A Defense of Faith

scap and Japan’s Religious Rehabilitation in the Early Cold War

in Journal of American-East Asian Relations
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At the outset of the u.s. Occupation of Japan following the end of World War ii, the Truman administration charged General Douglas MacArthur, as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (scap), with the primary goals of demilitarizing and democratizing the defeated nation. MacArthur received broad authority and little oversight for his management of this project, which he in turn used to accomplish his mission as he saw fit. For his part, the general firmly held that the promotion of Christianity served the objectives of the u.s. occupation and larger Cold War aims. This essay demonstrates that MacArthur sought to use his power to make Christian proselytizing in Japan a critical part of his agenda. He repeatedly argued that a Christian-oriented Japan would keep communism from taking root in the nation and create a lasting, strong, and democratic u.s. ally in the Cold War in Asia. Religious conversion would make a significant contribution to achieving the overall goal of purging Japan of its militarism and antagonistic past and fashioning a friendly nation in the image of the United States.

A Defense of Faith

scap and Japan’s Religious Rehabilitation in the Early Cold War

in Journal of American-East Asian Relations

References

1

Edward T. Imparato (ed.)General MacArthur Speeches and Reports 1908–1964 (New York: Turner Publishing2000) 136.

2

Kentaro Miyazaki“Roman Catholic Mission in Pre-Modern Japan,” in Handbook of Christianity in JapanMark R. Mullins ed. (Brill: Leiden2003) 7.

5

Andrew PrestonSword of the Spirit Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy (New York: A.A. Knopf2012).

7

William P. WoodardThe Allied Occupation of Japan 1945–1952 and Japanese Religions (Leiden: Brill1972).

8

Lawrence S. Wittner“MacArthur and the Missionaries: God and Man in Occupied Japan,” Pacific Historical Review 40 no. 1 (February 1971): 77–98.

10

George C. KenneyThe MacArthur I Know (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce1951) 137.

12

John DowerWays of Forgetting Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern World (New York: The New Press2012) 259–60.

13

Douglas MacArthurReminiscences (New York: McGraw-Hill1964) 310.

14

 Quoted in Wittner“MacArthur and the Missionaries” pp. 77–98.

15

DowerWays of Forgetting Ways of Remembering p. 62.

19

DowerWays of Forgetting Ways of Remembering p. 62.

24

WoodardThe Allied Occupation of Japan 1945–1952 and Japanese Religions pp. 240–41.

25

MacArthurReminiscences p. 281.

29

MacArthur“Statement to Tokyo Correspondent’s Club,” Nippon Times19 March 1947 folder 1 1947 ibid.

48

MacArthur to Trotter 2 June 1949.

51

Okazaki Masafumi“Chrysanthemum and Christianity: Education and Religion in Occupied Japan, 1945–1952,” Pacific Historical Review 79 no. 3 (August 2010): 395.

52

Wittner“MacArthur and the Missionaries: God and Man in Occupied Japan” p. 97.

53

Michael John Sherrill“Christian Churches in the Postwar Period,” in Handbook of Christianity in Japanp. 166.

54

Wittner“MacArthur and the Missionaries: God and Man in Occupied Japan” p. 97.

57

Masafumi“Chrysanthemum and Christianity” p. 394.

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