Narendra Modi & Shinzo Abe: What explains the Western loathing?

“A stunted, lymphatic, yellow-faced heathen, with a mouthful of teeth three sizes too big for him, bulging slits where his eyes ought to be, blacking-brush hair, a foolish giggle, a cruel heart, and the conceit of the devil. . . . It is a grave question whether Japan. . . . is in the least likely to become “a world power” of the kind that Europe is likely to find useful or satisfactory. Indeed the only restraints that could be put upon her are the restraints of the Christian religion. Can she be brought to submit to them? Does she desire in her heart to submit to them? Will she ever be other than pagan and heathen and unconscionable under the surface? the answer is: No…”

– British author T. W. H. Crosland a century ago in reaction to Japanese victories against Russia during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05

“I hate Indians [Hindus]. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”

– Winston Churchill

Prelude

The above quotes encapsulate the modal attitudes of the West towards those considered heathens. Much the same attitude prevails today in sections of the Western elite whether in the frank Christian form or its various secular manifestations.

With that in mind, it is not surprising to discerning Hindus to see a slew of articles in the Western media bashing both Shinzo Abe & Narendra Modi. The Anglosphere would have us believe that they are concerned about “human rights” even as they support various Sunni ghazis to overthrow secular Arab regimes. We on the other hand hold that it is merely a cover for the fear & loathing they have for any openly “pagan” civilization.

Shinzo Abe

Abe with his wife paying their respect to Yoshida Shoin, a nationalist thinker who contributed greatly to the Meiji restoration

Abe is a man with a mission & that mission is nothing less than the decolonization of Japan. This includes a revision of the American imposed constitution including its secularism to bring it in line with the values of Japanese civilization (https://vajrin.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/148/).

He is the chairman of Japan’s Rebirth (Sosei Nippon) an organization that seeks to reawaken Japanese pride in their history and culture with an emphasis on the Imperial Family and Shinto. He is also the chairman of the Shinto Political Alliance Diet Member’s Roundtable (Shinto seiji renmei kokkai giin kondankai), the Diet arm of the Shinto Political Alliance (Shinto seiji renmei, or Shinseiren). Thus in the eyes of the West he is already a “bad” man because they cannot ever tolerate an openly heathen leader.

Standing up to Chinese imperialism is bad enough but it gets “dangerous” when Abe starts talking about restoring Japanese values. In the past decade, under previous LDP administrations some of the most egregious American impositions have already been overturned such as the ban on shrine visits for school children. Now with Abe in charge things might go further in this direction and we might see the reemergence of Shinto taking its natural place in Japanese politics.

The West likes its leaders compliant and working within the boundaries predetermined by them & Abe does not fit the mold. Hence the recent slew of anti-Abe propaganda pieces in the Western media which can be seen here:

http://pastebin.com/Ljf52TnA

Narendra Modi

Modi paying his respect to Chhatrapati Shivaji

The rise of Modi seems to have taken the West by surprise as they never expected him to get so far after demonizing him for years in their media as some sort of Hitler and a Hindu nationalist (as if that is somehow bad). They have tried all their usual tricks such as unleashing their Christian attack dogs (note the recent letter of the Xavier’s College Principal Father Mascarenhas to the students criticizing Modi or John Dayal’s trip to the US to testify against India) and even propping up the fellowship of the broom (hat tip for the expression: http://manasataramgini.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/6384/) led by Kejriwal . In their own land we have seen their efforts to deny entry to Modi through lobbying by evangelicals and Muslims (once again showing the fundamental alignment of Muslims & Christians when it comes to heathens).

But in spite of all this Modi has defied their expectations and seems to have captured the pulse of the nation cutting across regional and caste lines. He has also shown himself to be an able administrator who can bring development to his people. We have good data showing that Christian proselytizers thrive in the absence of governance, so what can be worse for them than a PM who will actually do his job. A strengthening of the economy will also go along with a strengthening of the Indian military with a man perceived as a Hindu nationalist at the helm.

Having one openly heathen leader in Abe is bad enough but to have Modi in addition to him is a bad dream for the usual suspects. Thus the West has real reasons to be worried and they have indeed responded with a slew of negative media articles about Modi which can be viewed here:

https://app.box.com/s/8dw3taux15v7g8uvb0ps

Narendra-Abe

In 2007 after the conclusion of Vibrant Gujarat summit, Modi personally went to Japan to woo investors. He was the first Chief Minister to do so and while there he met and spent time with Abe. Later that year Abe himself visited India but could not visit Gujarat due to protocol, so Modi personally went all the way to Delhi and spent time with Abe.

