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“A Missionary from the East to Western Pagans”: Kagawa Toyohiko’s 1936 U.S. Tour

From: Journal of World History
Volume 24, Number 3, September 2013
pp. 577-621 | 10.1353/jwh.2013.0071



The 1936 U.S. tour by Japanese Protestant evangelist and social reformer Kagawa Toyohiko shows that the Christian missionary enterprise did not go in only one direction. Leading American Protestants welcomed Kagawa’s aid in demonstrating Christianity’s relevance during the Great Depression, hoping that his identification with the poor and his strategy of building economic cooperatives would resonate in the United States. The author characterizes the tour’s organizers, including current and former American missionaries, as “critical internationalists,” whose interactions with the wider world convinced them that they needed to learn from others and that their own society needed to change.

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