Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Self-realization of the Japanese Orthodox Church, 1912-1956
Authors: Kharin, Ilya N.
Advisors: Kotkin, Stephen
Garon, Sheldon
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Christianity
Orthodox Church
Subjects: Religious history
Asian history
World history
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: During Japan's Meiji period (1868 - 1912) of rapid Westernization, the propagation of Orthodox Christianity enjoyed remarkable success in Japan, outstripping the concomitant growth of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in terms of missionary-to-convert ratio. The pattern and accomplishments of this outstanding modern mission of the Orthodox Church have attracted many researchers. However, few inquirers questioned the identity of the new "Japanese Orthodox Church" - a group which emerged as a result of this mission and took shape in the period of relative isolation from other Orthodox Christian centers, between 1912 and 1956. Yet, this group's identity is significant in at least three major historiographical contexts. It defies the current typologies of "foreign" (Protestant) and "native" (new religion) Japanese Christianity. It presents a unique instance of an irreducibly Russo-Japanese community which survived the ostensibly conflict-dominated tumultuous period of Russo-Japanese relations in the era of the World Wars. It starkly reveals the process whereby a new local Orthodox Church emerged in a time when most other missionary initiatives in the worldwide Orthodox communion disintegrated. To discern the dynamic of collective identity change, this work investigates the tension between the formal self-definition of the Japanese Orthodox Church and the practical institutional enactment of that identity. One focus of such tension was the issue of "apostolicity," centered on the institution of the bishop and the internal ordering of the group. Another contested parameter was "catholicity," a quality which problematized the group's boundaries by proclaiming universal reach. The study of the evolving practice of "apostolicity" and "catholicity" shows that the Japanese religious community in question has undergone a process of corporate self-realization as an Orthodox Church. Japanese Orthodox believers began their self-realization by unwittingly undercutting those central institutional arrangements which structurally defined their "Orthodoxy." When these institutional fixtures crumbled during the crisis precipitated by the pressures of World War II, Japanese Orthodox believers were jolted into a consciousness that their "Orthodoxy" was thereby impaired and raced to reestablish those very fixtures they had previously dismantled. Embedded in distinctive Church-state, Russo-Japanese, and international contexts, this is a study of a broadly applicable process of corporate self-realization.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Kharin_princeton_0181D_10061.pdf7.22 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.