It was during the same visit that Abe personally met and talked with the son of Radhabinod Pal, the Indian judge who stood up for the truth at the Tokyo show trials. He is widely admired even today by Japanese nationalists and has a monument dedicated to him at the Yasukuni shrine. He cast the only dissenting vote against punishing Japanese officials for war crimes, which included Abe’s grandfather Kishi. Perhaps this was one more reason for Abe’s pro-Indian stance because as early as 2007 he declared that “a strong India is in the best interest of Japan and a strong Japan is in the best interest of India.” In his 2007 book Towards a Beautiful Country: My Vision For Japan, Abe had also written that it would “not be a surprise if in another decade, Japan-India relations overtake Japan-U.S. and Japan-China ties.”

More recently when Abe won the elections in Japan, Modi sent him a congratulatory message even though he was still just a Chief Minister at that time. So considering their past history, we can expect the relations between India and Japan to become even stronger. This combined with what is seen as their “heathen” credentials truly fills the usual suspects with dread. To quote one of their Japanologist (quiet like the Indologist subversionists) attack dogs:

Mullins says this magnetic tug of the past is not unique to Japan. “I see Shinto fundamentalists as very similar to U.S. Christian fundamentalists and Hindu neo-nationalists,”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/23/national/back-to-the-future-shintos-growing-influence-in-politics/#.U1qZhfldX7P

If you set aside the obfuscation about Christian fundamentalists, it becomes obvious that the real target is the heathens and their leaders.

Conclusion

Just as in the past, the Abrahamics cannot stand to see rival pagan powers left standing and it is all the more dreadful to them if these powers start collaborating with each other. So we can expect them to do all they can to thwart the India-Japan relationship, and any nationalist policies that can challenge the Christian Anglo-Saxon (note that David Cameron has recently reiterated that the UK is a Christian country) hegemony. May the Gods foil their designs and grant success to both Modi & Abe in their endeavors.

How Japan dealt with the Christian Threat

We have touched on the topic before (https://vajrin.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/japans-defeat-of-christianity-lessons-for-hindus/) & advise people to read that piece first before reading this one. We hope to briefly cover the actual measures that the Tokugawa Shogunate employed to suppress Christianity. The Japanese employed a range of measures for this because they correctly saw Christianity as a very serious threat intent on destroying their civilization. The following list covers each method only briefly and those interested may look up more information in the relevant books.

The below are the various methods that were utilized by the Japanese government to wipe out Christianity from Japan before the Christians could destroy Japan. Naturally some of this may seem cruel & Christian propagandists have tried their best to exaggerate their suffering & paint themselves as victims. But it must be remembered that the Christians were the aggressors who used forcible conversion (when a daimyo converted he imposed Christianity on the populace under his rule), destruction of Shinto shrines & Buddhist temples, and even armed struggle (Shimabara uprising) to take over Japan. All this was done after taking advantage of the openness & religious tolerance of the Japanese, and the ongoing civil war in Japan. In fact the Christians were warned by Hideyoshi in his proclamation banning missionaries not to indulge in such tactics while continuing them to permit to trade. But far from listening to his warning they even upped the ante & started interfering in local politics, fighting among themselves (the Spanish Franciscans vs. Portuguese Jesuits with the former surpassing the latter in their fanaticism), and were even rumored to be laying the groundwork for the invasion of Japan by a Spanish Armada. Considering all this, it is no surprise that the Japanese reacted as they did. The only surprise is that they tolerated this nonsense for 90 years though the civil war may have been one reason for this delay. Lafcadio Hearn commented as follows on these events:

With the massacre of Shimabara ends the real history of the Portuguese and Spanish missions. After that event, Christianity was slowly, steadily, implacably stamped out of visible existence. It had been tolerated, or half-tolerated, for only sixty-five years: the entire history of its propagation and destruction occupies a period of scarcely ninety years. People of nearly every rank, from prince to pauper, suffered for it; thousands endured tortures for its sake – tortures so frightful that even three of those Jesuits who sent multitudes to useless martyrdom were forced to deny their faith under the infliction;* and tender women, sentenced to, the stake, carried their little ones with them into the fire, rather than utter the words that would have saved both mother and child. Yet this religion, for which thousands vainly died, had brought to Japan nothing but evil disorders, persecutions, revolts, political troubles, and war. Even those virtues of the people which had been evolved at unutterable cost for the protection and conservation of society, – their self-denial, their faith, their loyalty, their constancy and courage, – were by this black creed distorted, diverted, and transformed into forces directed to the destruction of that society. Could that destruction have been accomplished, and a new Roman Catholic empire have been founded upon the ruins, the forces of that empire would have been used for the further extension of priestly tyranny, the spread of the Inquisition, the perpetual Jesuit warfare against freedom of conscience and human progress. Well may we pity the victims of this pitiless faith, and justly admire their useless courage: yet who can regret that their cause was lost? … Viewed from another standpoint than that of religious bias, and simply judged by its results, the Jesuit effort to Christianize Japan must be regarded as a crime against humanity, a labour of devastation, a calamity comparable only, – by reason of the misery and destruction which it wrought, – to an earthquake, a tidal-wave, a volcanic eruption.

