Monday, October 02, 2017

"cometh into the coasts of Judaea" - Priest Valignano in Japan

Ueno, Tokyo
Priest Valignano in Japan

At the end of the 16th century, Alessandro Valignano worked in Japan to diffuse Christianity. 
Alessandro Valignano (February 1539 – January 20, 1606)[1] was an Italian Jesuit missionary born in Chieti, part of the Kingdom of Naples, who helped supervise the introduction of Catholicism to the Far East, and especially to Japan.
On his first arrival in Japan, Valignano was horrified by what he considered to be, at the least, negligent, and at the worst, abusive and un-Christian practices on the part of mission personnel.
Valignano later wrote that, although the mission had made some major gains during Francisco Cabral's tenure, the general methods used by the Superior were severely lacking. In addition to the problems of Japanese language study and racism, some of the Jesuits, and specifically Cabral were in the habit "to regard Japanese customs invariably as abnormal and to speak disparagingly of them. When I first came to Japan, ours (the crowd usually follows the leader), showed no care to learn Japanese customs, but at recreation and on other occasions were continually carping on them, arguing against them, and expressing their preference for our own ways to the great chagrin and disgust of the Japanese." 
There is an implicit belief in the Visitor's writing that leaders influence and are responsible for the behavior of those of lesser rank. Thus, in Valignano's view, any lapse in the mission's behavior towards the Japanese was surely a result of Cabral's heavyhandedness. He immediately began to reform many aspects of the mission, and wherever possible, undermined Cabral's authority as Superior of the Jesuit mission to Japan.
His way was successful.  Christianity, Roman Catholicism, well prevailed in Japan till the samurai regime of Japan closed the country in 1630s.

Valignano admitted that culture in Japan as well as in China was sophisticated as much as that in Europe.  But some Western priests could not admit it. 

Most of Western priests and missionaries in the past thought that the European culture was the best in the world.  They did not hide contempt to other races and tribes in Africa, Asia, and Americas.  Racist European priests were trying to diffuse Christianity in the world since the 16th century.

That must be why Christians do not account for a majority of the population in Japan as well as China and India.

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Mar 10:1 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.
Mar 10:2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.