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Japan: Persecution begins

"Japan: Persecution begins" Continued...

Issue: "Troops hunt for weapons," June 14, 2003

Buddhist leaders also fought Christianity by publishing purported exposŽs of it. In 1639 a Buddhist monk's book Tales of the Christians described Christianity as a perverse, un-Japanese product-"How wretched it was, how lamentable." Jodo Shinshu adherents sometimes showed more sympathy for Christians, but by the 19th century one of the faith's leaders, Tetsujo Ugai, was also publishing "refutations of the evil religion."

Wretched and lamentable indeed: With its competition suppressed, much of Buddhism prospered but further lost its way. The 17th-century scholar Kumazawa Banzan wrote that "from the ordinance banning Christianity on, a faithless Buddhism has flourished. Since throughout the land everyone has his parish temple, unlike in the past, monks can freely indulge in worldly affairs without concern for either discipline or scholarship ... and engage in romantic affairs." Government officials issued regulations against priestly debauchery and sometimes arrested priests, but the corruption continued to the point where one critic wrote, "The priests are all stupid; they confuse the people, waste national resources, and offend morality."

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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