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About the persecution of Christians in the Edo era

KoiKaze

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Hello.
I read here Once Banned, Christianity Withers in an Old Stronghold | Japan Forum there had been persecutions and killings of Christians in the Edo Japan. I would like proofs,material proofs, not just testimonies "yes we killed and crucified lots".
Also proofs that there were up to 750 000 christians fifty years after its introduction, because it seems too far fetched.Very easy to badmouth and refuse to understand that the reasons are deeper than just "poor christians", harder to think whatever happened, maybe averted worse changes.
Right, I hate christians, when they try to convert people. I don't believe in Roman martyrs, why would take such assertions at face value without proofs then ? It's not like I deny the persecution, but to persecute a bunch of 100 stupid guys who don't understand they are disrupting the social tissue and national character by their very existence, and killing off 150 000 people, is vastly different.
 

cocoichi

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I would like proofs,material proofs, not just testimonies "yes we killed and crucified lots".
Also proofs that there were up to 750 000 christians fifty years after its introduction, because it seems too far fetched.

And may I ask whom you are requesting it from?
 

KoiKaze

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Meh, anyone with a beginning of answer. A Japanese talking person if possible, because if sources exist they must be in Japanese. Because if contemporary sources exist from European, I sure as hell won't believe them. The reason is obvious, I think >_>
 

cocoichi

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Meh, anyone with a beginning of answer. A Japanese talking person if possible, because if sources exist they must be in Japanese. Because if contemporary sources exist from European, I sure as hell won't believe them. The reason is obvious, I think >_>

With all due respect, the article is 13 years old, and I don't think too many ppl here are going to invest their time to search for proof for you simply because you don't believe it.
 

KoiKaze

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I thought maybe it did interest someone, as it shapes hugely the way you are to consider Japanese military governements, and Japanese "character". I am not saying that solely as a revisionist, but in general. I am a history student, and to me, or for sake of logical alone, this kind of detail is of utmost importance. As a correct knowledge of the past, sheds light on a posterior period.
But maybe most people here are content with "Poor christians, they've killed lots, as they have done after too to Chineses" ? Coming from Westerners this attitude would be to be expected but I thought there were several Japanese here, or Japan-lovers, that would at least want to some proofs before bashing Japan's past.
It goes for other countries' "gloomy" past as well, like the Middle Ages in Europa ... those are other areas of great interests for me, although Japan's mentality in most things mirrors mine the most.
 

Glenski

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I don't like to do people's homework for them. My first inclination is to ask what you have researched already. It would seem to be pretty simple to plug keywords into Google Scholar, for example, and see what other literature has to say.

Alternately, you could try contacting the author of that report and ask to check his sources. I mean, really! It's a newspaper story not a research journal publication! How overall trustworthy is that?
 

Mike Cash

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Meh, anyone with a beginning of answer. A Japanese talking person if possible, because if sources exist they must be in Japanese. Because if contemporary sources exist from European, I sure as hell won't believe them. The reason is obvious, I think >_>

If you want Japanese sources you might try learning the language and being able to have available to you things other than cartoons and comic books to base your ideas about Japan on.

It is claimed there are records indicating at least 3,125 executions of Japanese Christians.

http://hushiginomedai.holy.jp/martyres japonenses.htm

It isn't as though this is a bunch of lies foreigners made up to smear the Japanese national character; the fact of the historical persecution and execution of Christians during that period is common knowledge in Japan. So far, you're the only person I've ever seen who has tried to deny or minimalize it.
 

Timelyn

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I would like proofs,material proofs, not just testimonies "yes we killed and crucified lots".
That would be paranormal as hell.

What have you found so far that makes you think it's fake? I'm kind of interested in reading anything about it too, even if it's as reliable as crop circle investigations.
 

madphysicist

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Coming from Westerners this attitude would be to be expected but I thought there were several Japanese here, or Japan-lovers, that would at least want to some proofs before bashing Japan's past.

I love Japan but it's not exactly hard to "bash Japan's past" if that's what one wants to do, and you certainly don't have to go back that far to do it. I have never heard any controversy over the claim that Christians were persecuted. Contrast that with the lengths Japan has gone to in denying other terrible aspects of its history.

I quote from Kenneth Henshall's A History of Japan since I have it to hand. It is a relatively scholarly book and cites sources.

First he describes the general level of cruelty in that period:

“Punishment for offenders was usually severe, particularly for those in major towns in territory controlled directly by the Tokugawa. Execution was common for petty theft or even for negligence in letting your own house catch fire […] Whole families, and even neighbours, were sometimes executed along with the miscreant, for Hideyoshi's principle of collective responsibility was applied with vigour.”

He contrasts this with the “relative leniency of the ritsuryo system almost a thousand years earlier”.

Then he goes on to talk about Christians:

“In particular, the challenge that [Christians'] uncompromising God presented to the authority of the shogun was a major problem – not so much in theological terms but political ones. Had Christians kept their Christian beliefs to themselves, and not tried to assert the authority of their God – and their God alone – through preaching and moral judgements, they may well have received better treatment. Japan was (and still is) a land of religious tolerance. Nobunaga's campaigns against Buddhist institutions were based on political rather than religious grounds, and the same was true of the actions by Hideyoshi and then the Tokugawa against the Christians.

[…unpleasant descriptions of torture and executions which I shall spare you…]

The culmination of persecution was the Shimabara massacre of 1638, near Nagasaki, in which as many as 35,000 people – men, women, and children, and most of them Christians – were killed by shogunate forces. This was not purely a persecution of Christians, but was at the same time the quelling of an uprising partly caused by discontent over taxation and an unpopular daimyo. Nonetheless, the causes became conveniently blurred, and it brought an effective end to the open presence of Christianity in Japan […] From 1640 all Japanese were obliged to register at Buddhist temples to prove their non-Christianity, a practice which also helped to keep a check on the population at large”


Whether you agree with the author's opinions or not, there is actually a lot of interesting stuff there about the distinction between punishing disobedience and punishment based on moral judgement, and how the persecution was mostly down to political motives rather than simple hatred of the other.

If you claim that all contemporary sources were fabricated to make Japan look bad you would also have to come up with a motive for several independent witnesses to be spreading propaganda about Japan. Japan was not a threat to the Western world at that point and I can't really see what benefit they would glean from making those kind of things up.
 
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