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In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians


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About the Author

John Dougill has lived in Japan for over twenty years and is professor at a Buddhist university in the heart of Kyoto. He is an associate editor for Japanese Religions and co-author of a guide to Shinto Shrines. Educated at Leeds and Oxford Universities, he taught for three years in the Middle East before spending ten months traveling around the world. As well as following the path of early Christians around Kyushu, he has journeyed from Lake Baikal to Lake Biwa in search of Japan's shamanistic roots and traversed the country researching Japan's World Heritage Sites. Amongst his hobbies are chess, the GreenShinto blog, and bird-spotting on the Kamogawa River.


"Eloquently written, with surprises around every corner, Hidden Christians is an engaging read. Dougill's personal touch to the narrative makes the book lively and highly readable." --Amy Chavez, columnist, Japan Times
"In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians: A Story of Suppression, Secrecy and Survival is the best non-fiction work I've read in the past three years."
"The narrative is engaging, as Dougill's perspective is both instructive and playful. This is one of the best books out there about this subject of east meeting west." --San Francisco Book Review
"British-born professor Dougill, who teaches British studies in Kyoto, seems to embody the very culture clash that intrigues him. In this book, he peels back layers of Japanese culture as he explores the history of the Kakure Kirishitan (Hidden Christians). ... And even those who stumble over the Japanese terminology will understand the importance of a book detailing a dwindling subculture now fading into history." --Publishers Weekly
"The most original and beneficial contribution of this book is Dougill's narrative of his travels around southern Japan visiting historical sites. His travelogue offers glimpses of how modern Japanese address their country's Christian past, whether memorializing martyrdoms, exploiting a semi-foreign faith for tourism, or simply forgetting it was ever there. As for the Hidden Christians themselves, they are hard to find, having become sparse, elderly, and again hidden to evade bothersome journalists and anthropologists. In all, this is a historically sound, well-related introduction to a significant subject in Asian Christianity." --Catholic Library World
"A nonfiction work about devotion, the book is also a lively travelogue. And Dougill is a tireless journeyman and sleuth, going to wherever there is a story or lead. He tracks down descendants of hidden Christians on the island clusters of Amakusa, Goto and Ikitsuki, meets with curators, historians in Shimabara and Nagasaki, engages fisher folk in conversations about history." --Stephen Mansfield, columnist, Japan Times
"John Dougill's In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians is one of the most compelling and important books on Japan in recent years. The story of Japan's Hidden Christians is one of the least known and most interesting aspects of Japanese history, and Dougill brings the story to life brilliantly." --Chris Rowthorn, author of Lonely Planet Japan and Lonely Planet Kyoto
"This book is a moving and personal meditation on the history and present situation of Japan's Kakure Kirishitan. The combination of individual testimonies and reflections based on sound research paints a rounded and up-to-date picture of these remarkable communities." --Stephen Turnbull, author of Samurai Swordsman

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