Meeting Again at Yasukuni by Ayako Sono (1)

I was brought up in an educational institution run by Catholic nuns since I was a kindergarten pupil, so I wasn’t saddened by the opposition between Catholicism and the militarism despite the climate of the militaristic educational system during the war.
With hindsight, that was very fortunate. I also remember that the school didn’t feel pressured to provide militaristic education by the government and the military authorities. The then Ministry of Education didn’t suppress religious education.
It’s no difficult to explain from a Christian’s point of view why monotheistic culture and polytheistic culture, which seem to be in conflict, are, in fact, not at all. Moreover, this matter involves the spirit of the Bible and the essence of Christianity. St. Paul, who established the early church, wrote thirteen letters calling for Christian harmony to the early Christians in various places, who were from human weakness always in conflicts. The spirit of the letters is fully expressed in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23: “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you”.
What is written here isn’t that you should sell your soul and play up to others in order to increase the number of believers. The society at that time was the place of the confrontation between the Jews, who were glued to the faith of their religion, and the believers of the newborn Christianity, who got the notion of the new faith called Christianity and who were destined to preach the Gospel surrounded by members of other religions.
In such situation, you should not be stubborn or unwilling to forgive others. St. Paul insisted that Christians should always delight in others’ happiness and grieve at others’ misfortune.
As far as I know, Shintoism in Japan and Catholicism were flexible. That’s why it was possible for us, as Japanese people, to lead our Christian lives naturally and freely and also visit shrines at the same time.