There are well-known dangers in framing the encounter between ‘West’ and ‘East’ in terms of a Western ‘impact’ and an Eastern ‘response’ or even of a Western ‘contribution’. Equally, however, there are dangers in being over-sensitive to charges of ethnocentrism. The initial stage in the encounter between Christianity and Japanese culture — that is the period between 1549 and 1639 when Catholicism was disseminated by European missionaries — offers ample evidence that a Christian impact, a Christian ‘contribution’ was one vital aspect of a dynamic cultural encounter. That it is nigh on impossible to measure the impact and quantify the contribution does not invalidate the point.
KeywordsSeventeenth Century Japanese Culture Folk Religion Mother Figure Late Sixteenth
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