http://explorion.net/japan-attempt-interpretation/jesuit-peril?page=8

It would also be helpful to imagine the scenario in reverse i.e. Shinto missionaries landing up in 16th century Europe, preaching that only Shinto was the true faith, destroying churches, telling the native converts their first loyalty to should be to the Emperor in Kyoto not the Pope in Rome or their King. The scenario is farfetched (for a start because Shinto is neither intrinsically evil like Christianity nor missionary oriented) but if it did happen, imagine the reaction of the European Christians who were busy slaughtering each other over sectarian squabbles. But this is exactly what the Christians did in Japan (as they did/are doing now in India) and they have the audacity to portray themselves as victims!

In a subsequent post we shall do a comparitive analysis about the response of Hindus, Japanese, Romans, & Chinese to the Christian threat which will show why the Japanese were by far superior in their response.

1) Deportation

The Shogunate deported many missionaries foreign & domestic, prominent native converts, and mixed children to Portuguese controlled Macau or Spanish Manila. This was to deprive Christians of prominent leaders such as the daimyo (warlord) Takayama Ukon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dom_Justo_Takayama). The mixed children (products of marriages between the Spanish/Portuguese & Japanese Xtians) were dreaded. Lafcadio Hearn provides an explanation for this measure:

The policy of isolation, – of shutting off Japan from the rest of the world, – as adopted by Hidetada and maintained by his successors, sufficiently indicates the fear that religious intrigues had inspired. Not only were all foreigners, excepting the Dutch traders, expelled from the country; all half-breed children of Portuguese or Spanish blood were also expatriated, Japanese families being forbidden to adopt or conceal any of them, under penalties to be visited upon all the members of the household disobeying. In 1636 two hundred and eighty-seven half-breed children were shipped to Macao. It is possible that the capacity of half-breed children to act as interpreters was particularly dreaded; but there can be little doubt that, at the time when this ordinance was issued, race-hatred had been fully aroused by religious antagonism. After the Shimabara episode all Western foreigners, without exception, were regarded with unconcealed distrust.

http://explorion.net/japan-attempt-interpretation/jesuit-peril?page=8

2) Torture

If words did not work then torture was the next preferred method and was used extensively with great success. Initially the Japanese started executing the Christians but they soon realized that Christians have a fetish for martyrs and would go to great lengths to worship their relics. Therefore they switched to torture for the following reason:

As mentioned before, the preferred result was when Christians were captured was that they would renounce their faith and live their lives as Buddhists. According to George Elison, Inoue Chikugo-no-Kami Masashige “wants not martyrs, but apostates. Apostates better than martyrs attest the impotence of a religion, especially when those apostates had been apostles of the faith and priests.” After they renounced their faith, priests were forced to take wives as part of their new lives and were constantly monitored by the authorities. If renunciation was not forthcoming through torture, however, the final act would be execution.

Source: The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony By Michael S. Laver

http://tinyurl.com/l4kx8cy

Most Christians simply became apostates under torture and the most famous catch of this program was the Jesuit missionary Cristovao Ferreira (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crist%C3%B3v%C3%A3o_Ferreira) whose five hour ordeal not only cured him of a lifetime of Christian delusion but also seems to have spurred him into warning others against the deadly poison known as Christianity. He not only became an apostate but also wrote a tract exposing Christianity & took part in the trials of other captured Jesuits.

