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Japanese Christian Missions to Korea in Early Meiji Japan

September 5, 2017 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
East Asia (Lathrop) Library, Room 224, 518 Memorial Way
Motokazu Matsutani - Assistant Professor in the Department of Liberal Arts at Tohoku Gakuin University

About the talk:

It is commonly believed that Japan’s Protestant Christian missions had imperial roots—that Protestant Christians took advantage of the expanding Japanese Empire to proselytize Japan’s new Asian subjects. But instead of beginning with Japan’s formal colonial expansion, this attempt to missionize Asia actually dates back to the early Meiji period when Japan’s Christian communities began to grow at a rapid pace. This talk will focus on the first Japanese Christian missionary endeavor by Tsuda Sen and Oshikawa Masayoshi to Korea that began as early as 1883, more than a decade before Japan’s formal empire took shape. I will show that formal colonialism/imperialism did not always serve as the driving force for the Japanese Christian missions. Instead, a transnational cosmopolitanism (inspired by Christian ideals) served as the initial impetus for the effort to missionize Asia.

About the speaker:

Motokazu Matsutani is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Liberal Arts at Tohoku Gakuin University.  He is a native from Fukushima, where the damages of the tragic nuclear disaster in 2011 still linger. He takes great pride in his local dialect, Fukushima-ben, and works to promote it. He earned B.A. from International Christian University (1998), M.A. from University of Tokyo (2002) and Ph.D. from Harvard University (2012). His research interests focus on Christianity in Japanese Empire and his dissertation probes into the complex and dynamic interrelationships between American missionaries, Korean Christians and the Japanese colonial authority. His major publications include "An Attempt to Integrate the Korean Family with the Japanese -- A New Perspective on the 'Name-Changing Policy' in Korea,” Gender and Law in Japanese Imperium (University of Hawai’i Press, Forthcoming), “Church over Nation: Christian missionaries and Korean Christians in Colonial Korea” (Ph.D. Diss., Harvard University, 2012) ; “Minami chōsen ni okeru beisenryōgun no Shintō seisaku [The US Occupation Policy on Shintō in South Korea]” Gendai Kankoku Chōsen Kenkyū vol.3, 2003.

Free and open to the public.

Event Sponsor: 
History Department, Center for East Asian Studies
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