Making Xavier’s Dream Real
Vernacular Writings of Catholic Missionaries in Modern Japan
Published Titles / Culture
Published by JPIC | Hardcover | ISBN 978-4-86658-134-7 | 232 pages | 210mm (h) x 148mm (w) | March 2020
About the Book
This book reveals how St. Francis Xavier’s (1506–1552) dream of evangelizing Japan has been realized by four Catholic missionaries: Aimé Villion (1843–1932), Sauveur Candau (1897–1955), Hermann Heuvers (1890–1977), and Georges Neyrand (1920–2011). All of them lived in Japan until death, and wrote and published widely in Japanese for the populace. Their writings are testimony to their endeavors to learn the language, understand the people, and enrich Japanese culture with Christianity.
This book re-examines Xavier’s proficiency in Japanese, investigates his influence on missionaries who followed his footsteps to Japan, and explores modern missionaries’ observations of Japan from their insider-outsider perspectives. Their works have fascinated millions of Japanese for their insightful interpretations of Japan and enlightening advice.
The literature penned by these missionaries not only enhances our understanding of the five-century long dialogue between Europe and Japan, but also enables us to recognize and appreciate the extremely important role that Christianity has played in shaping today’s Japanese culture.
About the Author
Professor Nanyan Guo (PhD) teaches at the Center for the Development of Global Leadership Education at the University of Tokyo. Born in Shanghai, she received both her MA and PhD degrees from Ochanomizu University (Tokyo), and taught for fifteen years at the University of Otago in New Zealand before returning to Japan to conduct research at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Kyoto) for ten years. She is a member of the Academy of Europe. Her research focuses on modern Japanese literature, Christianity in Japanese culture, and vernacular writings of Christian missionaries in East Asia. Her monographs include Zabieru no yume o tsumugu: Kindai senkyōshi-tachi no Nihongo bungaku (Heibonsha, 2018), Shiga Naoya de sekai bungaku o yomitoku (Sakuhinsha, 2016), and Refining Nature in Modern Japnanese Literature: The Life and Art of Shiga Naoya (Lexington Books, 2014). Among her recent edited volumes are Do Ro hanga no tabi: Yōroppa kara Shanhai ~ Nagasaki eno tabunkateki yūgō (Sōjusha Bijutsu Shuppan, 2019) and Kirishitan ga hiraita Nihongo bungaku: Tagengo tabunka kōryū no engen (Akashi Shoten, 2017).
"In an age where scholars at Western institutions sometimes view the history of Christian missions only with dismissive scepticism (writing, as they often do, from within an academic culture heavily influenced by European secularism), Guo adopts a refreshingly openminded perspective in her capacity as a multilingual, Chinese-born researcher currently based at The University of Tokyo. Indeed, the impressive range of evidence she assembles to demonstrate how Christianity was (to adopt her language) “absorbed into Japanese soil” invites us to rethink the all too common portrayal of Catholic missionaries “imposing” their religion onto an unwilling populace in countries outside the West in a favour of a more balanced and nuanced historiography."
Simon Hull, January 25, 2021
Original Japanese Edition / 原書情報
郭 南燕 著