Japanese Baptists' compromise with nationalism in 1941: the historical ancestors of Japanese Baptists were the defenders of religious liberty. However, prewar Japanese Baptists blindly followed other Protestant groups in surrendering themselves to the state.They sought protection of the denomination Denomination
The stated value found on financial instruments.
This term applies to most financial instruments with monetary values. The denomination for bonds and securities would be face value or par value. by the government, agreed to accept the state policy of religion, and went into the organic union of Japanese Protestant churches This is a list of Protestant churches by denomination. Anglican/Episcopal Church
Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
Anglican Diocese of Auckland
= Archdeaconry of Waimate=
= Parish of Kaitaiapromoted by the government. Prewar pre·war
Existing or occurring before a war.
relating to the period before a war, esp. before World War I or II
Adj. 1. Japanese Baptists compromised with the state and took part in the Japanese political mission during World War II in the name of Christian evangelism Evangelism
fire and brimstone, fraudulent revivalist. [Am. Lit.: Elmer Gantry]
disciple closest to Jesus. [N.T.: John]
early Christian; the “beloved physician.” [N.T. .
When the Japanese militaristic mil·i·ta·rism
1. Glorification of the ideals of a professional military class.
2. Predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state.
3. government began to pursue political control in various ways over the entire nation in the late 1930s, it was the dawn of World War II. The government attempted to take the nation to war and forced all Japanese citizens to accept imperial ideology as the founding principle of the state. This philosophy required the people, regardless of their own religions, to worship the Japanese emperor as a living god and show their loyalty both to the emperor and the country.
The state policy of religion became stricter in the late 1930s, especially after the Religious Bodies Law was issued in 1939. This law allowed the government to supervise all religions and even apply censorship over these organizations. With this law, the government could refuse to give religious organizations official permission to continue their activities if they failed to meet state requirements. For instance, the government could ignore smaller groups that were unable to reach the number of members and churches the state required. The government had authority to interfere in the business affairs of the religious organizations. They ordered most religious groups to submit detailed reports of almost every business matter such as erecting new buildings and appointing new leadership. All these attempts were aimed at crushing a sense of religious liberty and shattering every form of antinationalistic sentiment among the people, especially churches of various Christian denominations List of Christian denominations (or Denominations self-identified as Christian) ordered by historical and doctrinal relationships. (See also: Christianity; Christian denominations).
Some groups are large (e.g. .
The Religious Bodies Law worked most effectively with the Public Order Preservation Law of 1941. This law permitted state authorities to threaten, harass harass (either harris or huh-rass) v. systematic and/or continual unwanted and annoying pestering, which often includes threats and demands. This can include lewd or offensive remarks, sexual advances, threatening telephone calls from collection agencies, hassling by , and arrest those who were thought to make protests against the government and its policies in general. Furthermore, the National Mobilization mobilization
Organization of a nation's armed forces for active military service in time of war or other national emergency. It includes recruiting and training, building military bases and training camps, and procuring and distributing weapons, ammunition, uniforms, Law of 1938 forced the entire nation to offer their time, energy, and possessions for the war without people's choice or consent.
Under such difficult conditions in the late 1930s and early 1940s, most Japanese Protestant denominations Noun 1. Protestant denomination - group of Protestant congregations
Protestant Church, Protestant - the Protestant churches and denominations collectively quickly severed sev·er
v. sev·ered, sev·er·ing, sev·ers
1. To set or keep apart; divide or separate.
2. To cut off (a part) from a whole.
3. their organizational ties with the mother denominations overseas and sought to achieve self-support as soon as possible. In this way, they showed their loyalty to and cooperation with the state as good Japanese citizens. The smaller churches became desperate to seek organizational unification (programming) unification - The generalisation of pattern matching that is the logic programming equivalent of instantiation in logic. When two terms are to be unified, they are compared. with sister denominations that had similar theological views. They found out that it would be difficult for them to satisfy the state requirement regarding their size as independent religious organizations. Not only the smaller churches, but also Japanese Protestant churches as a whole thought that organizational unification like this could make the religious body larger and help them avoid unnecessary conflicts and pressure from the state. Such hardship included arrest, imprisonment Imprisonment
See also Isolation.
former federal maximum security penitentiary, near San Francisco; “escapeproof.” [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 218]
German prison ship in World War II. [Br. Hist. , torture, and the disbandment dis·band
v. dis·band·ed, dis·band·ing, dis·bands
To dissolve the organization of (a corporation, for example).
1. of the denominations and related organizations such as schools.
Some smaller denominational de·nom·i·na·tion
1. A large group of religious congregations united under a common faith and name and organized under a single administrative and legal hierarchy.
2. groups became the prime objects of the state punishment, not because of their size but because of their anti-imperial positions. In July 1940, the Tokyo Military Police interrogated several Salvation Army Salvation Army, Protestant denomination and international nonsectarian Christian organization for evangelical and philanthropic work. Organization and Beliefs
The Salvation Army has established branches in 100 countries throughout the world. officers under suspicion of spying. Doubts came from their organizational tie with Salvation Army headquarters in London. In addition to that, the Military Police was quite offended of·fend
v. of·fend·ed, of·fend·ing, of·fends
1. To cause displeasure, anger, resentment, or wounded feelings in.
2. by the use of military titles and terms in the Salvation Army; they viewed it as disrespectful dis·re·spect·ful
Having or exhibiting a lack of respect; rude and discourteous.
disre·spect to the Japanese armies Japanese Army can refer to:
State officers checked Christian teachings and sermons in the churches and Christian schools A Christian School is a school run on Christian principles or by a Christian organization.
