Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Cross in the Dark Valley: The Canadian Protestant Missionary Movement in the Japanese Empire, 1931-1945

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Cross in the Dark Valley: The Canadian Protestant Missionary Movement in the Japanese Empire, 1931-1945

Article excerpt

The Cross in the Dark Valley: The Canadian Protestant Missionary Movement in the Japanese Empire, 1931-1945. By A. Hamish Ion. (Walterloo, Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 1999. Pp. xvi, 428. $ 54.95.)

This book is a continuation and ultimately the third volume to Ion's previous publications, The Cross and the Rising Sun, Volumes 1 and 2 (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1990, 1993), which study the Canadian and British Protestant movements in the prewar Japanese Empire. This supplementary volume to the first, one which traces the Canadian Protestant missionary movement in the Japanese Empire, 1872-1931, investigates the last stage of the "missionary age" covering the history of Canadian Japanese international relations as well as Canada's relations with Japan's two major colonies, Korea and Taiwan, and with Japan's client state of Manchukuo,1931-1945.

This refined, academic study by far outshines Ion's previous studies. His acquisition of rare documents and oral histories in Japan as well as the extensive collection and utilization of Canadian and British materials provides the reader with a well-balanced historical overview of missionary work in Japan. Ion's fine point is that he focuses not only on the missionary movement from Canada, but the Japanese receptivity to Canadian missionary activities. Ion focuses extensively on the experiences of Canadian United Church missionaries in the Japanese Empire starting in 1931, including the missionaries' educational and medical works in addition to their evangelical and social works. Of particular importance were the missionary struggles with the Shrine question, the problems of church union in Japan, and the missionaries' attitudes on Japanese political developments from the Manchurian Incident to the Anglo-JapaneseAmerican War. As a scholar of the history of international relations, I find that this work certainly achieves its purpose-to investigate the Canadian Japanese informal international and personal relations, that is, the reciprocal influence of cultural interaction between Canada and Japan. …

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