The tortures used covered a whole range from beatings to having boiling water poured on them at hot springs to standing in freezing water during winter. The most famous torture was tsurushi (this was what Ferreira was subjected to for five hours) which is described here:

At last they found a more hellish and exquisite way of torturing than before; they hung these sufferers by the heels, their heads in pits, which to give the blood some vent, they slasht lightly cross-waies, (but they do that now no more), and in this posture they live several daies, ten or twelve, and speak sensibly to the very last: The greatness of this torment surpasseth all other, being beyond all humaine strength to suffer and be undergone; but by such who are extraordinarilie strengthened from above. This extremitie hath indeed (by reason of its continuance) forced many to renounce their religion; and some of them who had hung two or three daies, assured me that the pains they endured were wholly unsufferable, no fire nor no torture equalling their langour and violence.

Japan’s Hidden Christians, 1549-1999: Open Christianity in Japan, 1549-1639 edited by Stephen R. Turnbull

http://tinyurl.com/mp4rhob

3) Death penalty

The death penalty was a last resort after torture failed to secure apostasy and various means were employed from simple beheading to crucifixion to being beaten to death. Once the Japanese learned of Christian martyr mongering they also began to clean up the mess and dump everything into the sea so that none of the Christians would go collect bones & other artifacts from the dead as relics which they could worship.

4) Establishment of the Inquisitor’s office

In 1639-40 a new office was established, whose sole duty was to remove the Christian threat from Japan. The man in charge was Inoue Chikugo-no-Kami Masashige an ex-Christian who became very famous for his zeal in hunting down Christians and getting them to become apostates through torture. For this purpose he seems to have refined the torture and psy op techniques to keep the Christians alive as he preferred apostates to dead Christians. He knew the Christian fetish for martyrdom and he didn’t want to give them that satisfaction, and besides apostates better than dead Christians demonstrated the impotence of Jesus to the Christian sheep on the streets. He kept records of his days in the office which as far as we know haven’t yet been translated into English. This office seems to have functioned as late as the year 1792.

5) Domestic surveillance

Initially apostate Christians were expected to prove their loyalty by becoming a danka (parishioner) of a Buddhist temple and later this was extended to the entire Japanese population in 1635 to catch crypto Christians. The Buddhist priest would conduct an inspection and issue a certificate that the person was not a Christian.

In addition to this the population was divided into groupings of five families responsible for mutual surveillance regarding transgressions against the law. This was known as the gonin-gumi system and was also designed to catch hidden Christians.

Finally financial rewards were established for anyone in the public who could inform the authorities about Christians:

“The sending of Japanese ships to foreign countries is strictly forbidden.”

“Japanese must not be sent to other countries. If any try to go secretly, they shall be punished by death.”

“Rewards to those informing against Christians shall be as follows; – For religious teachers, three hundred or two hundred pieces of silver according to their rank. In other cases, as previously provided.”

“Foreigners who progagate the religion of the Fathers, and likewise persons of evil reputation, shall as before be sent to prison in Omura.”

“Descendants of the Portuguese must not be allowed to remain in the country. Any who retain them contrary to the law shall be put to death, and their relatives shall be punished according to the degree of the offense.”

A History of Christianity in Japan: Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox missions by Otis Cary & F. H. Revell, 1909

http://tiny.cc/0yiiex

6) Isolation/Closed country

In 1639 after crushing the massive Shimabara Christian uprising, the third Shogun Iemitsu decided to close Japan to the West for good with the exception of the Dutch who had assisted in crushing the rebellion by providing cannon fire. They were allowed limited trade but with severe restrictions. The Portuguese and Spaniards were expelled, ocean going ships broken up, and strict border control established. Any Japanese who tried to defy this and leave Japan was to be put to death as was any Japanese returning from abroad. This was known as sakoku (closed country) and would last until 1853 when Commodore Perry forced Japan to open up at gunpoint.

Iemitsu was very serious about this as he demonstrated a few years later when a Portuguese embassy arrived trying to revive the past trade. He had the entire crew except those required to sail the ship back to Macau beheaded & issued a warning saying that even if their Jesus himself showed up defying him, he would meet the same fate.

7) Information gathering

We know that this was a basic policy scrupulously followed from various sources. For a start when Christianity was still a significant threat we know that Ieyasu got hold of the English sailor William Adams who reached Japan and asked him in detail about conditions in Europe, the difference between Protestantism (Adams’ religion) and Catholicism. He honored Adams and made him into a Samurai (the first foreign Samurai) and these interviews must have played a role in his conviction that Christianity was a deadly threat when he finally decided to ban it. In addition to this Japanese sources claim that Ieyasu sent a tea ceremony master by the name of Nishi Soshin to Europe as a spy to learn all he could about Christianity and report back to him (in reality he went to spy in Spanish Manila, learnt Spanish & spied). It is said that Soshin became an outward Christian, lived in there for 3 years, came back to Japan and reported everything he learnt such as the wars between Catholics & Protestants, the fanaticism engendered by Christianity etc (on a side note we know of no Hindu ruler who sent a spy to Europe to gather intelligence on the enemy even as the Christians were rampaging on our land during the Goan Inquisiton). We also know that future European sailors that were ship wrecked long after Christianity was wiped out were always thoroughly interrogated. The case of the missionary Giovanni Sidotti is a case in point and is described as part of the “border control” policy. Finally here is how Michael S. Laver describes official policy in gathering information from the Dutch:

