Student Research Paper
Date of Creation
East Asian Studies
The Christian figure of the Virgin Mary, first introduced as Jesus’ mother in the Bible, has since been repeatedly reinterpreted in various roles and imagery through her incorporation into different cultures. This project analyses the historical adoption and adaptation of Mary among Christian converts in Japan, from the arrival of Jesuit missionaries in 1549 to the end of the Tokugawa era in the nineteenth century. An examination of doctrinal prayers, the rosary, and Marian iconography within Japan illustrates Mary’s role as the Mother of God and compassionate intercessor for early Japanese Christians. Moreover, their affinity for Mary enabled Christianity to endure centuries of religious oppression under the Tokugawa shogunate as the hidden believers accommodated Mary within preexisting Buddhist traditions and Japanese customs. In studying the primacy of Mary and her roles within Japanese Christianity, this research explains a main reason behind the religion’s survival in early modern Japan.
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Keller, Alaina, "Mother of God, Mother of Christianity: The Development of the Marian Tradition in Early Modern Japan" (2019). Student Publications. 719.