Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 59-07, Section: A, page: 2399.
Adviser: Carol Gluck.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Columbia University, 1998.
"Fields of Faith: The Struggle of Niijima Jo" is a study of the life of Niijima Jo, the founder of Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. Niijima is known as an educator who grafted Christianity onto traditional samurai morality.
Niijima's early life in Japan corresponded to the period when the feudal order was in crisis. As a product of Confucianism, Niijima responded to the crisis by condemning the morality of the ruling class. Elijah C. Bridgman's History of the United States taught Niijima the connection between Christianity and Western civilization and led him to go to New England to study in 1865.
As demonstrated by its rich missionary tradition, New England kept the old Calvinist faith in its small towns. In Andover and Amherst, Niijima found his ideal image of a moral society as a result of his personal relationships with the Congregationalists and became convinced of the role of education in fostering social progress.
When Niijima returned to Japan in 1874, the feudal regime had been replaced by the centralized government. As a missionary of the American Board, Niijima undertook to establish a Christian school. In the early Doshisha, Niijima taught the superiority of the West and shaped the distinctiveness of the school by stressing the necessity of replacing the old morality with Christianity.
In spite of the opposition of both the American Board and the Japanese public, Niijima persevered and succeeded in establishing the institutional foundation of Doshisha. As the school prospered during the 1880s, his emphasis began to shift from evangelization to education for national development. By 1900, Doshisha no longer played a different role from other institutes of higher learning.
Niijima is an exemplar of Christians in many places who accommodated their faith to changing times. Although he was idealistic throughout his career, his educational enterprise obliged him to adopt his idealism to the particular circumstances of modern Japan. As a result, he did not succeed in bringing a new morality to society. In spite of his struggle, his career demonstrated the limits of his idealistic approach to education.
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