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A history of Christianity in Japan online

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venticle is a meeting of both sexes at night in a secret diamber
for pleasure.) In a short time, therefore, one or two hundred
fellows sprang up who disregarded the most stringent injunctions
of the lords of the districts, and neglected the social relations
and the five virtues— a most fearful state of things, indeed I A
certain spy, as he was concealed under the veranda of a house
in Urakami, heard a priest of the evil religion preaching who
said : " Persons who enter our sect and believe its doctrines will
be bom in heaven and enjoy eternal felicity; while believers in
Shintoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism will all go to hell and

♦The translation, which is taken from the Diplomatic Corre-
spondence of the United States for 1868, was made by Mr. (now
Sir) E. M. Satow, afterwards British Minister to Japan and
later to China. Dr. Verbcck was convinced by internal evidence
that the original work was written t>y a priest who had been
instructed by himself and two of whose pupils were still coming
to him three times a week. (Griflfis's " Verbeck," p. 134.)

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90 A HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN

suffer torment. Should only a single person of a familv enter
our sect, the rest will all be bom in heaven by his merit Then
he showed them in a " Glory/' palaces and mansions, and people
enjoying themselves with beautiful women. Consequently they
became desirous of dying at once and being born in heaven, and
do not care for the severest punishment I will narrate further
stories of the prodigies performed.

The Jesus or Protestant Doctrine

In the same way the Americans and English have built Jesus
hallst, and five or six priests coming, try to lead astray the
talented and clever men of Japan. These priests of the Jesus
doctrine live mostly in private houses, and under pretence of
teaching astronomy, geography, and the use of fire-arms, and
medicine desire in actual fact to spread about the abominable
poison of Jesus. Compared with the Roman Catholic religion
this is a very cunning doctrine indeed. Although they try to
make out that there is nothing abominable in it, they are really
foxes of the same hole, and it is really more injurious than the
Roman Catholic doctrine. The priests say: " The Jesus doctrine
which I recommend to you does not practise magic ; it advocates
the observance of the social relations and the five virtues."
But in the matter of abolishing Shinto and Buddhism and of
treating prince and father with contempt it does not differ from
the Roman Catholics, for which reason it is very hurtful to the
state.

A Chinaman named Chang Chi-tsuo, in a letter to a friend of
mine, says : " I find from my acquaintance with the retainers of
Japanese daimyos residing in Nagasaki that they are all studying
western learning by command of their princes. The fact is the
western barbarians practise murder instead of agriculture. As-
stronomy, geography, warlike weapons, and other toys of theirs
are only fit to amuse the eye and ear. But there is not one of
their books which does not praise the spirit of Tesus or of the
Lord of Heaven, and persons who do not study those books with
a profound appreciation of fundamental truth will find themselves
respecting the doctrine before they know where they are. I
sincerely hope that the doctrines of Jesus and of the Lord of
Heaven may not spread all over Japan in two or three years."
Those words are perfectly true. Should it turn out so. Japanese
will become enemies of their own country for the sake of for-
eigners. I pray most earnestly that benevolent men and superior
men will not be led astray bjr the evil plots of these people, but
will assist our countrymen with just laws, and keep the state as
firm as Taisan.

Elements of the Evil Doctrine

The Jesus doctrine and the doctrine of the Lord of Heaven
are the same in origin, and merely branches of one tree. Three
hundred and fifty-two years ago a division of llie Roman Catholic



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ARGUMENTS AGAINST CHRISTIANITY 91

religion was founded, which, professing to observe the true mean-
ing of Jesus, called itself the Jesus doctrine. They say that the
Roman Catholic religion consecrates wooden images and practises
all sorts of prodigies. The Jesus doctrine does not even conse*-
crate images of Jesus ; it merely instructs, and does not practise
prodigies. They derive their doctrines from the Old Testament
in thirty-nine books, and the New Testament in twenty-seven
books. The commencement of the Old Testament says that five
thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight years ago the Lord of
Heaven made the heavens and earth, the sun, moon, and stars^
herbs, trees, birds, and beasts, in the space of five days; and on
the sixth made a man and a woman who are the original an-
cestors of all mankind. Wherefore the Lord of Heaven is also
called the Creator. He is also called the Great Prince and the
Great Father; (natural) princes and fathers being distinguished
as little princes and little fathers. In that case what is said in the
Classic of Poetry, that "in the whole of what is under the
heavens there is no place which is not royal territory; in the
whole earth there are none who are not royal subjects" comes
to nought. And when they say " that the Lord of Heaven made
human bodies which were of earth, and that the Lord of Heaven
put life into them," what is said in the Qassic of Filial Piety,
'*that we have received our bodies, hair, and skin from our
fathers and mothers," comes to nought.