Therefore, from the time Ieyasu definitively banned Christianity, the bugyo of Nagasaki played an important role in the attempt to extinguish the foreign religion in Japan – even though as noted earlier, there had already been an official since around 1640 whose primary responsibility was to stamp out the Catholic faith…

The placards that were posted to inform the public of the shogun’s orders and policies often carried the stipulation of a reward for those informing on Catholics. As late as the eighteenth century, these placards were still being erected regularly, even though serious instances of Christian apprehensions were extremely rare after the third quarter of the sixteenth century. It is striking that historical memory was so pervasive among the ruling shogunal class of Japan. The Dutch noted that they were continually pressed to reveal details of Catholic activities in Asia and were continually exhorted to keep the shogun informed should they learn of any Catholic plots. Long after a century had passed with no real instance of Christian subversion or any real Christian presence in public life, the shogunate was still concerned with the Christian “threat”…

The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony by Michael S. Laver

8) Public awareness

Public awareness of the evils of Christianity was an important policy which can be considered as a sort of vaccination/immunization program to ward it off in the future. To our knowledge no other pagan civilization took public awareness as seriously as the Japanese and this is one of the factors which sets them apart. Awareness was achieved either through popular anti Christian tracts such as Kirishitan Monogatari (Tales of the Christians) & more importantly by public boards erected by the government throughout all the areas where Christianity had spread. We know that these boards were being erected into the 1860’s long after Christianity had ceased to be a serious threat (indeed the first Western missionaries allowed in after Japan was again forced open report seeing these boards). The following provides a brief description:

References to the hated religion were not permitted in books, and its very name might have been almost forgotten were it not written so prominently on the public proclamation-boards of every town. As soon as a child could read, he saw upon the boards that the KIRISHITAN JASHU-MON (Evil Sect of Christianity) was strictly prohibited, and when he asked what this meant, he was told by his parents about the wily scheme of the barbarian nations that sought to gain possession of Japan by means of a religion that was a strange compound of foolish doctrines and powerful magic.

A History of Christianity in Japan: Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox missions by Otis Cary & F. H. Revell, 1909

9) Border control

The government was not content to just close Japan to Westerners on paper but also made sure to implement strict border control by establishing posts all along the coast as look outs for any strange ships and this was kept up for a long time after the Christian threat had receded into the background. We know this because of the famous case of the Sicilian Jesuit Giovanni Sidotti (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Battista_Sidotti) who in 1708 attempted to sneak into Japan. He was captured soon after he landed on Yakushima Island, a small outlying island and not one of the four main islands of Japan. Giovanni was taken to Nagasaki and imprisoned in the Kirishitan Yashiki (Christian Mansion) specifically built to house captured missionaries in 1646. He was then interrogated by Arai Hakuseki a government official & Confucian thinker on a wide variety of issues from geography to sciences to religion. Arai then wrote up his observations in a report that would come of use later to others & Giovanni died in the same mansion in 1714.

It must be kept in mind that the last public Christians had already died out in the 1630’s and nearly 70 years had passed since then but the Japanese never relaxed their vigilance and caught him as soon as he landed on a minor outlying island and also gathered whatever useful information they could. Part of the Japanese worry came from rumors that the Jesuits were training the Japanese Christians descendants who were deported to Macau to become missionaries and infiltrate back into Japan.

10) Monitoring of apostates & their descendants

This policy is described here:

Because the Kirishitan faith was transmitted through family lines, there began during the Kan’ei era (1624-1643) an examination of Kirishitan families (ruizoku aratame). All relatives of the discovered Kirishitan were carefully monitored for the rest of their lives. After the examination was fully institutionalized in 1687, direct descendants of discovered Kirishitan were carefully supervised for seven generations for men and four generations for women. Records for this examination usually list more than twenty relatives for each Kirishitan examined. In case of Hyoemon in Katsuragi village, in the Bungo domain, for example, a total of thirty-three of his relatives were inspected, including his (deceased) parents, three sons, one daughter, nine grand children, and eighteen relatives.

