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"I have come,”
Yaso bozu (that is to say, Christian none of these things. There was one thing priests]!" "Can such things be borne with to which they would devote their entire patience and in silence? And how are we lives- the spiritual rebirth of the empire to apologize to the ghosts of our an- of Nippon; nothing less. cestors?” The widowed mother of one of This, then, is the story of the famous the boys tried to commit suicide to apolo- Kumamoto Band, which helped to lay the gize to the spirit of her departed husband foundation of Christian work in Japan. because she had failed to rear the son in the virile and noble path of the samurai. It was in the city of Kioto, and the time A father told his son, in a calm and very was the summer of 1875. Two men sat solemn manner, to go out to the porch talking in a humble cottage that might leading down to the garden.
have commanded the monthly rental of “My son,” said the father, "since you ten dollars at the most. It was specially do not renounce the evil faith, I shall do modest for the two gentlemen who sat and you the honor, which you scarcely merit, talked therein, for one of them was Mr. of putting an end to your life with my (later Viscount) Tanaka, who was then own sword. That is the least apology the active head of the Department of which you and I can make to the memory Education of the newly formed Imperial of our august ancestors."
Government and the other was Dr. Nii"If it be for the sake of the Way," the shima. son made answer, “let it be so, Father
" Mr. Tanaka was sayabove."
ing, “to press a strong claim of our counSeating himself on the edge of the try upon you. : You know as well as I porch, polished like a mirror and without through what a critical hour our country a railing, the son stretched forth his neck is passing at present. It is the one season to receive the blow from the father's in a thousand autumns. If ever Nippon blade. The father looked at the son fix- needed her sons to come to her rescue, edly for a moment. From the first he had now is the time. I need not 'preach to no idea of murdering the son; he wished to the Buddha'; you know all this. You test the extent of fanaticism of his boy, as know the West and Western civilizahe considered it.
tion and its institutions; your knowledge “Kono bakayaro!” cried the father. of them would be invaluable to the GovThat is to say, "You big fool you!" I am ernment. The country has sore need of sure the old gentleman would have put in you." a choice touch of profanity, if only the “This is indeed an honor for which I Japanese language had had a “cuss” word; am utterly unworthy," Mr. Niishima but of course it had not.
made answer, "and believe me, I have no So saying, he kicked the son off the words to express my appreciation for your porch to the garden flag and left him in kindly suggestion; but,” disgust. Persecution raged, and had pre- “Ah," said the head of the Department cisely the same effect as in the cradle days of Education, “I have been afraid of that of the Christian church.
'but' of yours.
I have been afraid that It was the last Sunday in the first month you might say it." of the year of grace 1876, and the spring- "Yes, I regret to say—" like Kyushu weather was all a-smile. The “Wait," interrupted the
other. Christian students of the Kumamoto “Whether you decline or whether you school went out to a hill to the southwest accept, you should not 'act on so weighty of the castle city called Hana-oka yama, a matter as this so quickly. Would it not or the Hill-in-bloom. Seating themselves be well for you to think the matter over in a circle on the crest of the hill, they thoroughly, look upon the situation from banded themselves under solemn oaths. all possible angles? If you like, discuss Let other young men chase the will-o'-the- the matter with me. Many things can be wisp of worldly wealth and honors, let said both for and against your accepting others aspire to the noble work of the de- such a governmental position as I have fense of the Home Land of the Sun, of suggested.” carrying forward the torch of civilization, So it came to pass that the two friends but for the Kumamoto boys, however, sat down to discuss the question, the off
cial ever urging Mr. Niishima to take up laws of Japan in the days when he had an important work for the state. He was left it. one of the closest friends of Dr. Niishima, The outlaw had “the nerve" to dictate and the way they first met was at once terms to the imperial embassy! singular and dramatic.
