Beyond Pacifism: Determining the Legacy of Uchimura Kanz
Uchimura Kanzo was born into a samurai family in 1861. He grew to adulthood during the Meiji Restoration, a season of monumental changes within Japan. His life reflected significant transformations: from samurai s son to Christian, from idealistic supporter to fierce critic of America, from a believer in Japan s self-described mission to China to a pacifist. His life as a respected teacher, prolific writer, and social critic is a vivid portrayal of the conflicts encountered by Japanese intellectuals wrestling with the major issues of their day, placing Uchimura among a cadre of gifted intellectuals who wrote of their reactions to the changes affecting their nation. As a member of this cohort, Uchimura has garnered much attention from scholars and social critics. Their interpretations vary widely. Some consider him irrelevant; others consider him a prophet for post-war Japan. This disparity drives the question, What, exactly, is Uchimura s legacy to Japan? It is the purpose of this work to discover Uchimura s intellectual heritage to modern Japan, seeking to ascertain his effect upon other Japanese, and the degree to which a mantle of Uchimura can be identified.