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In Session: Christianity in Korea Beyond the Korean Nation-State
2: Loving your Neighbor Across the Sea: The Reception of the Work of Nagai Takashi in the Republic of Korea
Friday, March 26, 2021
8:30am – 10:00am EDT
Lander University, United States
Nagai Takashi’s desire to make sense of the suffering caused by the horrors of war led him to write books that, while suffused with his Catholic worldview, sought to help his readers regardless of religion. Two of his works, “The Bells of Nagasaki” and “We of Nagasaki” were translated into English, with an Australian Catholic priest named Paul Glynn publishing a biography about Nagai. In contrast, about three times as many of his works have been translated into Korean. For instance, TowardsEternity was translated by Yi Seung-u and published in Korean in 1964 when the two countries had still not normalized diplomatic relations. In his preface, Yi focused on Nagai’s Catholic faith as a way of not only overcoming suffering, but of bringing unity and harmony between Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. Such hope for regional reconciliation have been institutionalized in the Daegu Archdiocese, which, through the “Korean Love Your Neighbor Association,” holds an annual essay contest for high school students based on Nagai’s works. Blurring religious as well as ethnic boundaries, Protestant Kim Sunghoe, in her afterword to her translation of Glynn’s biography, stressed the importance of Catholics and Protestants working together to help positively transform the world. Thus, through a study of Korean translations of Nagai’s work, their reception, and the activities of the Korean “Love Your Neighbor Association,” this presentation will critically examine how Korean Catholics and Protestants have sought to utilize the life and work of Nagai Takashi to further regional and religious harmony and reconciliation.