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Suzuki, Satona (2000) Japanese Buddhist Missionary Activities in Korea, 1877-1910. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis assesses two major dimensions of modern Japanese Buddhist history. It first examines the contribution made by Meiji Buddhists to Japanese imperialism through their missionary activities in Korea. According to a small number of scholars (both Japanese and Korean), Buddhist missionaries of the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries were the "vanguards" of Japanese imperialism: the government sent Buddhist missionaries specifically to "invade" Korea through religious means. Moreover, scholars seem to take it for granted that those missionary activities never developed or evolved over time, but remained the same throughout the period. In this thesis, however, an attempt has been made to re-evaluate this issue-the motivations, the processes and the procedures of the Korea missions carried out by Japanese Buddhists and their relationship with the Japanese and the Korean authorities- by applying different approaches and methods. Most importantly, the period before the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910 is studied in this thesis, as the annexation of 1910 seems to have been a turning point in the impact Japanese missionaries made in Korea as well as on Japanese policy-making. Moreover, hitherto untapped materials both in Japanese and in Korean have been used to study the issues concerned. The second dimension examined by this thesis is the extent to which Japanese Buddhism influenced Korean Buddhism. To this end, the interaction between Japanese Buddhist missionaries and Korean monks is investigated. The Korean response to those missionary activities as well as the modernisation of Korean Buddhist education, which started just before 1910, is discussed. The ultimate aim of this thesis is to analyse how Meiji Buddhists reacted to international and domestic changes in the late nineteenth century. As this involves their re-assimilation to the new and diverse phenomenon of imperialism, this study throws new light on Japanese imperialism from a religious perspective.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies
Departments and Subunits > Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
Supervisors Name: Martina Deuchler and Tim Barrett
Copyright Statement: Copyright: Satona Suzuki
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2022 15:36

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