They look upon prince, father, and mother as nurses who
merely nourish us, and say that if we worship our ancestors we
shall be hated by the Lord of Heaven. This is treating prince
and father with contempt and entirely destroying the natural
relations of prince and vassal, father and child, which is a great
evil to the state.

The Old Testament contains the Ten Commandments of the
Lord of Heaven. The first of those says: "There is no other
Lord but me." Consequently the evil confederation of Urakami-
mura near Nagasaki threw the tables of Tenshoko Dai j in (the
Sun-goddess) and of Kasuga Hachiman and the rest into the
water, into the fire, and into the privies. The sixth says : " Thou
shalt not kill ;" but this means, " Thou shalt not kill people of
our religion;" but they murder the most virtuous persons and
superior men if they do not belong to their religion. The seventh
says : " Thou shalt commit no abominable lechery ;" but there are
many cases in the Old Testament of persons who are said to be
beloved by the Lord of Heaven becoming united in the bonds of
parent and child, brethren, husband and wife; and besides, at
Urakami, near Nagasaki lately, under the name of conventicles,
men and women meet secretly in the depth of the night, which is
abominable lechery. The eighth says: "Thou shalt not steal;"
but thQT seize on other countries and make them subject to their
own. Is this not flagrant robbery?

In the New Testament is written the history of Jesus from his
birth to his death by crucifixion. This person called Jesus was
originally very poor. In his fifteenth year he was banished, upon



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92 A HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN

which he travelled through many countries learning magic artfc^
curing the sick, and stopping floods, and other magic. He de«
ceived the ignorant lower classes, making them follow himself
until his evil design of murdering the sovereign of the country
and seizing the country and people for himself being discovered,
he was put to death by crucifixion. He was a most traitorous
animal. It is, however, written that he was crucified to atone
for the sins of all men; that after his death he came out of his
grave and preached for the space of forty days to his disciples,
and ascended to heaven alive. This is the invention of those
fellows, and entirely unfounded.

G)nsidering that the foundation lay in such violent wickedness,
it is impossible that any of his believers can be either filial or
loyal. They say that the most unfilial and disloyal can go to the
very top place m heaven if they only love the Lord of Heaven.
The disasters of Shimabara and Amakusa may be looked upon as
warnings to avoid. The love of novelty is unfortunately such
that, if divine tickets and images of Buddha are caused to fall
from heaven, as they have been since last autumn, there are
plenty of common people, who, under pretence of worshipping the
gods, dance and sing drunken songs, and forget the principles of
sociaJ relations. Such would be the misfortunes of the state,
were people to be sunk in this evil doctrine.

What I pray for is that patriotic samurai in this country shall
learn how these people offend against the principles of fidehty and
filial piety; what ambitious designs they have against the state;
and fortifying men's minds with good principles, block up every
chink by which the evil doctrine might creep in; and perform
one act of good service to the sovereign.

I do not aim here at describing the thing in detail, but only
to speak a bit of my mind and narrate a story for the benefit of
the ignorant and young.

History of the Evil Doctrine in Nagasaki

Since the opening of the port of Nagasaki, the French among
the western barbarians have mainly preached the Roman Cath-
olic religion, and the English and Americans the Protestant reli-
gion. In addition to these there are the Greek religion, the
Mahometan religion, &c., all of which resemble the former and
are as injurious to the state as they are.

In Oura, at Nagasaki, Roman Catholic churches and Protestant
churches have been built and the Japanese are secretly induced
to join these religions. The Roman Catholic religion proselytises
from the middle down to the lowest classes of the inhabitants;
the Protestant religion chiefly proselytises those of a higher posi-
tion than the middle class.

