Emily AndersonChristianity and Imperialism in Modern Japan: Empire for God

Bloomsbury, 2014

by Franklin Rauch on March 27, 2015

Emily Anderson

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When one thinks of the connection of religion and imperialism in Japan, one automatically thinks first of Shintō and second of Buddhism. Christianity does not usually figure into that story. However, Emily Anderson, in her new book Christianity and Imperialism in Modern Japan: Empire for God (Bloomsbury, 2014), shows how and why it must be included. Through her detailed and rich study of Japanese Protestants, particularly Congregationalists, Anderson illustrates the disparate ways these Christians related to empire. Some fully supported the Japanese empire, believing that through it Japanese Christians could both solve the problems faced by Western Christianity and bring “civilization” and Christianity to Chinese and Koreans. Others, through the dissemination of Christian understandings of anarchist and socialist ideas, challenged the very idea of empire and called for a small Japan. Anderson’s eye for detail and her careful presentation of these different views make this a must-read for anyone interested in Asian Christianity and the relationship between religion and empire.

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