Features

Japan: Strenuous economy

"Japan: Strenuous economy" Continued...

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

During the 1920s and 1930s, Japan step-by-step removed the religious liberties that had been granted in the 1860s, and liberalized Protestant churches rarely fought back. When authorities urged attendance at Shinto shrines as a "civil manifestation of loyalty," Christian school groups often complied. The Religious Organizations Law (Shukyo dantai ho ) of 1939 gave Japan's government the right to disband religious groups whose teachings conflicted with the "Imperial Way." When the Japanese government pressed for the formation of the Nihon Kirisuto Kyodan (the United Church of Christ in Japan), a union of 34 Protestant denominations, a few churches would not go along, but most accepted the new order.

Many churches danced around questions posed by government officials: How could God, who you say is the Creator of all, have created the Emperor, who is a divine being himself? Will God's kingdom inevitably replace the Emperor's rule? Is the Emperor a sinner? In 1942 government officials arrested 42 Pentecostal pastors and charged them with teaching the sovereignty of Christ upon His return. After World War II many churches apologized for their complicity, but the opportunity to bear witness was gone. Some missionaries arrived with American occupation forces after the war, but Christianity is still the faith of perhaps only one in a hundred Japanese.

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.

Comments

You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading

     

    From cool to cold

    A long-term study finds middle-school popularity often doesn’t end well