Translations of Christian Terminology into Japanese 16–19th Centuries: Problems and Solutions
It is a well-known fact that the discovery1 and subsequent study of the Japanese language by Westerners began with Francis Xavier’s setting foot on Japanese soil in 1549 in order to preach the gospel, a few years after Portuguese traders were shipwrecked there. Xavier’s two-year stay in the country led to a concentrated attempt by the Jesuits, and later Spanish Franciscans, to convert the Japanese to Christianity. Hugely successful (converts are said to have amounted to some 300 000 around the end of the sixteenth century), this was cut short after about 65 years when the Tokugawa government proscribed Christianity in 1614, closed the country in 1639, and eventually eradicated the religion by about 1643, just short of a hundred years after its introduction.
KeywordsJapanese Language Chinese Translation Christian Doctrine Japanese Translation Original Spelling
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