The nature of Christian schools varies enormously from country to country according to the religious, educational, and political culture. during worship services and the chapel hour to judge whether they violated state laws and regulations. If state officials found such violations, they reported that the ministers and teachers propagated harmful ideology against the state. The state officers, especially the Special Higher Police whose major responsibility was to hunt antigovernment activities and teachings, had no knowledge of Christianity. Despite that fact, they asked Christians various tricky questions to test their loyalty to the state.
State interference in religions rapidly increased. One national newspaper reported that the minister of education decided to order the Bureau of Religious Affair to tighten the level of supervision over churches and missionaries. (2) It stated further that the government would promote serious discussions and reevaluations of Christian doctrines and teachings. The minister made his official announcement that Christian churches had to sever their organizational ties with their denominational boards overseas and achieve their immediate self-support. (3)
About ten days after the interrogation interrogation
In criminal law, process of formally and systematically questioning a suspect in order to elicit incriminating responses. The process is largely outside the governance of law, though in the U.S. of the Salvation Army officers, the same newspaper reported that the Ministry of Education ordered all school principals to release foreign teachers. The reason was that these foreigners Foreigners
the condition of being an alien.
Law. the seizure of foreign subjects to enforce a claim for justice or other right against their nation.
Rare. might easily make contact with Western forces for the purpose of spying. Missionaries of various denominations soon became the prime targets of the state police just like the Salvation Army officers. No Japanese faculty members on campus attempted to provide care and protection for their missionary colleagues.
Japanese Baptist Reactions
Japanese Baptists were quick to react to such difficult political conditions. They sought ways to protect themselves and to comply with the state religious policy to satisfy the government to avoid conflict and pressure. The first thing to achieve this purpose was to cease the organizational tie with the Southern Baptist Convention Noun 1. Southern Baptist Convention - an association of Southern Baptists
association - a formal organization of people or groups of people; "he joined the Modern Language Association"
Southern Baptist - a member of the Southern Baptist Convention as other Japanese Protestant churches had done with their mother denominations. This action was specifically obvious among Japanese Baptist mission schools. They feared troubles that other Christian schools were suffering at that time because of the presence of the missionary teachers on campus. Kuriya Hiroji, president of Japanese Baptist seminary seminary
Educational institution, usually for training in theology. In the U.S. the term was formerly also used to refer to institutions of higher learning for women, often teachers' colleges. in Fukuoka and a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary References
Japanese Baptists of that time, like Kuriya, acknowledged that not only Southern Baptist Noun 1. Southern Baptist - a member of the Southern Baptist Convention
Southern Baptist Convention - an association of Southern Baptists
Baptist - follower of Baptistic doctrines missionaries but also Japanese Baptists as a whole would get into serious trouble. Like other Protestant mission schools in Japan, Japanese Baptist schools were afraid of being disbanded if they kept missionaries in the school and allowed them to be teachers and administrators. (5) In 1942, the board of trustees board of trustees Politics The posse of thugs who oversee an institution's administration. See Board of directors. of Seinan Gakuin, a Southern Baptist boy's school in Fukuoka, decided to decline financial assistance from the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board for at least five years, replace missionaries with Japanese teachers including administrators, and discontinue dis·con·tin·ue
v. dis·con·tin·ued, dis·con·tin·u·ing, dis·con·tin·ues
1. To stop doing or providing (something); end or abandon: teaching of the Bible by American teachers. (6)
Second, the Japanese Baptist schools incorporated the state religious policy into their educational principles. They regarded the most important school ceremony the reading of the Imperial Rescript on Education The Imperial Rescript on Education (教育ニ関スル勅語 , not the reading the Bible in the worship service or the chapel hour. The Imperial Rescript An Imperial Rescript is a major political edict issued from an imperial authority. In each culture where practiced there are specific traditions, normally associated with the written form the statement takes (whence the term 'rescript'). of 1890 was the national philosophy to educate the nation that aimed at the indoctrination in·doc·tri·nate
tr.v. in·doc·tri·nat·ed, in·doc·tri·nat·ing, in·doc·tri·nates
1. To instruct in a body of doctrine or principles.
2. of Japanese nationalism Japanese nationalism refers to a broad range of ideas and sentiments entertained by the Japanese over the last two centuries regarding their native country, its cultural nature, political form and historical destiny. centering on the emperor worship. Like all other schools in Japan, the Japanese Baptist schools had to study this official document with full respect and seriousness. For instance, the principal held the document with white gloves to show his respect for the emperor and intoned in·tone
v. in·toned, in·ton·ing, in·tones
1. To recite in a singing tone.
2. To utter in a monotone.
1. each word with great reverence whenever it was read to the students. (7) The Baptist schools were also required to keep a portrait of the emperor in a specially built sacred cabinet on campus.
The state supervisor ordered students and teachers of the Baptist schools to gather at a neighborhood shrine for silent prayer. They had to bow toward the imperial palace in Tokyo and pray for serenity of the loyal family and victory of the Japanese armies. The state officers encouraged these teachers and students to ask their God for blessing and to pray for themselves to be good and loyal Japanese citizens. (8)
At the convention level, Japanese Baptists tried to make their adjustment to win their organizational independence and recognition from the government. The Baptist Convention of Japan was organized in 1940 with 200 delegates from two major Japanese Baptist groups that formally belonged to two missions of the Northern and Southern Baptists. This united body was still far behind other major Protestant groups such as Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, and Episcopals. (9) However, the new convention was large enough to be admitted as a single independent religious body that might be allowed to maintain their freedom in belief and administration to some degree. They had no doubt that the larger denominational body could expect security and avoid undesirable unification with other small denominations.