He was willing, he said, to serve the emat Washington, District of bassy as an interpreter, but, in the first place, Columbia, and Mr. Tanaka was then the imperial commission must recognize with the famous Iwakura Embassy, in the him as an honorable and upright citizen of year 1872, perhaps the most significant Nippon. He had not committed any other year in the history of the new Nippon crime than to run away from the country since the restoration of the actual sover- with the sole desire of studying the instieignty to the emperor. It was the second tutions of America. (That act was punand by far the most important embassy ishable by death, according to the laws of sent abroad by the newly formed im- the shogun's government.) The imperial perial régime. Okubo and Kido were commissioners must greet him as an equal, the leading spirits of it, the two great and must not expect him to fall upon his and magic names to conjure with in forehead, as was the usage at the court of those days. Ito (the late Prince Ito) was Japan. That was not all: the ambassador also one of the members of the cominis- must shake hands with the writer after the sion. The embassy was "first to study the most approved American fashion! There institutions of the civilized nations, adopt were many more demands of this sort. those most suited to Japan, and gradually What could the embassy do? It acreform our Government and manners, so cepted all the demands unconditionally, as to attain the status equal to that of the and Mr. Niishima joined the Iwakura most civilized nations. There was no Embassy. It was there that he came to lack of brains among the men of the em- know Viscount Tanaka; with him he bassy. One thing was missing, however, traveled all through Europe and America; the gift of tongue. The embassy needed the report on the educational work of an interpreter, and needed him badly. In Europe and America presented to the this sore hour of need, they were told that throne by the embassy on its return was there was a school in a town called An- based on the joint investigations of the two dover, in the State of Massachusetts, and in it was a Japanese student.
Thus the two friends of former days sat reported to be studying the “science of in the humble Kioto cottage of Dr. NiiGod.” It was plain that he could handle shima. this trying invention of the darker power Did Niishima wish to propagate the called the English language.
Christian faith among the Japanese? • It did not take those wise gentlemen Would his high standing among the offifrom Japan many minutes to decide on cers of the Government hurt such a work? their course of action. At once they sum- Was there, could there be, any more moned the theological student with all the effective method than to become a great authority of the Imperial Government, national factor himself, and then bring with which they were vested. He did not about the spiritual salvation of Japan, and answer post-haste and in person, as the show to all the people that a Christian can gentlemen of the commission confidently at one and the same time be a patriot as expected. Instead, there came a letter. It well? Viscount Tanaka sat with Niiwas one of the most remarkable documents shima and talked for three days and two they had ever read, and they had seen all nights. sorts of things in their day. For audacity To all the arguments of his friend, Dr. and frankness it surpassed a dun for a ten- Niishima had nothing more to say than year-old debt. For the dictatorial tone of this: it, the writer, a humble student, even if “I have only one answer: my life is he were presumptuous enough to be study- not my own. It belongs to Jesus Christ. ing the “science of God," might have been Many years ago I solemnly swore to dethe Czar of all the Russias. And he vote my entire time and effort to his explained in the said remarkable letter
I can not take back my words and that he was an outlaw, according to the my heart. I can not do it."
As twilight was purpling on the his people whose lives have been modified by toric hills of Kioto, fragrant with the the life of Nishima do not even know memory of a thousand years of culture, the difference between the Congregational Viscount Tanaka rose. He had reached and the Unitarian churches. the end of his patience. He was a simple- What I do know is that Onchi Seiran hearted man.
He was a patriot; he could was in no way connected with the Chrisnot understand the language of the man of tian church. At the time of Mr. Niireligion. How could he? Without the
Without the shima's death he was one of the shining slightest hesitation, he would have sacri- lights of the Buddhistic sect called Shinficed all the Buddhas in the world and his shu, in the city of Tokio. To the students life as well if they could but add even a and the family of Mr. Niishima he wrote: trifle to the prestige and power of the state. He was disgusted with the attitude of Nii- Having been informed in the newspaper shima. He was “mad, clean mad.”
of the death of Mr. Niishima, president of “Well, Niishima,” he said, “I'm your school, I am full of heartfelt grief. going. I am sorry. You are indeed the Since I am a believer in the faith of Budslave of Jesus Christ. Good-by.”
dhism, I stood opposed to him . . . but in And years ago, when I was a school-boy regard to his stirring the religious heart of in Tokio, I heard Professor J. D. Davis our people with his zeal I have no doubt. I say, telling this story, that it was "the was especially impressed with this when I proudest title ever given to man."
once called on him ... it seemed to me at The cottage in which the two men
that time that if I was not a believer in talked became the foundation of the Do
Buddhism I should have become his friend shisha University of to-day, away and be
and accepted Christianity. All who are the yond the greatest Christian university in
ministers of any religion must become as the Far East.