The proselytes of the Roman Catholics are as follows. In Ura-
kami, near >fagasaki, above two thousand people ; in the territory
of Omura, above one hundred persons ; in the territory of Fuka-
bori in Hizen, above fifteen hundred; Yokohama, Shimabara in



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ARGUMENTS AGAINST CHRISTIANITY 93

Hizen, Amakusa in Higo, Htrado in Hizen; in these last four
places proselytising is going on, and it is not known exactly how
many thousands are there.

On the evening of the twenty-third day of the sixth month of
last year (July, 1867), the Governor of Nagasaki sent to Ura-
kami, seized the evil onesi, and threw them into pnson. The
images in the church which had been built at Urakami were
seized at the same time and entrusted to the charge of the
Mayor of the village. The officers who were sent to apprehend
them brought them all, seventy-odd in number, to the Governor's
official residence. Six or seven men were left to guard the
Mayor's house ; but the remainder of the evil band, to the number
of several hundred, attacked the place and possessed them-
selves of the images, &c. They also seized two officials and two
of their subordinates as hostages, declaring with violent language
that they would not give them up unless the prisoners were set
at liberty. In consequence, these hundreds of other offenders
were left alone and not apprehended.

The people of the next village, called Nishi, were all of a
resolute disposition and always observed the principles of loyalty
and filial piety. Although built in a continuous line with the
village of Urakami, it did not contain a single one of those evil
fellows. When the evil fellows of Urakami were apprehended,
the officials were very much afraid and did not like to force an
entrance ; but the people of Nishi, thinking that now was the time
to do their duty, forced their way among the enemy and did good
service.

In Urakami there is a place subject to Omura. As that place
contained some of the evil band, the authorities of Omura ar-
rested more than a hundred in the commencement of the seventh
month, and committed them to prison.

The evil ones who had been apprehended by the Governor of
Nagasaki and cast into prison were daily summoned hy him and
remonstrated with on their evil conduct, but they remained ob-
stinate and gave no signs of repentance. On the contrary, they
actually begged that they might be openly permitted to join the
Roman Catholic sect

As the Governor and G)llectors could do nothing with them;
on the fourteenth day of the eighth month, the priests of nine
temples—seven being of the Shin sect and two of the Zen sect-
were summoned to the Governor's official residence and asked
if they could suggest a plan for bringing back the evil fellows
of Urakami.

The priests replied that they would give in their answer after
mature consideration, and retired. Next day they sent in their
reply, which was to the effect that they would do their best in
exhorting those people to change their hearts.

On the nineteenth day the Collector and judges set out to
Urakami with the priests of the nine temples, and tried to exhort
those people ; but tfiey were obstinate and refused to be convinced
m the slightest degree, the fact being that, as they had not been



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94 A HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN

severely dealt with up to that time, the evil bands only increased
in their obstinacy.

In the middle of the ninth month, the people imprisoned by the
Governor of Nagasaki falsely pretended to have repented and
were released from prison, but they only collected together again-
and increased in numbers from day to day.

As the affair of those who had been released from prison ended
only in their village being made responsible for them, the evil
fellows thought they had found a capital opportunity; they
took a quantity of money out of their church with which they
went secretly to all parts, giving money to the poor, performing
magic and wonders, and proselytising the people. Consequently,
in a short space of time, large additions were made to their num-
bers — ten in one place and a hundred in another.

The fourth commandment of the evil religion ordains the
observance of a day of rest. Japanese began gradually to keep
this day, by which their having entered the sect became apparent.

As the Roman Catholic religion had spread so widely, it be-
hooved those of the Protestant doctrine also to take their
measures to increase the circle of their sect also. A person
called Maria, wife of one Verbeck, a priest of Jesus, left her
child at the breast and went to China in a steamer. She went
as far as Shanghai and Hongkong for the purpose of getting the
priests residing there to come with her to Japan.

This is a summary of the doings of the evil ones at Nagasaki.
I do not know what may be the state of things at Yokohama and
Hakodate. As there are several priests residing at those places
also, it is pretty certain that they will entice Japanese gradually.

