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Uchimura Kanzō var japanskur kristinn hugsuður sem var uppi í kringum aldamótin 1900. Hann var af samúræjaættum, gekk í vestræna skóla og varð kristinn fyrir tilverknað skólameistara landbúnaðarháskólans í Sapporo. Hann ferðaðist ungur til Ameríku. Sú ferð breytti viðhorfum hans til Vesturlandabúa í raunsæisátt auk þess sem hún styrkti og skýrði trú hans. Að lokinni ferðinni reyndi hann með ýmsu móti að vinna að því markmiði sínu að gera Japönum Biblíuna skiljanlega, en hann taldi að Japan ætti eftir að gegna mikilvægu hlutverki í þróun siðmenningarinnar og kristinnar trúar. Hann gerðist kennari, síðar rithöfundur og loks blaðamaður áður en hann sneri sér að útgáfu Biblíuskýringatímarits.
Hugmyndafræði Uchimura snerist um tvö kjarnaatriði: Jesú Krist og kristna trú annars vegar, og Japan hins vegar. Guðfræði Uchimura var í meginatriðum venjubundin mótmælendakristni að því undanskildu að hann vildi boða japanska kristni, lausa við vestrænar stofnanir, litúrgíu og kennivald. Að baki þessu bjó róttæk sjálfstæðishyggja Uchimura sem m.a. gagnrýndi japanskar kirkjur fyrir að vera undir of sterkum áhrifum útlendra kristniboða. Þessi sjálfstæðishyggja varð til þess að Uchimura lenti oft uppá kant við kristniboðana, japanska kristna og japanskt samfélag í heild.
Markmið ritgerðarinnar er að greina það að hvaða marki vestrænir hugmyndastraumar, sér í lagi kristni, höfðu áhrif á Uchimura og hvernig hann samþættaði þá við austrænan samúræjabakgrunn sinn.
Uchimura Kanzō was a Japanese Christian thinker and social critic and one of the most important of the early Meiji Christians. He was from a samurai family and was ushered at birth into a world of social upheaval during which the samurai class was made obsolete. Like all Japanese individuals Uchimura had to find his place in a world filled with alien Western ideas and concepts as Japan raced towards modernization in order to catch up with Europe and America, economically and militarily. Of all the Western innovations that entered Japan during the Meiji period Christianity was most important to Uchimura. He was converted during his college days and, while the new religion brought its comforts and benefits, the alien faith created a dilemma for Uchimura of how to reconcile his adopted Western creed with his Oriental samurai background. On a few years journey in America, where he picked up a second bachelors degree, he came to a fuller understanding of his Christian faith which consummated his conversion experience, and gave him a firm sense of personal mission: He must bring the Word of God to Japan. He fumbled about during careers as a teacher, a writer, a journalist, before finally finding an optimal medium through which to propagate his vision: as a magazine publisher and Bible teacher. His bible study magazine, Seisho no Kenkyū (Biblical Studies) , gained Uchimura a sizable group of dedicated followers to whom he preached the words of the Gospel as he understood them, and most importantly, his mission of making the Bible at home in Japan. In order to fulfill this mission he felt Japan needed Christianity stripped of its Western institutions of clergy, liturgy and theology, and of the myriad of denominations that had sprung up in Western history. The result was mukyōkai-shugi, or the non-church principle, which would develop into the Mukyōkai movement. However, mukyōkai-shugi was simply a means to an end for Uchimura. His ultimate mission was to bring Japan to Christ and to help Japan fulfill what he felt was his destined role in history: to receive the mantle of Western progress, with Christianity as a cornerstone, and to take it further into Asia, in a refined form, ultimately for the benefit of the world. To set these goals in motion Japan would need strong independent Christian individuals, and these he sought to provide through his Bible teaching.
The aim of this thesis is to explore how, and to what extent, western ideas, Christianity in particular, affected Uchimura, and how these blended with his Oriental background.
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