And Dr. Niishima lived a Christian life. It stamped the age in which he lived; Inspiring the imagination of the new it colored the history of his country. Nippon with the charm and nobility of the
Tokutomi lichiro, the editor and foun- character of Jesus— that certainly was the der of the “Kokumin," one of the leading greatest achievement of Mr. Niishima. metropolitan dailies in Tokio to-day, is He made his countrymen fall in love with one of the Doshisha boys who has always the life of Jesus as Niishima himself lived carried the moral crest of the Nishima it out in the Kioto of the seventies. clan. At the death of Niishima he wrote: Niishima and his fellow-workers, nota
bly Professor J. D. Davis, upon whom Individually, we have lost him to whom Mr. Nüshima was wont to lean as upon we looked, as to a father and teacher, for
the very staff of life, gave Japan a new strength and light and love. . . . As a so- national ideal. No achievements of man ciety we have lost the leader of the cause
can be greater, more ambitious than this. of moral reformation in Japan. . . . An In this the missionaries succeeded. Here, elaborate eulogy, a magnificent funeral, a
then, is the great fruit of the Christian splendid monument-these would not please missions in Japan. him. Far better is it for us to do our daily When our foreign friends came to us duty, to help forward little by little, with
and told us to open up the country for inour whole heart and life, the moral regenera- ternational intercourse of all sorts, the tion of society, that our land may be the elders of the shogunate did not like it. home of men and women loving liberty, When Commodore Perry told us to open truth, charity, and God.
our country whether we wished to or no,
some of our forefathers lost their temper. I do not know whether the name of We have changed our mind a good deal Tokutomi lichiro is on the membership on that point. We look back upon the list of a Christian church, and it matters day when the black ships of the American little. I do not know whether Tokutomi navy got on the nerves of our old foreunderstood the Christian creed as Mr. fathers so dreadfully as the day of glorious Niishima did; this also matters not so fortune. And the thing which made us much. For it is true that many of the change our mind was the life lived among us by the gentlemen who came to us in the and work of just such men as Count name of Jesus, their laster.
Okuma have told on the life of the nation And for this reason: many of the mis- in a much more potent fashion than figsionaries who came to Japan in those early ures and adjectives know how to show. days were scholars long before they were The "Kokumin," the prominent Tokio missionaries, and they were MEN (and daily to which I have referred before, deall the capitals in the language can not voted almost two columns and a half to possibly do them justice) long before they the editorial comment on the “Semi-Cenwere scholars.
tennial Celebration" of the missionary Take Dr. Verbeck, Dr. Hepburn, work in Japan in its issue of October 5, Bishop Williams, Professor J. D. Davis,
1909. It said: Dr. S. R. Brown of Yokohama, Bishop Harris and the Rev. J. H. DeForest of
In this world there is nothing that is as Sendai, Professor Clark of Supporo Agri- big as the power of character. Especially is cultural College, Professor William Elliot
it so in religion. The propaganda of the Griffis of Fukui Gakko and the author of Jesuits of the Genki and Tensho Periods the "Mikado's Empire," and Captain
(1570–91) has not left even a shadow on Janes of Kumamoto Ei-gakko.
the Japan of to-day. But the life influences Perhaps this is not a long list. It
of the one great, brilliant star of the moveshould not be. Great men never did grow
ment, Francis Xavier, is still seen here and like weeds anywhere at any time. The
there like a mountain rill sparkling from wonder is that so many of the really great
under the heaps of dead leaves. I myself of earth should have found their way into
know [the editorial was evidently written the then almost unknown land of Nippon.
by Mr. Tokutomi himself] that the influAnd it was the Christlike life of these
ences of such men as Brown of Yokohama
and Janes of Kumamoto in the education of men, not their theology, which told so
our people . . . was by no means light. stupendously for the cause of the Christian missions in Japan.
On the fifth of October, 1909, in the Some missionaries can not understand city of Tokio, a number of Christians, and why the Christian speculative philosophy a number of those who were not, gathered and systematic theology are not as popular to celebrate the "Semi-Centennial of Prot- among the Japanese as the "stove-pipe estant Christianity in Japan.” Count hats" of the year-before-the-last season, Okuma was one of the many non-Chris- which are the chief features of all the tians present. As usual, what he said had social functions in Japan of the transition. a national and a world-wide significance: Some people think this is because the
Japanese do not have a speculative turn of I came in contact with and received great mind. They are wrong in that. We do impulses from some of the missionaries of that
not admire the patient work of the schoolearly period. Particularly from Dr. Verbeck.