Since Hiogo became an open port last winter, no doubt the
priests will gradually make their entrance there, and I fear they
will pour their abominable poison in a short time into Osaka and
Kyoto also. But as they have not commenced working at those
places yet, I hope that a plan for protecting us against them will
be matured while there is yet time.

As the evil ones of Nagasaki who are fully convinced are not
at all likely to be converted again, I think they ought to be visited
with the severest punishment. But the persons who have been
merely drawn in by others will probably repent if they are ex-
horted in the proper manner.

In the above I have given a brief accotmt of the rise and spread
of the evil doctrine.

Another pamphlet that was widely circulated at
about the same time was, " A New Essay on the Pro-
tection of the Country, by the Rev. Folly-Pitier." A
few extracts will serve to show the objections commonly
urged against Christianity.*

* The full translation may be found in the United States Diplo-
matic Correspondence for 1868. The tracts quoted were pub-
lished in China.



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ARGUMENTS AGAINST CHRISTIANITY 95

" The doctrines of honouring the Lord of Heaven and believ-
ing in Jesus appear to be de foundation of the Protestant
religion; but nothixig is taught of cultivating one's person,
regulatingone's family, ordering the state, and tranquillizing die
empire. The fifth of the Ten G>nmiandments of the Lord of
Heaven is 'Honour thy father and mother.' Some tracts have
lately been published entitled, 'Elements of the Five Virtues in
the Holv Scriptures,' and ' Elements of the Five Social Relations
in the Holy Scriptures,' which are made up of texts picked out
of different parts of the two Testaments and twisted so as to
bear out the meaning of the title; but they do not contain the
correct principles of the human relations. Thev are merely got
up to stave off troublesome opponents and also, at the same
time, to take people in ; but they do not represent the real spirit
of the Protestant religion. . . .

"It is quite true that one of the Ten G>nunandments directs
that honour be given to parents, but as no care is taken to give
effect to this injunction by teaching it to the people, we do not
find that either Abraham, Moses, or Jesus, who are venerated
as holy and sage men by the Protestant religion, were celebrated
for their filial piety."

"Seeing that the great principle of filial piety, which is the
root of all good actions, is thus neglected, we cannot expect to
find any traces of loyalty either. There is not one of these so-
called wise and holy men who has acted with loyalty towards
his lord and master. Besides, there is not a single word about
loyalty in the whole of these numerous books and thousands of
words of which the two Testaments are composed. . . .

" The Ten Commandments consist of two laws : ' Honour and
love the Lord of Heaven,' and * Love thy neighbour as thyself.'
Respect to parents comes under that universal love which is
meant by * Love thy neighbour as thyself.' Therefore, although
the expression, 'Honour thy father and thy mother,' exists, it
does not urge the practice of filial piety. Jesus said : ' He who
loveth father and mother more than me is not worthy of me.' In
discussing this question in the 'Dialogue on the Christian
Religion,' Jesus is made first and of greater importance, and
parents last and of less importance. When the great principles
of loyalty and filial piety are thus neglected and the five virtues
thus destroyed, how can one expect perfection in the social re-
lations ? In the ' Mirror of the Way to Heaven,* the five social
relations are said to be insufficient, and another relation, that of
heaven and man, is set up as the chief of all the others, as being
of the highest importance. The object is to destroy the five
relations and to substitute that of heaven and man for them all.
The Lord of Heaven is the Lord of all countries and the Father
of all men; He is therefore the Great Prince and Great Father.
All difference between high and low among men is done away
with, and this is because the single relation of heaven and man is
made to take the place of the five relations. Under these cir-
cumstances, little love and honour are shown towards prince and



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96 A HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN

father, and when they are despised it is impossible that there
should be any loyalty or filial piety. It is no wonder that there
should be no loyal or filial men among the Protestant fellows.
In discussing the question of filial piety, which they rarely do,
they say that the child's duty is fulfilled by his supporting his
parents as long as they are alive and burying them when they
die. The father of one of Jesus's disciples having died» he
asked permission to go home and bury him. Jesus would not
permit it. ..."

