Saturday, June 4, 2011

American Caesar and the Attempted Catholicization of Japan

Suzanne McGee reports on recently declassified "accounts of a 1946 meeting between [General Douglas A.] MacArthur and two U.S. Catholic bishops" — Book says MacArthur flooded Japan with post-war religion. More:
    “General MacArthur asked us to urge the sending of thousands of Catholic missionaries — at once,” Bishops John F. O’Hara and Michael J. Ready later reported to the Vatican. MacArthur told them that they had a year to help fill the “spiritual vacuum” created by the defeat.

    Based on his experience in the Philippines, MacArthur believed the Catholic Church could find particular appeal because the tradition of seeking absolution for one’s mistakes or misdeeds “appeals to the Oriental,” they reported.

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Blogger Pints in NYC said...

Also from that link:

> the 1960s saw a student backlash against perceived “elite” Christians who ran several major universities. <

I'd love to hear more about that, too.

11:15 PM  
Blogger hoihoi51 said...

Why was not the Urakami Catholic church in Nagasaki preserved like hiroshima building?

They wanted to conceal having killed the Catholic by the atomic bomb.

anyway many Japanese church are influenced korean cult church. they opposes Japanese flag and national anthem and even Emperor..
that is why Christianity never increase..

I know why Christianity does not spread in Japan. lol
because The Bible written in Japanese is very difficult for the Japanese.
The Christ is written by the honorific expression in Japanese.
it makes so difficult.
for example,"Our Father in heaven”in english. even this easy Phrase is confused becuase of honorific expression

5:13 PM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


One part compassion, five parts condescension. (And I'm being generous.)

How is this any different from William McKinley's earlier plan to "Christianise" the Philippines?

Americans make clumsy Caesars. It's really embarrassing.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Wolfe said...

It would have been more terrifying if the Americans made ruthlessly efficient Caesars. I'll take the clumsy but well-meaning fool.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


I'll take him, too--and laugh at him.

2:09 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Wolfe said...

Well, fools did Christianize the Philippines, so there's some merit in them yet.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


Are we talking about the same country? The Philippines wasn't "Christianised." McKinley failed.

12:59 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

I think Mr. Wolfe may be referring to those fools the Spaniards. As the Spanish say, "God writes straight with crooked lines."

That MacArthur knew Catholicism was right shows he may have been almost a "holy fool." I don't think he was evil.

I almost dusted off his biography, as of yet unread, from my shelves, for my recent 50 hours to and from Rochester, NY. Instead, on the heels of War and Peace, I selected Solzhenitsen's Gulag Archipelago. Great book, horrible airplane book.

1:26 AM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


Ah, my mistake then! It's hard to keep one's fools straight. Especially when one is a type of fool oneself. =)

Now you remind me that I have my own reading to get to: a history book on the bombing of Manila in 1945 that begins with a short but thorough biographical sketch of Douglas MacArthur and has the line: "That the destiny of one country could be so entwined with the life of one man was a circumstance that would forever intrigue other men." (And me, too. You'd expect something like this from a native, but not a foreigner.)

2:17 AM  

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