Japan in the Letters of Protestant Missionaries in Korea (1880-1942) (70663)

Session Information: Symposium (Korean Studies)

Saturday, 20 May 2023 11:50
Session: Session 2
Room: Room 703
Presentation Type:Symposium Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

Previous studies on the relationship between Japan and missionaries in Korea mainly dealt with missionaries’ responses to Japanese policy toward Korean Christians and political events. For example, those studies focused on finding out what position missionaries in Korea took and how they responded to the 105-Man Incident, the March 1st Movement, and Shinto shrine worship. This study investigates 560 letters mentioning Japan among the letters sent by major missionaries in Korea from 1884 to 1942. These letters are part of a collection of 2750 letters from a total of 53 missionaries from eight denominations. This study shows missionaries’ diverse views on Japan, including (1) Japanese culture and civilization, (2) Japan’s international relations, (3) Japan’s rule of Korea, and (4) Japanese residents in Korea. This study does not completely deny the results of previous studies. Instead, this study will pay attention to the various voices of missionaries that have been overlooked in previous studies. It appears that missionaries in Korea have a much more complex perception of Japan. For example, contrary to previous research that suggests that missionaries from the Southern Presbyterian Church did not take a stance against Japanese rule of Korea before Japan forced Koreans to visit the Shinto shrine, the letters left by Eugene Bell and Cornelia Rankin show that anti-Japanese sentiment had already arisen even before the Japanese annexation of Korea. Therefore, the tendency to categorize missionaries as pro- or anti-Japanese should be revised as it does not reflect the complex views of missionaries.

Sung-On Kim, Yonsei University, South Korea

About the Presenter(s)
Dr Sung-On Kim is a University Assistant Professor/Lecturer at Yonsei University in South Korea

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00