With the united Baptist United Baptist is name of several diverse Baptist groups of Protestant Christianity in the United States and Canada. History
The name "United Baptist" appears to have arisen from two separate unions of Baptist groups: (1) the union of Regular Baptists and Separate convention, however, Japanese Baptists went into organic union with other Protestant denominations under state leadership, instead of maintaining the independent status as a single denomination. Accepting fully the government's religious policy to create one organic state church, Japanese Baptists anticipated full state recognition that would enable them to continue their denominational life for the future. This was the choice that most Japanese Protestant churches of that time took for their denominational survival.
The United Church of Christ United Church of Christ, American Protestant denomination formed in 1957 by a merger of the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches (see Congregationalism) and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. in Japan (Kyodan)
For more tightened control and supervision of Christian organizations, the government combined various Christian denominations into one established Protestant church called the United Church of Christ in Japan (Kyodan). The moderator represented all participating Protestant denominations and was given power to administrate ad·min·is·trate
tr.v. ad·min·is·trat·ed, ad·min·is·trat·ing, ad·min·is·trates
[-trating, -trated the Kyodan. Since the Kyodan aimed at being one organic church, no theological and administrative differences among various denominations were permitted.
Japanese Protestant groups including Baptists willingly participated in forming the Kyodan. Their reason was twofold. They were desperate to survive this critical situation for their denominational future. Besides, they firmly believed that they should take their part as good Japanese citizens in a national emergency. In that environment 218,370 members from various denominational churches came together to organize the Kyodan in 1941.
No sufficient preparation or theological consensus concerning church order and a confession A Confession is a short work on questions of religion by Leo Tolstoy. It was first distributed in Russia in 1882.
Consisting of autobiographical notes on the development of the author's belief, A Confession of faith existed when forming the Kyodan. Therefore, getting harmony among participating denominations was difficult from the beginning. Some denominations such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church Evangelical Lutheran Church can refer to many different Lutheran churches in the world. Among them are the following:
See also father; heredity; mother; origins; parents; race.
an inclination toward old-fashioned things, speech, or actions, especially those of one’s ancestors. Also archaicism. — archaist, n. made this point crucial did not join this argument. In an attempt to placate pla·cate
tr.v. pla·cat·ed, pla·cat·ing, pla·cates
To allay the anger of, especially by making concessions; appease. See Synonyms at pacify. them, the Kyodan leadership decided to divide participating denominations into eleven blocs according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. theological and organizational similarities. At the same time, the leadership wanted to accomplish as soon as possible the one established organizational structure This article has no lead section.
To comply with Wikipedia's lead section guidelines, one should be written. the government required. Adopting the block system, participating churches innocently believed that the government would guarantee their theological and administrative freedom and denominational diversity in the Kyodan.
However, the illusion soon disappeared when more aggressive pressure came from the state since the Kyodan administration was a puppet puppet, human or animal figure, generally of a small size and performing on a miniature stage, manipulated by an unseen operator who usually speaks the dialogue. leadership for the state. No administrative freedom in any areas of the Kyodan business was permitted. It was the minister of education who reviewed all administrative actions made by the Kyodan leadership. The minister also had the authority to appoint the Kyodan's moderator, administrators, and officers. The government approved all business records of the Kyodan, its finances, qualifications of ministerial candidates, and memberships of the participating churches.
Even churches that had already won their organizational independence and official recognition from the state were willing to agree with the formation of the Kyodan. They feared that they might become the target of severe state persecutions that increasingly grew after August 1940. Around that time, the Salvation Army and Western missionaries were interrogated under suspicion of spying. Later, members of specific Christian denominations that were rather charismatic or biblical literalists were taken to the state police for interrogation, punishment, imprisonment, and torture on the charge of antinationalism and disrespect for the emperor. These churches included the Japan Holiness Church, its sister denominations, and churches related to Plymouth Brethren Plymouth Brethren, group of Christian believers originating in the early 19th cent. in Ireland and spreading from there to the Continent (especially Switzerland), the British dominions, and the United States. .
These churches could not harmonize emperor worship with the simple but strong belief in God's sovereignty and Jesus' second coming. All 120 pastors of the Holiness Church were arrested in 1942 because the Special Higher State Police declared that these churches had violated the Public Preservation Law by disseminating dis·sem·i·nate
v. dis·sem·i·nat·ed, dis·sem·i·nat·ing, dis·sem·i·nates
1. To scatter widely, as in sowing seed.
2. statements that rejected the national structure based on the public respect for and adoration adoration,
n a prayer of worship and praise. to the emperor, his family, and Kokutai, the national polity. Seven of those arrested died in prison or as a result of imprisonment, and all 270 Holiness churches were closed. (10)
These persecuted churches belonged to the Kyodan. According to the official documents of the Special Higher State Police, the Kyodan churches thought the arrest of these churches were appropriate and reasonable. But at the same time they began to fear that they would face the same hardships. (11) The Kyodan leadership offered no defense and provided little help when the government punished these suffering churches. The Kyodan's brains who were also the leading Japanese Protestant theologians neglected these churches because of their limited understanding of Christian orthodoxy or·tho·dox·y
