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Description de l’éditeur
In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians is a remarkable story of suppression, secrecy and survival in the face of human cruelty and God’s apparent silence. Part history, part travelogue, it explores and seeks to explain a clash of civilizations—of East and West—that resonates to this day.
For seven generations, Japan’s ‘Hidden Christians’ preserved a faith that was forbidden on pain of death. Just as remarkably, descendants of the Hidden Christians continue to practise their beliefs today, refusing to rejoin the Catholic Church. Why? And what is it about Japanese culture that makes it so resistant to Western Christianity?
British-born professor Dougill, who teaches British studies in Kyoto, seems to embody the very culture clash that intrigues him. In this book, he peels back layers of Japanese culture as he explores the history of the Kakure Kirishitan (Hidden Christians). From the arrival of the first Portuguese missionaries to Japan in 1549 through conversions and persecution, Dougill shows how the imported religion was filtered through a Japanese consciousness. Revealing an early culture clash so relevant to our contemporary global society, he ponders how strange and even offensive European Christianity must have seemed to a country that had no context for the religion or even the manner of dress. As Buddhist and Shinto culture, together with trade and military tactics, became intertwined with Christian conversions, the Hidden Christian population became heterodox, tortured, and marginalized. Readers are immersed in Dougill s travel adventures as he visits historical sites of the Kirishitan. And even those who stumble over the Japanese terminology will understand the importance of a book detailing a dwindling subculture now fading into history.