In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians: A Story of Suppression, Secrecy and Survival

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9784805311479: In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians: A Story of Suppression, Secrecy and Survival
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The story of Japan's hidden Christians is the subject of a major motion picture by director Martin Scorsese, based on Shusaku Endo's famous novel, Silence.

From the time the first Christian missionary arrived in Japan in 1549 to when a nationwide ban was issued in 1614, over 300,000 Japanese were converted to Christianity. A vicious campaign of persecution forced the faithful to go underground. For seven generations, Hidden Christians—or Kirishitan—preserved a faith that was strictly forbidden on pain of death. Illiterate peasants handed down the Catholicism that had been taught to their ancestors despite having no Bible or contact with the outside world.

Just as remarkably, descendants of the Hidden Christians continue to this day to practice their own religion, refusing to rejoin the Catholic Church. Why? And what is it about Christianity that is so antagonistic to Japanese culture? In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians is an attempt to answer these questions. A journey in both space and time, In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians recounts a clash of civilizations—of East and West—that resonates to this day and offers insights about the tenacity of belief and unchanging aspects of Japanese culture.

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From the Back Cover:

"One of the most compelling and important books on Japan in recent years. Dougill brings the story to life brilliantly. The parallels he draws with the spread of Christianity, as well as his own personal observations, add tremendously to this already fascinating account. "

ùChris Rowthorn, Lonely Planet Japan and Lonely Planet Kyoto guidebook author

"Eloquently written, with surprises around every corner, Hidden Christians is an engaging read. DougillÆs personal touch to the narrative makes the book lively and highly readable."

ùAmy Chavez, columnist, Japan Times

"A knowledgeable, thorough, and lively survey of Christianity in Japan and its intriguing legacies." ùDavid Mitchell, Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

"A moving and personal meditation on the history and present situation of Japan's Kakure Kirishitan. The combination of individual testimonies and reflections based on sound research paints a rounded and up-to-date picture of these remarkable communities."

ùStephen Turnbull, author of Samurai Swordsman

About the Author:

John Dougill has lived in Japan for over twenty years and is professor at a Buddhist university in the heart of Kyoto. He is an associate editor for Japanese Religions and co-author of a guide to Shinto Shrines. Educated at Leeds and Oxford Universities, he taught for three years in the Middle East before spending ten months traveling around the world. As well as following the path of early Christians around Kyushu, he has journeyed from Lake Baikal to Lake Biwa in search of Japan's shamanistic roots and traversed the country researching Japan's World Heritage Sites. Amongst his hobbies are chess, the GreenShinto blog, and bird-spotting on the Kamogawa River.

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9784805313565: In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians: A Story of Suppression, Secrecy and Survival

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ISBN 10:  4805313560 ISBN 13:  9784805313565
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