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Hiroshima Rages, Nagasaki Prays: Nagai Takashi’s Catholic Response to the Atomic Bombing

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Chapter Summary

A different cultural anthropology, one more helpful in establishing the cultural significance of Nagai Takashi's response to the catastrophe of Nagasaki, was outlined by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in Truth and Tolerance, his 2003 study on Christian belief and world religions. Ratzinger's historically informed 'interculturality', when wedded to Mauch and Pfister's model of disasters as cultural/natural events, lays the groundwork for appreciating Nagai's Catholic response to the atomic bombing of Nagasaki as a legitimate part of an historically informed Japanese culture. The views of Japanese Catholics, particularly Nagasaki Catholics, are often discounted through a process of cultural double-marginalization: first, quantitatively, through reference to their small percentage of the Japanese population, and second, qualitatively, through insinuations that Catholicism is a Western religion and therefore that their own Catholic values and experiences are not authentically part of 'Japanese culture'.

Keywords: Catholic response; Catholicism; Hiroshima; Japanese culture; Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger; Nagai Takashi; Nagasaki



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