Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Japanese Ambassador to the Vatican On Why Christianity Has Little Success In Japan

Yes Yes I know it is Envoy or Ambassador to the Holy See but everyone says Vatican so what can you do

Sandro Magister
has a pretty darn interesting piece on this at Why Christianity Is "Foreign" to Japan

There is a lot here.

Here is the intro to his piece with the fascinating speech given by the Envoy which can be seen by hitting the above link.

Why Christianity Is "Foreign" to Japan

Annihilation of the "self," divinization of nature, rejection of a personal God. The cornerstones of the Japanese culture, explained by the ambassador of the Rising Sun to the Holy See

by Sandro Magister
ROME, August 19, 2010 – Once already, this year, www.chiesa has brought to light the extreme difficulty that Christianity still encounters in making headway in Japan.

This is a difficulty that also involves other great Asian civilizations and religions. Cardinal Camillo Ruini – when he was the pope's vicar and president of the Italian episcopal conference – repeatedly identified the main reason for this impermeability in the fact that in Japan, in China, in India, there is a lack of faith in a personal God.

It is for this reason – he added – that the challenge posed to Christians by Asian civilizations is more dangerous than that of another monotheistic religion like Islam. While Islam, in fact, at least prompts Christians to deepen and reinvigorate their own religious identity, the Asian civilizations "instead push in the direction of a further secularization, understood as the common denominator of a planetary civilization."

As for Japan, an authoritative confirmation of this premise comes from a lecture given last July 1 at the Circolo di Roma by the Japanese ambassador to the Holy See, Kagefumi Ueno.

The lecture – reproduced below almost in its entirety, by the gracious permission of its author – highlights with rare clarity the abyss that separates the Christian vision from the culture and religious sensibility of Japan.

Ambassador Ueno says he is Buddhist-Shinto in his outlook. And in the lecture, he speaks not as a diplomat, but as a "cultural thinker," as in effect he is. For many years his interest has centered on civilizations and cultures. He has written numerous works on this theme, and has spoken at various congresses.

An essay that he published shortly before going to Rome as an ambassador, four years ago, is entitled: "Contemporary Japanese Civilization: A Story of Encounter Between Japanese 'Kamigani' (Gods) and Western Divinity."

A summary of his lecture at the Circolo di Roma was published in "L'Osservatore Romano" on August 14.

See above link for it. Worth your time reading.

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