n. pl. or·tho·dox·ies
1. The quality or state of being orthodox.
2. Orthodox practice, custom, or belief.
a. and traditional teachings from the theological point of view of the Kyodan leadership. Therefore, Moderator Tomita Mitsuru stated that the Kyodan was unable either to promote or to maintain "true Christian relationship" with these churches as long as they claimed such different Christian faith from the orthodox Christian doctrines shared among other Japanese Protestant churches. (12)
It was shocking for other Kyodan churches to recognize that even the participating churches could be the objects of state censorship and punishment. This understanding drove them to seek more reliable ways for protection and security from the government. Japanese Protestant churches willingly chose to take such an action because of the external pressure to their peace and security. (13) Based on this motivation, prewar Japanese Protestants could justify their decision to form the Kyodan as the result of their long-time prayer since the mid-nineteenth century when Protestant missions were first launched in Japan. This was also the reason prewar Japanese Baptists gave to explain their participation in the Kyodan. (14)
Japanese Baptists and the Kyodan
Churches had one way to minimize conflicts with the government and maintain some degree of denominational freedom; however, it was not considered as ideal as being a part of the Kyodan in terms of gaining state protection. (15) If denominational churches chose to remain at the lower rank as a small gathering or fellowship, they could come under the local state administrator for supervision, not the direct control from the central government. No Japanese Baptists chose this option.
Like other Protestant groups, Japanese Baptists participated in the Kyodan and surrendered themselves to the state. On forming the Kyodan, Japanese Baptists showed neither stern resistance nor disagreement with their being involved in the state religious policy. Instead, they expressed their positive attitudes toward establishing one organic church led by the state and agreed to minimize their denominational heritage. Joining one organic church required denominational churches to cease their theological diversities among participating churches in the Kyodan. This demand should severely question the Baptist principle of local church autonomy. Further, with this requirement Japanese Baptists had to loosen the requirement of believer's baptism Believer's baptism (also called credobaptism, from the Latin word credo meaning "I believe") is the Christian ritual of baptism given to adults and children who have made a declaration of their personal faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior. by immersion and tolerate various other baptismal bap·tism
1. A religious sacrament marked by the symbolic use of water and resulting in admission of the recipient into the community of Christians.
2. traditions. Japanese Baptists raised no critical questions. The question should be whether Baptists would sacrifice the denomination's distinctive teachings to join the state church for organizational survival. Japanese Baptists were at a crossroads.
Such conditions placed Japanese Baptists in a serious dilemma: either remain faithful to their denominational principles and heritage or preserve themselves in compromise with the state under difficult social conditions. Japanese Baptists chose the latter. Concerning a burning dilemma regarding their faithfulness to the denominational principles and heritage, one of the prewar Japanese Baptist leaders satisfied himself and said, "Japanese Baptists have to leave our denominationalism de·nom·i·na·tion·al·ism
1. The tendency to separate into religious denominations.
2. Advocacy of separation into religious denominations.
3. Strict adherence to a denomination; sectarianism. behind and make our best efforts to bear the great Christian union under cooperation with other Protestant denominations." (16) Another leader supported this view and stated that Japanese Baptists should do so because of "our historical Baptist origin" as he understood it. The same leader continued that this was the time for all Japanese Baptists to take this organic union seriously and celebrate this event. He challenged Japanese Baptists to have a broader and wider point of view to benefit the entire nation. He added, "We shall do this organic union by following Jesus' teaching of being one." (17)
Another Baptist leader explained the necessity of organic union: "Now we need to examine psychological elements that allowed various denominations separated from each other. I personally believe that we should not repeat the same mistakes that our forefathers forefathers npl → antepasados mpl
forefathers npl → ancêtres mpl
forefathers npl → Vorfahren had made in the past." (18)
To the denominational leaders, historic Baptist emphasis on local church autonomy and believer's baptism by immersion was the mere product of the narrow-mindedness of their denominational ancestors. These Japanese leaders thought that such strong insistence on their own denominational distinctives was nothing more than selfishness that ignored the benefit of others. Regarding religious liberty, prewar Japanese Baptist leaders treated this principle as a mere issue of human psychology, not as a genuine Baptist contribution to all whose conscience and integrity were diminished because of their religious conviction.
Among the pro-Kyodan statements made by prewar Baptist leadership, Chiba Yugoro made the most influential one that showed his full support of Baptist participation in the Kyodan and his cooperation with the state. Chiba, who received his theological education at the Northern Baptist Seminary in Rochester, New York This article is about the city of Rochester in Monroe County. For the town in Ulster County, see Rochester, Ulster County, New York.
Rochester, once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City or , was an outstanding Japanese Baptist leader in the convention's formative years. He won wide respect and fame not only in Baptist circles but also in other Protestant denominations. He was a frequent participant at various international conferences representing both his denomination and other Japanese Protestant churches.
