American Catholic Missions to Japanese in the United States: Their Intersection of Religion, Cultures, Generations, Genders, and Politics, 1910 to 1970
This dissertation focuses on American Catholic missions to the Japanese in the United States during the early to mid twentieth century. Because this evangelization was one of the very first foreign missions by the U.S. Catholic Church, the thesis provides several unique findings such as some new aspects of the experience challenging the ideas shared among home missionaries in the United States, the role of Catholicism in enculturation of an ethnic minority group for whom Catholicism was not a majority faith, and the influence on Americanization by the service of a religious minority to an ethnic minority.This unique mission before and during World War II also tested the values of both of the missionaries and the Japanese. On the one hand, this historical setting forced all of the members of the mission society--the leaders, local missionaries, women religious and religious brothers to play unusual roles which were beyond their ordinary tasks. On the other hand, the patriarchal nature of the Japanese society was shaken in their encounter with Catholic missionaries who founded a bilingual school. Since this school also brought Catholic and non-Catholic Japanese together, both religious and national values which were new to those Japanese immigrants were introduced from children to parents and from women to men. It is also a history of community building and networking by Nisei, the second-generation Japanese Americans who graduated from those mission schools while receiving entire their education in the United States.The research for this dissertation was supported mainly with the documents housed in the archives of the dioceses and the mission societies which assisted those Japanese in the United States. In addition to the archival documents exchanged among the missionaries, the communication and newsletters written in English and Japanese addressed to/from those Japanese, Issei immigrants and Nisei citizens, revealed what they had thought and expected.Thus, this dissertation covers the history of Catholic missions to the Japanese in the United States from its beginning in 1912 to the virtual ending of the education for the Nisei' children in the 1970s. It also includes most of the regions where the mission was pursued.
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