Book Talk with Michel Mohr "Unitarianism in Japan: Unravelling Its Saga through the UUA Archives"

September 28, 2018

Book Talk - Sept. 28th, 1-3 in Rabinowitz Room

Friday, September 28, 2018 | 1 p.m. 

Rabinowitz Room, Andover-Harvard Theological Library 

  The story of the Unitarian mission to Japan started in the late 19th century, when representatives of the American Unitarian Association were invited by one of the leading intellectuals of the time, Fukuzawa Yukichi. This presence on Japanese soil led to an enthusiastic reception from the elite—to the point of becoming a fad—as large segments of the population were dreaming of making Japan the first cosmopolitan nation of Asia.    

By 1923, the popularity of the Unitarian approach decreased to the point of forcing the mission to withdraw from Japan. The disappearance of liberal Christianity, unsurprisingly, coincided with the rise of nationalism.   This talk will provide an overview of the rarely told story of Unitarianism in Japan, highlighting the value of the Special Collections at Andover-Harvard Theological Library, which provide a unique set of primary sources depicting the intellectual and religious history of Japan between 1887 and 1923.  

 Michel Mohr, Professor of Religion, University of Hawaii 

Author of Buddhism, Unitarianism, and the Meiji Competition for Universality.  

Q&A with the author; light refreshments.