In January 1940, Japanese Baptists, who had formerly related to the Southern Baptist Mission in Japan, held their annual meeting to discuss whether they would like to merge with the Northern Baptist-related group. They saw the necessity to enlarge TO ENLARGE. To extend; as, to enlarge a rule to plead, is to extend the time during which a defendant may plead. To enlarge, means also to set at liberty; as, the prisoner was enlarged on giving bail. the denomination to win independent status as a recognized religious group and obtain full security from the state. Holding his strong support for forming the Kyodan, Chiba urged the audience:
Under richness of Divine grace of our forgiving God, ... forget the past and become new by unifying our two Baptist groups. This is what we prayed for years. Now our prayer is heard by God.... the Japan Baptist Union was the united organization that expressed our unified will. This is not restraint of Baptist freedom. Instead, this action came out of sacrificing Christian love taught by Jesus. Freedom never shall be anarchical that always claims individual right only and ignores one's responsibility for the public.... We did this [unification] because we believe the most urgent problem in the present situation is how to maintain our denomination healthy. We anticipate full development of this union for the purpose of providing benefit for the public.... (19)
On another occasion, Chiba expressed his Christian patriotism and his understanding of Christian service to the nation in the national crisis. At the annual meeting of the United Baptist group in October 1940, Chiba revealed his view of interchurch cooperation. According to him, this effort was to aim at evangelizing the entire nation that Japanese Baptists had to share with other Protestant groups as a common goal. He understood that this is what Christian responsibility should be as a faithful citizen:
All Christian churches in Japan are currently suffering the violent rainstorm. Do you avoid this moment as the troublesome situation? No, of course not. As we bravely take this opportunity and use it wisely, our Japanese Baptists shall pursue the denominational growth through this newly formed Baptist body. In cooperation, we will help each other with unselfish Christian spirit and work diligently to supply benefit to the public that should be our highest priority as Japanese Christians. How can we serve the country? The answer is evangelism. We Baptist Christians serve the nation through evangelizing the people. (20)
After Chiba's address, inspired delegates discussed extensively whether they would join the Kyodan. They finally decided to reject the idea of remaining as an independent denomination and overwhelmingly agreed to be a part of the one organic state church. One delegate among them strongly expressed his disagreement with the idea. However, such a voice was unheard un·heard
1. Not heard: unheard pleas for help.
2. Not given a hearing; not listened to: unheard objections.
3. and gone after the vote was taken. (21)
When the Ministry of Education finally gave official recognition to the Kyodan in October 1941, Japanese Baptists became official members of the state-promoted, one-organic Protestant church. Yuya Kiyoki, who later became a strong postwar Japanese Baptist leader, overwhelmingly expressed his joy:
It is God's will for us to crush our denominational selfishness and to be one under the Lord.... Churches experienced ugly and conflict filled history in the past. This tragedy divided us from each other and created unnecessary confrontations among us. This is why the Great Commission was slow to be achieved and the holy name of God was disgraced. Now all Japanese denominations came together and became one church.... Let us work together to save millions of souls in the nation, assist to establish the new world order, and seek for real peace in the world. (22)
In later years, Yuya reflected on the event and said, "We were willing to go into a union with other denominations." (23) Unlike Japanese Baptist leadership who shared his views, however, some Japanese Baptists were less excited about this historic event and showed their low expectation of the denominational expansion within the Kyodan.
Prewar Japanese Protestants believed that good Christian stewardship was to be faithful Japanese citizens who fully supported the state and its policy. Therefore, they uncritically offered their cooperation to the war government in early 1940s.
Practicing the idea of the indigenous church that claimed self-support and self-propagation, Japanese Baptists did their part in building the "New Order in the Great Orient o·ri·ent
1. To locate or place in a particular relation to the points of the compass.
2. To align or position with respect to a point or system of reference.
3. " echoing a national slogan during the war period. For example, Japanese Baptists invited military Foreign Minister Matsuoka Yosuke as a guest speaker to encourage Sunday School Sunday school, institution for instruction in religion and morals, usually conducted in churches as part of the church organization but sometimes maintained by other religious or philanthropic bodies.
In England during the 18th cent. teachers to promote more Sunday School attendance. (24) Being aware of the importance of religious education for the youth, Japanese Baptist leadership promoted the Christian Youth League of the Rising Orient supported by the state aiming at uniting young people under the new world order among Asian nations Noun 1. Asian nation - any one of the nations occupying the Asian continent
country, land, state - the territory occupied by a nation; "he returned to the land of his birth"; "he visited several European countries" . Having foreign minister Matsuoka as chairperson chairperson Chairman The head of an academic department. See 'Chair.', Cf Chief. , the League was celebrated in Tokyo in 1941. Ohtani Kenji, director of the youth division of the united Baptist convention, expressed his wish to promote this kind of movement not only in Japan but also in the neighboring neigh·bor
1. One who lives near or next to another.
2. A person, place, or thing adjacent to or located near another.
3. A fellow human.
4. Used as a form of familiar address.
v. countries such as China and Korea. Under this purpose, he attempted to visit these countries and encourage them to join this promotion. (25) Otani represented the typical Japanese Baptist view of politics in the war period that identified their Christian mission with the Japanese political mission.
Japanese imperialism that propagated its nationalism in the neighboring countries was the center of international criticism at that time. Acting as the faithful Japanese citizens, the Kyodan attempted to rationalize ra·tion·al·ize
1. To make rational.
2. To devise self-satisfying but false or inconsistent reasons for one's behavior, especially as an unconscious defense mechanism through which irrational acts or feelings are made to appear Japanese atrocities and sent a letter to Asian churches that they interpreted Japan's military expansion as historical progress and God's will Noun 1. God's Will - the omnipotence of a divine being
omnipotence - the state of being omnipotent; having unlimited power to make the neighboring nations free from Western colonialism colonialism
Control by one power over a dependent area or people. The purposes of colonialism include economic exploitation of the colony's natural resources, creation of new markets for the colonizer, and extension of the colonizer's way of life beyond its national borders. . (26) Then, the Kyodan sent missionaries to these neighboring countries such as Korea, China, the Philippines, and Indonesia as part of the military pacification Pacification
Pain (See SUFFERING.)
sea god, stiller of storms on the ocean. [Norse Myth. program.
