奄美カトリック受容史の動態論 : 宗教言説の変容と民衆行動の力学 A Dynamic Theory of the History of Catholicism in Amami-Oshima : The Discourse on Religion, and the Dynamics of Public Action
In the modern age, Catholic missionaries in Amami-Oshima have experienced a dramatic change, from favorable acceptance to repression. Such a historical process has attracted the attention of many researchers because there is no precedent for this in Japan. However, because analysis until now has been based on the retrospective narratives of the local people, previous studies have not yet established a consistent framework that can explain the dynamics of this history. This paper discusses the issue from the point of view of the dominant discourse on "religions" in modern Japan. This method has been adopted for the following reasons. The dominant religious culture in Amami consists of folk beliefs such as ancestor worship and shamanism rather than established religions like Buddhism, so people were often treated as being "non-religious." This idea that people were "non-religious" is said to have been associated with social poverty, and local elites of the past positioned this issue as a political concern. Taking this background into account, if we analyze this question from the point of view of the transformation of religious discourse, the Catholic history of Amami can be understood as follows: First, at the time when Catholicism was favorably received, Christianity was considered a religion that was able to compensate for the "non-religious." Pressure from the political elite to improve the situation for the "non-religious" appealed to people's own sense of crisis. As a result of this linkage, the motivation of the people to receive Christianity grew stronger. However, the motivations of the elite, on the one hand, and the people, on the other, did not necessarily match, but this was hidden by the discourse of people being "non-religious." Second, due to the rise of nationalism, the political elite of the Showa period developed a negative attitude to improving the situation for the "non-religious" through the use of Catholic missionaries. At that time, the elite understood "religion" as a priori being part of human nature on the basis of a new discourse of religion. So the elite repositioned the issue of improving the "non-religious" as a process that should be accomplished by "reducing" them to their original nature, which was said in particular to be a return to the "Japanese spirit." Because this new discourse of religion conformed to the motivation of the people more than in the past, people quickly developed negative feelings toward Catholicism. From the above analysis, this paper concludes that the dynamic of the historical process of Catholicism in Amami can be described through the behavioral changes of the people, who reacted to the transformation in the discourse of "religion" in modern Japan.
宗教と社会 19(0), 49-63, 2013