THE great Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier,
was the one who introduced Christianity
into Japan, in 1549; and the labors of himself and his successors were so faithful and successful, that at the beginning of the next century there were about 1,000,000 Christians in Japan. But political complications, internal and external, and religious jealousies, brought on a terrible persecution, in which the Church was practically extinguished. In 1638 the following edict was issued:
“So long as the sun shall continue to warm the earth, let no Christian be so bold as to come to Japan ; and let all know that the King of Spain himself, or the Chris tian's God, or the great God of all, if he dare violate this command, shall pay for it with his head.”
And, all over the Empire, on special bulletinboards, notices were published to the effect that this edict must be strictly enforced.1 And yet, in spite of the shrewd measures employed to detect Christians, by compelling suspected persons, for instance, to trample on the cross or be crucified, in some sections the knowledge of the Gospel was handed down in secret from one generation to another; so that, when these edicts were removed in 1873, to a few here and there Christianity was not a strange doctrine.?
Just as soon as it was possible, under the treaties of 1858, for foreigners to reside in Japan, even under restrictions, missionaries began to enter (1859), and are now numbered by the hundreds. This count includes both single and married men, the wives (for in some cases the wife is worth more than the husband), and single ladies.
The work of the Greek Church has been carried on, until a few years ago, . so far as foreigners are concerned, by only one man, and even now has only four single men connected with the mission; but the remarkable personality of Bishop Nicolai and his tact in utilizing Japanese workers have made a profound impression and have neutralized the prejudice arising out of political animosity to Russia.
1 “The wicked sect called Christian is strictly prohibited. Suspected persons are to be reported to the respective officials, and rewards will be given" (1868).
See also Murray's “Story of Japan,” pp. 172-179, 240-268.
The Roman Catholic missionaries, both male and female, have been carrying on their work with the usual devotion and self-sacrifice in a quiet and unostentatious manner, and are overcoming to a large extent the inherited prejudice against the Catholic Christians of Old Japan. The present workers are mostly French, and number more than 200; they are scattered all over the empire, even in small places.
The principal Protestant denominations represented by missionaries in Japan are the Baptists, Congregationalists, Disciples, Episcopalians, Friends, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians (including Reformed), Salvation Army, and Universalists. There are in all over thirty different Protestant organizations at work in Japan, of all sorts and shades of belief; and there are several Independents, or free lances. The Protestant missionaries represent High Church, Low Church, and No-Church (Plymouth Brethren et al.); two regular Baptist societies (but only one Japanese Church), besides Disciples and Christians; six branches of the Presbyterian family, but all uniting in one Japanese Church; six branches of the Methodist family, now at work, with good prospects for success, to effect a similar union of their Japanese churches; three kinds of Episcopalians, with one Japanese Church; Seventh-Day Adventists; Dowie's followers; Faith Mission; Christian Alliance; Scandinavian Alliance; German Liberals; the Young Men's Christian Association; the Women's Christian Temperance Union; the Young People's So