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Emperors and christianity

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Chapter Summary

Although one would expect a wide gap to exist between the emperors of Japan?allegedly the descendants and high priests of the sun goddess Amaterasu Ōmikami?and Christianity, which regards polytheistic religions as pagan creeds, the modern emperors of Japan and their family members have shown an interest in the religion of the west. Christian officials and educators have occupied senior positions in the palace since the Taishō period, despite the nationalistic atmosphere of the 1930s and 1940s. The Meiji government often turned a blind eye to the missionaries? illicit activities. Despite a long-lasting interest in Christianity, the imperial family of Japan did not convert. Japan adopted democracy and pacifism without basing them on a Christian belief. Its return to the family of nations, as a respected industrial democracy, removed the fear that without Christianity it would not be respected by the western world.

Keywords: Christianity; Japanese emperors; Japanese imperial family; Meiji Emperor; Taishō period



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