– Christianity in Early Modern Japan: Kirishitan Belief and Practice By Ikuo Higashibaba

11) Book censorship

Initially all Western books were prohibited but later on Dutch books that strictly dealt with western science and medical matters were allowed to be imported and translated to obtain useful knowledge. They were subject to strict scrutiny to make sure that they contained no references to Christianity.

All Japanese books aimed at promoting Christianity were also destroyed.

12) Isolation & monitoring of the Dutch

The Dutch being Protestants were seen as not being as terrible as the Catholics but the Japanese knew they were still Christians at the end of the day, so they were subject to very strict restrictions. For a start they were confined to a tiny island called Deshima off Nagasaki where only prostitutes were allowed to visit them. In addition to this, the ships were always thoroughly searched for any Christian related stuff and the Dutch were required to hand over their Bibles to the Japanese upon landing. The Japanese were so incensed at anything related to Christianity that the Dutch were forbidden to use the Christian calendar in trade related contracts.

13) Public testing

The following description of a shipwrecked Russian captive in the Japan of early 1800’s says it all about this policy:

The Japanese are not followers of foreign religions. They give, however, full liberty to a variety of sects, besides permitting the public profession of even the Kurile [Ainu] religion; but they are quiet intolerant to Christianity, on account of the troubles it has occasioned among them. The Catholic priests, who formerly lived in Japan & enjoyed every possible freedom, preached the Christian faith, & converted a great number of the natives; but, at last, the progress of the new religion gave rise to a dreadful civil war. For this reason after the complete extirpation of the Christians, the following inscription was placed at the head of the stone tablets of laws, which are fixed up in all public places, & even in the streets:- “Whoever knows any individual who has taught Christianity, & can convict him thereof, shall receive a reward of 500 silver pieces.” – There is, likewise, a law which prohibits masters from hiring servants, until they receive from them a written assurance of their not being Christians. In Nangasaky, where Christianity had made the greatest progress, there is a staircase, on the steps of which are laid various ornaments & utensils of the Catholic church, & on the first step a crucifix. On new-year’s day, all the inhabitants of Nangasaky are obliged to ascend these steps; &, as a proof that they are not Christians, trample on the articles. The interpreter assured us, that many Christians who live at Nangasaky comply with this regulation from interested motives.

– Narrative of my captivity in Japan during … 1811, 1812, and 1813 …: To which is added an account of voyages to the coasts of Japan and of negotiations … for the release of the author … by Captain Rikord, Volume 2 By Vasiliĭ Mikhaĭlovich Golovnin, Rikord (Captain), pg. 68

It is interesting to note that this public testing was being carried out as late as 1813 even though Christianity had been crushed for the most part by 1640.

14) Intellectual critiques of Christianity

The Japanese by and large focused less on the Christian doctrine and more on the doctrines social effects such as destruction of shrines, and shifting of the loyalty of the converts to Rome. The intellectuals by and large seem to have seen Christian doctrine as too absurd to even worth critiquing though there were a few exceptions such as Ha Kirishitan (Against Christianity) by the Zen monk Suzuki Soshan which demonstrated the hollowness of the doctrine. Another such critique was published by the Japanese Jesuit apostate Fabian Fukan who had earlier written a critique of Japanese religious practice from a Catholic viewpoint. This can be read here:

The Pro- and Anti-Christian Writings of Fukan Fabian (1565-1621)

http://japanese-religions.jp/publications/assets/JR33_a_Schrimpf.pdf

By and large the attitude of Japanese intellectuals to Christianity can be summed up by the following quote of Aizawa Seishisai in 1825 in his very influential Shinron (New Theses) which was to play a role in the establishment of state Shinto during the Meiji restoration to defend Japan again from the renewed Christian threat:

This, their [the Western barbarians’] so-called religious doctrine [Christianity], is both shallow and evil, and at its core not worthy of even discussing. However, its basis is simplistic, its vocabulary is vulgar, and that is why it easily beguiles the masses. With pretty words it pretends to respect Heaven by forcing [meaning on] Heaven. It pretends to represent human ethical enlightenment by forsaking the Way of humanity.

15) Construction of Christian prison

The authorities built a special prison called Kirishitan Yashiki where important captured missionaries and converts were kept and tortured. The Japanese seem to have been concerned about the evil of Christianity spreading to the general prison populace, so they constructed this special prison to interrogate Christians. The captured missionary Giovanni Sidotti was also housed in this building until he died.