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

By Jon Thares Davidann

3 comparable subject matters weave during the event of the yankee YMCA missionaries and jap Christians among 1890-1930: the relationship among nationwide id and Christianity, ensuing conflicts among those Christians, and an alternating feel of trouble and growth. within the Nineteen Twenties, tensions among americans and jap leaders led the yankee YMCA missionary circulate to reevaluate its objective and compelled it clear of nationalism.

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Example text

The only escape from the corruption of the world was in the afterlife. The message, according to Bercovitch, changed from condemnation to hope in the new world. This optimism signaled a world that was more dynamic and progressive than Europe. While the European Jeremiad was locked in a ritual of despair, the American Jeremiad became one of promise and hope that the Kingdom would be fulfilled in the new world. American Christians reflected upon signs of progress as tokens of God's favor promising future fulfillment.

Both American and Japanese YMCA Christians accepted the idea of progress, and their vision of progress, when Page 24 applied by American YMCA leaders to Japan and, later, by Japanese Christians to Korea, led them to commit acts that we now define as cultural imperialism. However, it was not simply progress, but progress linked to nationalism that led these Christians to conclude that their own form of Christianity was the essential Christian path. Only the unique American style of Christianity would allow Japanese Christians to enter a world of progress.

History is full of examples of unintended consequences. Thus, it is possible to argue that neither American YMCA missionaries in Japan or Japanese Christians looking to Korea intended hegemonic imperialism. And yet, however honorable their intentions, both groups became enmeshed in issues and problems that supported cultural imperialism. In both the case of American YMCA missionaries coming to Japan and Japanese Christians moving to the continent of East Asia later, the presupposition was that only their particular nationalist creed of salvation could save the world or in the case of Japanese Christians the region of Asia.

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