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Japan Documents Handbook titles

This series focuses on the broad field of Japanese Studies, aimed at the worldwide English language scholarly market, published in Tokyo in English. Each Handbook will contain an average of 20 newly written contributions on various aspects of the topic, which together comprise an up-to-date survey of use to scholars and students. The focus is on Humanities and Social Sciences.

Handbook of Japanese Christian Writers (Edited by Mark Williams, Van C. Gessel, and Yamane Michihiro)

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September 2022 

384p. Hardback

ISBN: 978-4-909286-10-9

¥28,875 (tax included)

Although a century and a half of Christian proselytizing has only led to the conversion of about one percent of the Japanese population, the proportion of writers who have either been baptized or significantly influenced in their work by Christian teachings is much higher. The seventeen authors examined in this volume have all employed themes and imagery in their writings influenced by Christian teachings. Those writing between the 1880s and the start of World War II were largely drawn to the Protestant emphasis on individual freedom, though many of them eventually rejected sectarian affiliation. Since 1945, on the other hand, Catholicism has produced a number of religiously committed authors, led by figures such as Endō Shūsaku, the most popular and influential Christian writer in Japan to date.  The authors discussed in these essays have contributed in a variety of ways to the indigenization of the imported religion.



Michael Brownstein,  University of Notre Dame;  Kevin M. Doak, Georgetown University; Philip Gabriel, University of Arizona; Van C. Gessel, Professor Emeritus, Brigham Young University; Anthony HaynesIrina Holca, University of Tokyo;

Imai Mari, Literary critic; Miyasaka Satoru, Professor Emeritus, Ferris Unniversity; 

Leith Morton, Professor Emeritus, Tokyo Institute of Technology; Nagahama Takuma, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies; Ryota Sakurai, PhD student, International Christian University; Sekino Miho, Toho Junior and Senior High School; 

Massimiliano Tomasi, Western Washington University; Mark Williams, International Christian University; Yamane Ibuki, PhD candidate, the University of Tokyo;

Yamane Michihiro, Notre Dame Seishin Women’s University


Mark Williams, Van C. Gessel, and Yamane Michihiro

Mark Williams is Vice President at International Christian University in Tokyo. Until 2017, he was Professor of Japanese Studies and Chair of the School of Modern Languages at the University of Leeds, UK. He is the translator of two novels by Endō Shūsaku. In 2017, he received a Commendation from the Foreign Minister of Japan.


Van C. Gessel is Professor Emeritus of Japanese at Brigham Young University. He has translated eight literary works by Endō Shūsaku. He was literary consultant for Martin Scorsese during the production of the film adaptation of Endō’s Chinmoku (Silence). In 2018 he was inducted into the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese emperor.

Yamane Michihiro is Professor at Notre Dame Seishin Women’s University. He has published widely on Endō Shūsaku, Yagi Jūkichi, Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, Miyazawa Kenji, and others. He was closely involved in the publication of the 15-volume Collected Works of Endō Shūsaku and was in charge of editing the 11-volume Selected Works of Inoue Yōji

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