Yoshimitsu, benedict, endo: Guilt, shame and the post-war idea of Japan

Adrian Pinnington*


研究成果: Article査読

10 被引用数 (Scopus)


The idea that Japan is a ’shame culture' and that the Japanese have a weak sense of sin has been an influential one, both in Japan and abroad. It has also often influenced attitudes towards Japan’s behaviour in World War II. This idea, however, has its roots in the Japanese critique of pre-war ideology after World War II and in the Japanese reception of Ruth Benedict’s The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. In various forms, the idea also became an important element of Nihonbunkaron, those theories of Japanese culture which have been so popular in post-war Japan. The same idea was also given a powerful and influential expression in the novels of End l Sh ˆ saku (1923-96). Earlier Christian theologians in Japan, such as Yoshimitsu Yoshihiko (1904-45), had often seen traditional Japanese culture as closer to Christianity than modern European culture. To such thinkers, Japan’s war with Britain and America was in part a war on modernity itself. By contrast, End l accepted the post-war belief that Japan was a shame culture, distant from European Christianity. As his career proceeded, however, he came to take a more positive view of the 'weak' Japanese self. In this sense, his work closely parallels the development of Nihonbunkaron itself. Paradoxically, however, End l ’s 'Japanese' reinterpretation of Christianity proved highly popular not only in Japan but also abroad, raising the possibility that it was less exclusively Japanese than his work suggested.

ジャーナルJapan Forum
出版ステータスPublished - 2001 4月

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • カルチュラル スタディーズ
  • 履歴
  • 社会学および政治科学


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