Japanese Baptists were no exceptions. Like other denominations, they uncritically harmonized har·mo·nize
v. har·mo·nized, har·mo·niz·ing, har·mo·niz·es
1. To bring or come into agreement or harmony. See Synonyms at agree.
2. Music To provide harmony for (a melody). with Japanese political ideology and nationalism in the name of Christian evangelism. They followed the stereotypical ethnocentric eth·no·cen·trism
1. Belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group.
2. Overriding concern with race.
eth missiology Missiology, or mission science, is the area of practical theology which investigates the mandate, message and work of the Christian missionary. Missiology is a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural reflexion on all aspects of the propagation of the Christian faith, embracing like the Kyodan's, and decided to send the first foreign missionary to Manchuria in 1942 with their unanimous vote. The goal and identity of this missionary clearly reflected the imperialist view as well as national sentiment among the people of that time:
Manchuria is the lifeline of our land. First, Manchuria is for our national defense; second, for national economy; and third, for integrity of our nation. Japanese army will take care of the first one. Economists will do on the second. And the religious people like us should devote ourselves to accomplish the third one with the sacred heart for our Emperor. (27)
An Interpretation of the Prewar Japanese Baptist Compromise
Like the majority of Japanese Protestant groups, Japanese Baptists silenced their voices and took no prophetic pro·phet·ic also pro·phet·i·cal
1. Of, belonging to, or characteristic of a prophet or prophecy: prophetic books.
2. stand during the national crisis. This was the crisis of religious liberty that historic Baptists sacrificed their lives to achieve and to protect. I would like to offer an interpretation why this compromise took place among prewar Japanese Baptist leadership and churches.
From the beginning when the first Southern Baptist missionaries came to Japan in 1889, Japanese Baptists heavily depended on Southern Baptist denominational wealth to develop their own evangelical work. This process was the same as other Japanese Protestants whose evangelistic efforts were promoted under strong missionary leadership of various denominations. At the same time, the birth of the Japanese Protestant mission totally depended on the state policy of modern Japan in the mid-nineteenth century. To join the world community dominated by Western forces at that time, modern Japan willingly accepted Western technology and way of life, including Christianity. Western missionary societies, predominantly American Protestant groups, sent a number of missionaries to Japan. (28) These missionaries dedicated their lives to the newborn modern nation not only as missionaries but also as qualified educators. One American missionary wrote in 1895 that no one could deny that modern Japan deeply owed its national success and progress to Western civilization Noun 1. Western civilization - the modern culture of western Europe and North America; "when Ghandi was asked what he thought of Western civilization he said he thought it would be a good idea"
Western culture that was largely offered by the Western missionaries. (29)
However, this meant that Japan welcomed Christianity as a philosophical foundation that could give profound impact to the new nation, as a shaping force of their morals and values. Even in the new Japan declared to be a modern nation in the mid-nineteenth century, old Japanese Old Japanese (上代日本語 Jōdai nihongo religious sentiment still remained along with a sense of ethnicity. The Japanese Constitution of 1889--the first written constitution in its history--clearly stated the divine and unbroken linkage of the Japanese emperor and identified him as the sole ruler of the new Japan. In addition, the Imperial Rescript of Education of 1890 that outlined the principle of public education and became the philosophy of the nation, pointed at the excellence of the Japanese traditional value system. The constitution limited full toleration TOLERATION. In some. countries, where religion is established by law, certain sects who do not agree with the established religion are nevertheless permitted to exist, and this permission is called toleration. of religious freedom. Under such political conditions, freedom of religion in modern Japan was severely limited and the people were allowed to pronounce pro·nounce
v. pro·nounced, pro·nounc·ing, pro·nounc·es
a. To use the organs of speech to make heard (a word or speech sound); utter.
b. their faith freely as long as they would pay respect for the emperor and show their loyalty to the state. (30)
This is how Japanese Protestant missions were allowed to start. Taking a political package in such a given situation was hard to be ignored in order to develop the missionary efforts. Political situations like this made it extremely difficult for Japanese Protestant churches to take their own stance against the state. Therefore, it seems that Japanese Baptist sentiment of self-protection and their inwardness in·ward·ness
1. Intimacy; familiarity.
2. Preoccupation with one's own thoughts or feelings; introspection.
3. The intrinsic or indispensable properties of something; essence.
Noun 1. was a natural product of the characteristics of Japanese Protestants.
Prewar Japanese Baptists were more interested in preserving the denominational body than practicing their historic teachings and heritage. One possible reason of this tendency was strong Southern Baptist denominational leadership that made it possible for Japanese Baptists to achieve denominational growth in their formative periods. Since the first Southern Baptist affiliated church was organized in 1893, Southern Baptists in Japan had made steady progress as a denominational body by the middle of the 1920s. Southern Baptist denominational influence continued. The foundation of current Japanese Baptist institutions including schools and the theological seminary was mostly set in the prewar period. The new national convention was formed in 1947; however, its organizational framework and the denominational characteristics were largely indebted in·debt·ed
Morally, socially, or legally obligated to another; beholden.
[Middle English endetted, from Old French endette, past participle of endetter, to oblige to these early milestones.