men of the Dark Ages who tried to figure He was my teacher in English and history and
out how many angels could stand on the the Bible. I can never forget the great and point of a needle. Our reason for this is virtuous influence of the man. At that time entirely different, however, from that of a Dr. Verbeck could do but little direct evan- Wall Street man. We are not too busy, gelical work, but all his work was Christian. but we find the Occidental speculative phiIn everything he did his Christlike spirit was
losophy too tame and colorless. Compared revealed. ... Only by the coming of the West
to the depth of the Hindu philosophy, it in its missionary representatives and by the spread looks like a “tea-pot tempest.”. Compared of the Gospel did the nation enter upon world
with the Hanayana Sutras, the transcenwide thoughts and world-wide work.
dental idealism of Bishop Berkeley sounds
like a lot of nursery rhyme. That is the Here, then, is Count Okuma's answer real reason why the Japanese do not rave to the question, What is the greatest fruit over the profundity of Christian thought. of the Christian missionary work in Japan? Also there are people who say that the Count Okuma is not a professing Chris- Japanese nature is essentially non-relitian or a member of a Christian church. gious. That our attitude toward all the There are others like him. And the life gods and all things religious is “politeness toward possibilities.” Anybody can bor forever famous in history, for it is see that that is wrong, -anybody who has the place from which thousands of the read the story of the Christian persecution native converts were thrown into the sea. in Japan and heard of the men and women Oh, yes, the Japanese nature is highly who marked the blood-trail and charred religious. Both in the number of shrines trail (for there were many native converts and of gods, we beat the Athenians upon who preferred to be burned at the stake whom we have St. Paul's pronouncement. rather than renounce their faith in Jesus Christian missionary work did not deepen Christ, their Saviour) which led to the the religious nature of the people, but it horrible struggle of Shimabara and which gave a new star to which it might aspiremade Pappenberg Rock in Nagasaki Har- the life and character of Jesus.
COMMENT ON THE FOREGOING PAPER
BY WILLIAM ELLIOT GRIFFIS
Mode Duimness to the Japanese mind communicants
R. ADACHI KINNOSUKE bears the catchpole and jailer for the native
of forty years ago and that of to-day con- In the new hope kindled and new nacerning Jesus. Living in the far interior tional outlook given, as Count Okuma of feudal Japan, in 1871 I found the acknowledges, through the teachings of anti-Christian edicts everywhere in evi- the American missionaries, other bands dence. The very name of “Yaso" made beside that of Kumamoto (of 1874) went a peasant's face blanch. Inquisition into forth as torch-bearers. The pupils of Dr. family life was rigid. "On the true faith S. R. Brown in religion, journalism, and of a samurai," every householder must re- literature, and of Dr. J. C. Hepburn in port annually that no kinsman or servant science, healing, and diplomacy (1858– of his was of "the accursed sect called 76), took notable part in the making of Christian." The ban lay also on the the new Japan. Yet, however important graveyard, controlled by Buddhist priests, the forces of intellect, these, after all, and it was not until constitutional times form only part of the potency of national (1889) that a Christian could be buried renascence. Even Christianity has many as such. In old Japan tradition and cus- forms, some more disturbing and yet retom made law, since no code for the com- constructive than others. No view of the mon people was known until 1880. To potentially Christian Japan can overlook us, in 1870, it was an awful revelation of what the churches of the Roman and the depths of tradition that even the gov- Greek order have accomplished. Enterernment of Meiji (enlightened civiliza- ing after the Townsend Harris treaty of tion) was republishing the ancient ban of 1858, the Roman Catholics had the ad1614, intimating that Christianity was vantage of continuity of tradition and lathe black art and Jesus a devil of some bor as well as the obstacle of prejudice to sort. Deaf to all foreign pleas and warn- confront them. Quietly and with little ings, they tore from their home four thou- observation, and not antagonizing the sand peasants holding to the ancestral government administration, as in China, “Yaso" faith and imprisoned them in the Roman Catholics in Japan have minmountain craters and other isolated places. istered most effectively to the bodies and In 1871, in Echizen, I saw one party of souls of the humbler classes. As for the these, men, women, children, and infants, work of the Russian priest Nicolai, dating dressed in the criminal robes of red, roped from 1860, it is scarcely less wonderful together by their wrists, and marched un- than that done by a primitive apostle, his der guard northward. In the first Chris- effort being to establish a truly Japanese tian church formed at Yokohama, in 1872, church, of the Greek Catholic order, yet I was present, expecting every moment introducing no foreign element, and chang