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In Search of the WayThought and Religion in Early—Modern Japan, 1582-1860$
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Richard Bowring

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795230

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198795230.001.0001

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The fate of Christianity

The fate of Christianity

Chapter:
(p.12) 2 The fate of Christianity
Source:
In Search of the Way
Author(s):

Richard Bowring

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198795230.003.0002

This chapter discusses the relations between Hideyoshi (and later Tokugawa Ieyasu) and the Jesuits. In 1582 the future for Christianity in Japan looked promising: some areas in Kyushu had been Christianized from the top down and a number of influential daimyō had been persuaded to convert. This changed, however, as Ieyasu gradually gained full control of the country and determined to ward off any hint of foreign intervention. Neither did a growing rivalry among Christians of different persuasions help their cause. The eventual result was persecution and destruction. An intellectual defence of Christianity by the Japanese convert Habian survives, as do records of debates between priests and monks over the relative merits of Christianity and Buddhism. For the rest of the period, the image of the Christian priest was used as a bogeyman whenever anything arose that threatened the status quo.

Keywords:   Hideyoshi, Valignano, Christians in Japan, persecution, Hideyoshi, crucifixion, Portugal, Spain, Habian

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