Korean Christianity and the Shinto Shrine issue in the war period, 1931-1945 : a study of religion and politics
Philosophy; Religion; History; Political science; Public administration
Thesis or dissertation
- © 1989 Sung-Gun Kim. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
The main theme is the differences in response among the churches to the Shinto Shrine Issue in Korea under Japanese colonialism. The central focus is an inquiry into the possible reasons why some religious groups, including the Catholic and Methodist Churches, should choose the way of compromise, while others, such as the Presbyterian Church, represented by individual missionaries and the Non-Shrine Worship Movement and the Mount Zion Sect, chose the way of radical challenge and withdrawal. It is proposed in this study to concentrate on three major churches - the Roman Catholic, the Methodist and the Presbyterian.This study offers, firstly, a detailed analysis of the content of the debate, the attitudes and actions of the three churches towards the shrine problem in their historical evolution since 1931; secondly, an attempt is made to explain the different positions of the three churches in terms of the sociology of religion and the sociology of missions. The sociological consequences of religious experience provide a general framework. The main assumption is that the difference in ideological elements is more important in religious institutions than has been usually thought. In explaining the differences of position in the three churches, the following eight factors are proposed: (1) Theological emphasis; (2) Church structure; (3) World view; (4) Mission policy; (5) Relationship to nationalism; (6) Relationship to non-Christian religions; (7) Early historical experience; and (8) Nationalities of missionaries.The thesis is divided into two parts: (1) Part I (Chapters One to Three) reviews the theoretical and methodological literature relevant to the study of the Shinto Shrine Issue. It also surveys the introduction of the two principal forms of Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Protestantism) in Korea, and examines modern Japan, State Shinto and Christianity.(2) Part II (Chapters Four and Five) comprises a detailed analysis of the positions of the three Christian churches towards the shrine problem, and a systematic comparison of the different responses of the three churches by employing the above-mentioned eight factors.Three key factors are proposed in respect of the denominational division in the matter of the Shinto shrine question: theological emphasis, mission policy and church structure. Attention is also drawn to the historical discontinuity in motivation between the Non-Shrine Worship Movement by the fundamentalists and the recent political struggle for justice by the liberals. The legacy of the ordeal of the Shinto shrine controversy in the 1930s remains as an obstacle to the reconciliation between ultra-conservative theology and liberal 'minjung' theology. It is therefore demonstrated in this thesis that the particular form of religious outlook is a relevant factor in its own right, which is not to be reduced to other variables. Thus for the purpose of this study, the tools of Weber seem to prove more effective than do those of Marx.
- Department of Sociology, The University of Hull
- Forster, Peter Glover, 1944-
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- Hull University Scholarships Committee; University of Seowon
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