The Many Meanings of Iconoclasm: Warrior and Christian Temple-Shrine Destruction in Late Sixteenth Century Japan

  title={The Many Meanings of Iconoclasm: Warrior and Christian Temple-Shrine Destruction in Late Sixteenth Century Japan},
  author={Alan Strathern},
  journal={Journal of Early Modern History},
  • A. Strathern
  • Published 18 November 2020
  • History
  • Journal of Early Modern History
The conversion of certain warlords in Kyushu, Japan, (1560–1580 CE) represents one of the most important breakthroughs for Christianity in the early modern world, and it was accompanied by striking acts of destruction of the local sacred sites and objects. Yet shrine and temple destruction had already become a relatively commonplace feature of warfare in this period of internecine struggle, exemplified by the activities of Oda Nobunaga. How was the iconoclasm of Christian converts interpreted… 
1 Citations

Immanent Power and Empirical Religiosity: Conversion of the Daimyo of Kyushu, 1560–1580

  • A. Strathern
  • Sociology
    Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
  • 2020
The baptisms of the lords of the Ōmura, Arima, and Ōtomo families formed the breakthrough for Christianity in Kyushu. These conversions are analyzed here in light of the relevance of “empirical



The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga

Shincho-Ko ki, the work translated here into English under the title "The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga," is the most important source on the career of one of the best known figures in all of Japanese

João Rodrigues's account of sixteenth-century Japan

Contents: Introduction Preface to the reader Book I: A general description of Asia and the islands of this oriental sea Description, position, and various names ot the islands of Japan in general The

Mayo points out that we cannot know how much input the shrine priests and his secretary had in phrasing the petition. Compare also with a vow at the shrine by one of Ōtomo Sōrin's vassals: Mayo

  • I am grateful to Christopher M. Mayo for discussions about Hachiman and other matters, and the following quotations come from Mayo 2013 using Ōuchi Yoshitaka

This translation is by Xia-Kang Ziyi, drawing on the helpful translation and commentary in Mayo


Cartas ff. 425r-v; also Ward, Women Religious Leaders

    The Ōtomo and Competition in the Ritual Marketplace

    • Ōuchi to Ōtomo: Chūsei Nishi Nihon no nidai daimyō 大内と大友 中世西日本の二大大名 [The Ōuchi and Ōtomo: Two major lords of western Japan during the Medieval Period

    As nearly as we can tell, most members of the Honganji sect understood the theology to mean that no gods (kami) or buddhas other than Amida had any real power over them

    • The Religious Traditions of Japan, 424. 128
    • 2010

    On signs that generals might regret their behavior of temple destruction and worry about the divine response to temple destruction, see Conlan, State of War

    • The Samurai and the Sacred
    • 2006

    Also see Francisco Cabral's intriguing report of a conversation with a Japanese nobleman on the decline of Buddhist law

    • Note the reference in a 1562 shrine vow by Otomo vassals, ZTHOS