The D{macr}oshisha, 1875-1919: the indigenization of an institution
By: Paul Val Griesy
Published: 1973
Uploaded: 10/19/2006
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Christians, Japan

Paul Val Griesy
The question of the indigenization of Christian institutions on the mission field has been one which has increasingly occupied the attention of Christians since the end of World War II. Although American Protestant missionaries have been at work abroad since the early years of the nineteenth century, this concern has only recently assumed urgency. As a spirit of nationalism rises in developing nations there is a concomitant desire to either rid themselves completely of the vestiges of Western culture or to so transform those modes and institutions that they are divested of their foreignness. The Church and Christian institutions in developing nations, because they are often evident examples of Western "cultural imperialism," are frequently the object of anti-foreign and chauvinistic reactions.
Japan, entering into a period of modernization just over a century ago, experienced a course of events similar to that now occurring in the developing nations. Christian missions from the beginning of Japan's modernization contributed to the Westernization of the nation through the establishment of churches and various educational and eleemosynary institutions. When an anti-foreign reaction to the indiscriminate acceptance of foreign modes and institutions occurred, Christian missions were forced to restudy their aims and methods and find ways of indigenizing not only the institutions, but Christian thought as well.
The Doshisha, being one of the earliest and most influential Christian educational institutions in Japan, and an institution founded, staffed, and funded in its early years largely by American Congregationalists, became the focal point of a movement to achieve self-governance and self-support. During the years from 1875 to 1919, the Doshisha moved gradually toward autonomy while confronting various elements which sought to retard this movement or alter its course. Missionaries working within the institution were not always, as might be assumed, antagonistic to the aspirations of their Japanese colleagues. Although there were occasional strident reactions from the Mission there was a strong and consistent effort on the part of many missionaries to foster the process and find means to aid in its realization.
This study records in as detailed a manner as possible, through the use of the correspondence and articles of the missionaries themselves, the thinking of Japanese Christian leaders, and the record of events within the institution, the process whereby the Doshisha evolved into an indigenous institution while successfully preserving the cooperation and devotion of its foreign benefactors. Because of the character of the primary source material the major emphasis is on the missionaries and their view of the Doshisha. The opinions and concerns of the Japanese Christian leaders are, for the most part, based on the interpretations given by the missionaries, although where Japanese sources are available these are utilized. Additional influences which hastened the process of indigenization came from Japanese society and government. This study also traces these processes within the wider context of the society, drawing particular attention to those that impinged upon the Doshisha and the Church.
The rationale for this study is the realization that in many mission fields there remains even today a great weakness in the initiative toward developing truly indigenous churches and Christian institutions. The lessons that the history of the indigenization of the Doshisha can teach may aid in convincing missionaries and their native brethren of the obvious and urgent duty to support and foster movements which will eventuate in the indigenization of the Church and Christian institutions elsewhere.

Sponsor: Chang-tu Hu
Dissertation Committee: Francis Shoemaker
Degree: Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University