Friday, December 30, 2005

March 12, 1945 archives: Erosion in Japan

Religion: Erosion in Japan

A question that has worried mission-minded churchmen since Pearl Harbor was partially answered last week. Had the roots of Christianity been planted deep enough in Japan to withstand the erosion of war? Probably not—according to a 28-year-old Korean theological student, who had been drafted into the Japanese Army from Tokyo's Nippon Theological College, later escaped and made his way to Chungking.

He told a Religious News Service correspondent that Christianity in Japan is much weaker today than it was in 1941; of the 350,000 native Japanese who were Christians before the war, about 100,000 are still church members. One who has stood firm, said the Korean, is the famed Japanese Christian leader, Dr. Toyohiko Kagawa (TIME, Sept. 30, 1940). Though it was widely rumored that he supported the government's warmongering, Kagawa actually was thrown in jail nearly two years ago for his open opposition to the war.

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