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

Description

448 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
$54.95
ISBN 0-88920-294-X
DDC 266'.00952'09

Year

1999

Contributor

Reviewed by A.J. Pell

A.J. Pell is rector of Christ Church in Hope, B.C., and a lecturer in
the Anglican Studies Programme at Regent College in Vancouver.

Review

The Cross in the Dark Valley continues the story begun in A. Hamish
Ion’s 1990 book, The Cross and the Rising Sun: The Canadian Protestant
Missionary Movement in the Japanese Empire, 1872–1931. Although
forgotten today, this Canadian missionary work was significant, with
over 450 missionaries serving in Japan and such imperial outposts as
Korea and Taiwan; in 1936, the Canadian ambassador claimed that these
missionaries were “numerically a majority of all the foreign
missionary work.” The missionaries brought Christian faith to the
Japanese territories and were the channels through which many ordinary
Canadians and Japanese came to know about their respective countries.

Making judicious use of archival material in Canada and Japan, Ion
traces the work of the Canadian missionaries through a tumultuous period
in Japan’s history, from the Manchurian incident to complete surrender
at the end of World War II. He makes clear the full scope of Canadian
mission activities and the Canadians’ relationship with emerging
indigenous Christian leaders and structures, especially in Japan and
Korea. Of particular interest is the chapter on enforced attendance at
Shinto shrines, a patriotic act for most Japanese and the worship of
false deities for many (but not all) Christians. More than any other
issue, this act illustrates the single-minded determination of the
imperial government to create a unifying ethos in its growing empire and
the way in which this determination undermined many of the “foreign”
Christian educational institutions. This volume is an important
contribution to the history of Canadian missionary work.

Citation

Ion, A. Hamish., “The Cross in the Dark Valley: The Canadian Protestant Missionary Movement in the Japanese Empire, 1931-1945,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/100.