Japanese Baptist denominational growth in the prewar period was a reflection of strong Southern Baptist denominationalism that flourished from its founding in 1845 and fully developed by the mid-twentieth century. During this period, Southern Baptists strongly neglected any critical examinations of their theology as well as mission philosophy. Southern Baptists in the late-nineteenth century and the early-twentieth century tolerated no historical-critical methods to study the Bible and their Baptist origin. In 1932, W. E. Hocking Hocking may refer to:
country, land, state - the territory occupied by a nation; "he returned to the land of his birth"; "he visited several European countries" , for wiser promotions in the future. Southern Baptist leadership was greatly disturbed by such challenge and openly criticized the publication as an attempt to "smash all denominational lines and direct evangelism with an extreme modernist-liberal view." (31)
Seeking denominational growth and solidarity, Southern Baptists came to relax their conformed theological view and placed their concentration on equipping the organizational machinery. Missionary candidates grew up under such an atmosphere and took the denominational policy as a powerful instruction to shape their missionary identity and visions. Since Southern Baptist presence was the only historic and physical encounter with Japanese Baptist churches, it seems natural for prewar Japanese Baptists to have more opportunities to learn limited views of Baptist understanding and heritage filtered by denominational missionaries. If denominational missionaries exclusively emphasized Baptist passion of evangelism under such circumstances compared with other historic Baptist distinctives Baptist Distinctives is a name usually given to a list of doctrinal principles that have traditionally described what Baptists as a whole believe.
One way of classifying a set of principles common to most Baptist traditions is called the "Four Freedoms," articulated by , such as separation of church and state
Prewar Japanese Baptists abandoned their historic relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention and claimed self-support and self-propagation. Some would say such an effort was to grow indigenous Christianity as being indigenous Baptists. However, a large part of their direct intention was because of political pressure from the state, instead of their internal passion to root historic Baptist principles in Japanese soil. Seeking social recognition helped them to be good Japanese citizens and useful people for the nation. At the same time, this choice made prewar Japanese Baptists pay a costly price; they lost their voice for defending religious liberty for all and their strong support for separation of church and state. They justified compromise with the state in the name of evangelism during the nation's political crisis.
History teaches us that Baptists love neither establishment nor institutionalized in·sti·tu·tion·al·ize
tr.v. in·sti·tu·tion·al·ized, in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·ing, in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·es
a. To make into, treat as, or give the character of an institution to.
b. organization. Rather, a Baptist makes one's best effort to build the community of regenerated individuals. These individuals take the Scripture seriously under any circumstances, trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and stubbornly advocate freedom of belief for all. Studying Japanese Baptists' desperation to protect their denominational organization before and during the war period, I wonder if Japanese Baptists of that time thought that no Baptist evangelism seemed possible without the solid and established organizational structure of the denomination. They might believe, as one Japanese pastor later reflected on their participation in the state church: "The Kyodan was a flimsy shelter where we went to find a bit of protection from the worst winds of persecution. It was cold, though it did keep us from dying. And for that we can be grateful." (32)
Japanese Baptists' organizationalist tendency showed clearly when they sought to restore denominational ties with the Southern Baptist Convention after the war. Without serious reflections and evaluations of their war-time attitudes toward the state, Japanese Baptist churches immediately declared their withdrawal from the Kyodan within a few years after the war. They explained that the major reason for this decision was their deep disappointment and frustration with the undemocratic and bureaucratic bu·reau·crat
1. An official of a bureaucracy.
2. An official who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedure.
bu attitudes among the Kyodan leadership that treated smaller denominational groups lightly. (33) Postwar Japanese Baptists further explained that they were eager to restore their denominational heritage and tradition in order to experience organizational growth in the new era assisted by the Southern Baptist Convention.
The most straight and honest explanation was that postwar Japanese Baptists learned that the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board (FMB FMB
Federal Maritime Board
FMB (US) n abbr (= Federal Maritime Board) → Dachausschuss der Handelsmarine ) would withhold with·hold
v. with·held , with·hold·ing, with·holds
1. To keep in check; restrain.
2. To refrain from giving, granting, or permitting. See Synonyms at keep.
3. its support until they left the Kyodan and showed their old friendship to Southern Baptists. Exhausted postwar Japanese Baptists desperately needed Southern Baptist money and missionary personnel for the restoration of the denomination. (34)
Reflecting strong denominationalism, the Southern Baptist FMB separately sent its own emissary EMISSARY. One who is sent from one power or government into another nation for the purpose of spreading false rumors and to cause alarm. He differs from a spy. (q.v.) to the postwar Japanese Baptists in 1946 to find out the possibility of resuming their missions, while six interdenominational in·ter·de·nom·i·na·tion·al
Of or involving different religious denominations.
among or involving more than one denomination of the Christian Church
Adj. missionary societies of American Protestant churches organized the relief team for Japan. When Southern Baptist FMB emissary Edwin B. Dozier Dozier may be:
Losing more than a half of the pastors and one third of the churches from the war, postwar Japanese Baptists overwhelmingly welcomed the Southern Baptist support as well as its denominational policy to restore their evangelical work. This decision made it possible for Japanese Baptists to organize the new national convention in April 1947. On forming the new convention, the new Japanese Baptist Convention sent the message to the Southern Baptist Convention stating that they voted to form the new convention "based on the historic Baptist principles." (38)
During the postwar era, Japan worked hard to become a democratic nation. Japan became one of the strong countries in the world in the fields of economy and advanced technology. However, this achievement does not necessarily mean that the national sense of democracy has also grown.
In the spring of 2000, Japanese Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro made a public statement that harks back to the old patriotism of the prewar and war period. He declared that his political party, the Liberal Democratic Party, which is the leading party in the Diet, has tried for the last thirty years to make the public realize that Japan is a divine nation centering on the emperor. Three weeks later, he also described the current state as Kokutai, which referred to a national polity centering on the emperor before and during World War II.
