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A world of crisis and progress: the American YMCA in Japan, by Jon Thares Davidann

By Jon Thares Davidann

3 comparable issues weave during the event of the yankee YMCA missionaries and eastern Christians among 1890-1930: the relationship among nationwide identification and Christianity, ensuing conflicts among those Christians, and an alternating experience of predicament and development. within the Twenties, tensions among americans and jap leaders led the yank YMCA missionary flow to reevaluate its goal and compelled it clear of nationalism.

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Sixteen missionary societies grew to ninety between 1860 and 1900. Close to ten thousand student volunteers had signed up for mission work by 1900. At their most powerful, missionaries were sometimes able to influence the direction of world diplomacy. Mott, the leader of the YMCA missionary movement, became known throughout the world as a missionary statesman. He would often meet with heads of state on his foreign missionary tours. 28 Christian Progress for Japan This sense of progress, when it focused upon the so-called "heathen peoples" of the Oriental world, was characterized by an assumption on the part of American Protestants that progress and enlightenment flowed from the United States to Japan.

Liberal theology destroyed the urgency Pierson attempted to inculcate.  . "7 According to Pierson, liberal theology denied the "lost condition" of the heathen. It conceived of Christianity not as destroying the old religions, but as the fulfillment of these religions. To acknowledge that other religions grasped even part of the kingdom of God was anathema to Pierson, who saw Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and other Eastern religions as complete and irrevocable evil. Unitarians, who practiced liberal theology, relegated Christ to one among many prophets, according to Pierson.

The Japanese had made it perfectly clear to the Americans that they would pursue their own vision of Christianity, not the American version. This rejection led the Americans to soul-searching and to an extended evaluation of the purpose of the YMCA missionary enterprise, which was published in 1932 as a book. The evaluation pointed to excessive nationalism on the part of both Japanese Christians Page 25 and American missionaries as a major cause of friction in the Japanese YMCA. The constant conflicts had weakened the American YMCA mission to Japan, and consequently, the mission proved to be unsustainable in the midst of this rushing cross-cultural current.

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