"It objects strongly to the worship of graven images. The
second Commandment says: 'Thou shalt not worship graven
images.' There are two books called 'Reasons for not Wor-
shipping Graven Images/ and 'Argument against the Worship
of Graven Images,' which attack the practice with great violence,
besides passages in many other books which condemn it
Should the Protestant religion spread in Japan, I fear the con-
sequences will be the complete destruction of the brines of Ise
and Hachiman, [of places] where the bodies of the Emperor's
ancestors repose, of all the sacred images of the gods, and of
the tablets of our forefathers. Protestant churches will be
built, and only the Lord of Heaven and Jesus will be wor-
shipped. Laws which have remained in force from the earliest
ages will be abolished, and the Imperial line, which has lasted
for the last ten thousand generations, will be polluted. ..."

"If we allow our countrymen to become corrupted by this
abominable religion, it is to be feared lest the disposition which
venerates the Imperial line should disappear and traitors arise
who would aim at the throne for themselves. This is what I
have feared and grieved over for years. I humbly pray the
princes, nobles, and great officers to ^ak to the wise of the
three systems [Shintoist, Buddhist, Confucianist] to rigidly
prohibit this religion while our people are not yet deeply affected
with Protestantism; to expel these fellows, to prevent tiie divine
Princes from bein^ polluted by the stinking wind, to prevent this
necromantic doctrine from throwing the right system into con-
fusion ; and thus insure to the people safety under the shadow of
the Imperial favour."

An appendix to the pamphlet speaks of the way in
\vhich the division between Protestantism and Roman
Catholicism arose, and closes by saying : " The evil na-
ture of Protestantism being thus apparent, the reader
may judge of the equally evil nature of Roman Catholi-
cism widiout my eiUarging on the subject.''



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PLOUGHING AND SEED-SOWING
1873-1882

THE year 187^, was a turning-point in the history
of Christianity in Japan. The attitude of the
Government suddenly changed. We have al-
ready seen that, on February ipth, orders were issued
for the removal of the edicts agamst Christianity. There
were other signs of increased freedom. A few news-
papers had been established, and in one of these that
was published in Kobe there appeared, in April, an
article written by a young man who was then a student
in America, and who at a later date became one of the
most dHcient pastors in Japan, Paul Sawayama. The
most remarkable thing about this article, which, after
criticising Shintoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism,
urged the introduction of Christianity, is that such senti-
ments could be published and freely circulated in Kobe
less than two years after Mr. Ishikawa had been arrested
for having Christian books in his possession, and but
five months after his death in prison.

Moreover, in this year public preaching was begun in
Kobe by Rev. D. C. Greene, of the .American Board
Mission. On the principal street was secured a build-
ing, whose front part was used for a Bible and tract
depository, while the remainder was fitted up as a chapel.
At first, the service was little more than a Bible-class;
but very soon the audience increased until the build-
ing was filled to its utmost capacity. Sometimes as many
as two hundred people were in attendance. About the
same time, Messrs. Gulick and Gordon, of the same mis-
sion, began to hold a public service in Osaka. It was
attended by an average of fifteen persons, most of whom

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98 A HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN

were students in the day-school that was taught by the
same missionaries. What was probably the first Sun-
day-school conducted in the Japanese language was be-
gun at Kobe in December, J. C. Berry, M.D., of the
American Board Mission, being its superintendent.

In the spring of 1873, *he Governor of Kobe ob-
tained from the Central Government permission for Dr.
Berry, who had begun medical work the year before,
to teach anatomy by dissection in the provincial hospital.
Beginning with ten students. Dr. Berry soon had a large
class under his instruction. He also opened dispensaries
in some neighbouring towns. The following story shows
how entrance was gained to one of these places. Rev.
and Mrs. J. D. Davis, with an infant child, spent the
summer of 1872 in Arima, a few miles from Kobe, and
one day they visited the neighbouring town of Sanda.
Large numbers of people were attracted to the hotel to
see these strange visitors. Mr. Davis writes :

** Among the rest came the wife of the ex-Daimyo of that little
province, whose home was there. She brought with her three



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