Responding to stormy storm·y
adj. storm·i·er, storm·i·est
1. Subject to, characterized by, or affected by storms; tempestuous.
2. criticism of public opinion, Mori reluctantly released his apology for his "misunderstanding" but not for his dangerous anachronism a·nach·ro·nism
1. The representation of someone as existing or something as happening in other than chronological, proper, or historical order.
2. . Some Japanese and also keen-sighted international communities--especially the neighboring nations that experienced national tragedy under Japanese militarism--are deeply worried that Japan as a nation might be faced with a tough decision sometime in future: maintaining democracy or going back to old nationalism.
Critical conditions that would threaten religious liberty and violate separation of church and state still exist in Japan even at the end of the twentieth century. This is the serious challenge for current Japanese Baptists and we have to take the given environment seriously.
Abundant Southern Baptist support in the postwar era helped Japan Baptists recover quickly from the war, and their Convention became the largest Protestant denomination in Japan. Like postwar Japan, however, this achievement does not mean a sense of democracy among postwar Japanese Baptists has fully matured.
Proclaiming the good news is the fundamental business Japanese Baptists should never neglect. However, Baptist evangelism in Japan loses its meaning if they do not advocate religious liberty for all and separation of church and state. If they will take a valuable lesson from the past, Japanese Baptists shall never repeat the mistake prewar Baptists made.
(1.) Mission Institute of the United Church of Christ in Japan, ed., A Sourcebook for History of United Church of Christ in Japan (Tokyo: United Church of Christ in Japan, 1997), 1:7. Some national newspapers reported that similar suspicions took place around the same time in other parts of Japan.
(4.) F. Galvin Parker, The Southern Baptist Mission in Japan, 1889-1989 (New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of and London: University Press of America, 1991), 136.
(5.) For instance, journals produced by state authorities in the late 1930s and the early 1940s recorded detailed reports of speeches and articles made by Western Protestant missionaries when they expressed their critical views to Japanese imperialist policy toward its neighboring nations. See Doshisha Institute of Human Science, ed., Christian Activities during the War, 3 vols. (Tokyo: Shinkyo Publishing Co., 1972-1973).
(6.) Christian Activities during the War, 337.
(7.) D. C. Hokom, Modern Japan and Shinto Nationalism: A Study of Present-Day Trends in Japanese Religions (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, dozens of academic journals, including , 1947), 77.
(8.) Parker, 135.
(9.) According to Parker, this united Baptist body had a total of eighty-nine churches and 6,868 members, of whom 2,556 were active or resident members. They were still far behind the Presbyterian. Reformed denomination (55,372 members), Methodists (50,505), Congregationalists (33,523), and Episcopals (28,587). See Parker, Southern Baptist Mission in Japan, 156.
(10.) Carolyn Bowen Francis and John Masaaki Nakajima, Christians in Japan (New York: Friendship Press, 19911), 31.
(11.) Mission Institute of the United Church of Christ in Japan, ed., A Sourcebook for History of the United Church of Christ in Japan, 2:123.
(12.) Ibid, 7.
(13.) Ibid., 1:247ff.
(14.) Minezaki Yasutada, ed., A History of Japan Baptist Convention The Japan Baptist Convention, or Nippon Baputesuto Renmei is a Baptist denominational body in Japan, related to the Southern Baptist Convention.
The first Southern Baptist missionaries to Japan arrived in 1889. , 1889-1959 (Tokyo: Japan Baptist Convention, 1959), 488.
(15.) A Sourcebook for History of United Church of Christ in Japan, 1:318-19.
(16.) Minezaki, 505.
(17.) Ibid., 506.
(19.) Ibid., 488.
(20.) Ibid, 500.
(21.) Ibid., 50I.
(22.) Ibid., 514-15.
(23.) Edwin B: Dozier, Japan's New Day (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1949), 124.
(24.) Minezaki, 517.
(25.) Ibid., 516.
(26.) Carolyn B. Francis and John M. Nakajima, Christians in Japan (New York: Friendship Press, 1991), 31.
(27.) Minezaki, 433.
(28.) By 1896, about thirty societies sent their missionaries to Japan. This included the Swiss-German Evangelicals, the Society of Friends, American Unitarians, American Universalists, and the Seventh-Day Adventists Seventh-day Adventists: see Adventists. .
(29.) James I James I, king of Aragón and count of Barcelona
James I (James the Conqueror), 1208–76, king of Aragón and count of Barcelona (1213–76), son and successor of Peter II. . Seder, "Japan's Debt to Christianity," The Missionary Review of the World 8 (September 1895), 653-61.
(30.) Marl Mullins, Shimazono Susumu, and Paul L. Swanson, ed., Religion and Society in Modern Japan: Selected Readings (Berkeley, Calif.: Asian Humanities Press, 1993), 81.
(31.) E. P. Allderedge, "Re-Thinking Missions: A Layman's Inquiry," Western Recorder (January 26 1933): 6; "Appraising the Layman's Inquiry Appraisal," 5.
(32.) Dozier, Japan's New Day, 110.
(33.) Ibid., 124, 130.
(34.) A Sourcebook for History of United Church of Christ in Japan, 3:106.
(35.) Edwin B. Dozier, "Report to the Foreign Mission Board" (unpublished document, 1946), 9.
(36.) Ibid., 9-10.
(37.) Southern Baptist Convention, "Report of the Foreign Mission Board," 1945, 143, 146.
(38.) Dozier, Japan's New Day, 134-35.
Eiko Kanamaru is professor of Christianity, Seinan Jo Gakuin Women's University, Kitakyushu, Japan.