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Title: Sacred space and ritual in early modern Japan : the Christian community of Nagasaki (1569-1643)
Author: Tronu, Carla
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis argues that the production of sacred space and ritual is crucial to understanding the formation of Christian communities in early modern Japan. An analysis of the production of churches in Japan (chapter 1) lays the ground for a thorough exploration of the particular case of the Christian community of Nagasaki from 1569 to 1643 in the following chapters, I first address how Christians were involved in the foundation and design of the port and town, with a church as its symbolic centre (chapter 2), and the consequences for the Christian community when the administration rights over Nagasaki were donated to the Jesuits in 1580 (chapter 3). A decade of significant instability began in 1587, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the unifier of Japan, appropriated the town and issued a decree expelling the foreign missionaries, followed by an order in 1597 to close the Christian churches and to execute the recently-arrived Mendicant missionaries in Nagasaki (chapter 4). A golden decade began in 1601. After the bishop of Japan established his see in Nagasaki, the city became the centre of Japanese Christianity (chapter 5). Most significantly, the Catholic parish system was implemented, with the support of lay confraternities, between 1606 and 1612 (chapter 6) and, despite some internal rivalries (chapter 7), Nagasaki functioned as a 'Christian town' until 1614, when the Tokugawa government banned Christianity from Japan. The production of new spaces and rituals played a key role in both the de-Christianization of Nagasaki by the Japanese authorities and the formation of underground Christian communities, which produced and preserved secret Christian spaces and rituals until the prohibition of Christianity was abolished in 1873 (chapter 8).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral