Our fifth episode will focus on Japan and it’s encounters with counter-religion. We open our narrative in the Sengoku Era or the Warring States period, towards the end of which the Jesuits, Francis Xavier prominent among them, first created a base in Japan and began converting Japanese to Christianity.
We study the attitudes of the three great feudal lords of the period – Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the first Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate – Tokugawa Ieyasu.
We describe the purge of Christians and the forceful methods by which Christians were turned apostate in the early 17th century.
The first Christian incursion ended with the Shimambara Rebellion, which was a Jesuit-incited peasant rebellion and the suppression of which ushers in the Edo Period, a 250 year unbroken stretch of peace and stability, which Japanese look back on as a halcyon age of high culture.
The next stop is at the times and works of the great thinker Aizawa and his Shinron theses.
Moving on, the middle of the 19th Century saw the slow disintegration of the central Tokugawa Shogunate that led Japan and the chaos unleashed by the crumbling samurai social order.
Into this situation, the American Commodore Mathew Perry led a steamship into Japan and forcefully opened up Japan.
From this point onwards, a series of events unfolded that resulted in the Emperor regaining effective power and centralizing authority in the person of the Emperor. This is known as the Meiji Restoration.
Our narrative stops here and will be resumed in a future installment with the 1905 Russo-Japanese War.
Watch first part of the series here.
Watch second part of the series here.
Watch Third part of the series here
Watch Fourth part of the series here
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