Parallel Lives, Congenial Visions

Christian Precursors of Modernity in China and Japan

This book introduces the history of cultural exchanges between East Asia and the West through comparative biographical sketches of sixty personalities from China and Japan. These sketches illustrate how both countries, starting from a shared cultural heritage in script and Confucian, Buddhist, and Daoist worldviews, took rather different approaches in their encounters with the European world since the 16th to 17th centuries. In particular in the 19th century under external and internal pressure, both nations strove to modernize their societies by introducing technology and new ideas from the Western world, turning them into political rivals and even enemies. Thus, these biographical sketches also shed some light on the general dynamics of cross-cultural interactions between China, Japan, and the West up to the early 20th century.

The Chinese and Japanese men and women presented in this book are outstanding personalities who tried to open up the road to international relationships, pioneers in their respective domains who introduced Western culture to their nations, precursors who strove for modernization, e.g., in the fields of translation, education, medicine, media, and social welfare. They testify to individual agency in these cross-cultural exchanges. Many of those who tried to be “cultural bridge-builders” since the 16th century were Christians, simply because the missionaries, who worked hard to learn the native languages of China and Japan, were the first to introduce new cultural elements to these countries. The universal scope and vision of the Christian faith enabled both missionaries and native believers to overcome narrow nationalism or xenophobia and turned them into cross-cultural mediators.


Preface by He Guanghu
Preface by Muraoka Takamitsu
Preface by the Author


Chapter 1:
 The Trailblazers’ Guides: Anjirō and Zhong Mingren

Chapter 2:
 The First Translators of European Texts: Yohoken and Xu Ruohan

Chapter 3:
 Noble Promoters of Military Reforms: Ōtomo Sōrin and Xu Guangqi

Chapter 4:
 “Grace” and “Brilliance”: Hosokawa Garasha and Candida Xu

Chapter 5:
 Pioneers of Comparative Philosophy: Fukansai and Yang Tingyun

Chapter 6:
 The First Native Priests: Kimura and Luo Wenzao

Chapter 7:
 The First Travelers to Europe: Itō Mancio and Zheng Manuo

Chapter 8:
 Precursors of the Internationalization of the Script: Dourado and Wang Zheng

Chapter 9:
 The First Editors of Bilingual Dictionaries: Martin Hara and Huang Risheng

Chapter 10:
 The Earliest Celebrities in Europe: Hasekura Tsunenaga and Shen Fuzong

Chapter 11:
 Western Art in the East: Jacobus Niva (Ni Yagu) and You Wenhui

Chapter 12:
 Hope of the Suppressed: Amakusa Shirō and Wang Maria

Chapter 13:
 Interrogation of a Messenger from the West: Arai Hakuseki and Kangxi

Chapter 14:
 Early Students of Western Medicine: Gao Leisi, Yang Dewang, and Sugita Genpaku

Chapter 15:
 The First Teachers of Western Languages: Ogata Kōan and Xue Madou

Chapter 16:
 Organizers of Modern Media: Fukuzawa Yukichi and Ying Lianzhi

Chapter 17:
 Creators of Universities: Yan Yongjing and Niijima Jō

Chapter 18:
 Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists: Shibusawa Eiichi and Lu Bohong

Chapter 19:
 The First Female Physicians: Ogino Ginko and Jin Yamei

Chapter 20:
 Pioneers of Women’s Education: Tsuda Umeko and Zeng Baosun

Chapter 21:
 Faith on the Way to Inculturation: Uemura Masahisa and Zhao Zichen (T.C. Chao)

Chapter 22:
 Fathers of Constitutional Law: Ume Kenjirō and Wu Jingxiong

Chapter 23:
 Creators of an Image of the East: Nitobe Inazō and Gu Hongming

Chapter 24:
 Independent Prophets: Uchimura Kanzō and Wang Mingdao

Chapter 25:
 Pioneers in the Study of History: Saeki Yoshirō and Chen Yuan

Chapter 26:
 The First Students of Classical Hebrew: Kotsuji Setsuzō and Li Rongfang

Chapter 27:
 Indigenization of Christian Art: Chen Yuandu and Watanabe Sadao

Chapter 28:
 A Life for the Poor: Wu Yongbo and Kitahara Satoko

Conclusion: Two Nations on the Way to Modernity

Bibliography, Tables, Index


Collectanea Serica - New Series, No. 5

ISBN  978-1-032-62198-2 (HB)
ISBN  978-1-032-62331-3 (eBook)