- 桃山学院大学キリスト教論集 (ISSN:0286973X)
- no.50, pp.113-138, 2015-03-23
Ayako Miura, the Christian novelist, once recalled that in her younger days, she was a militarist teacher. Indeed, the period of her youth spent as an elementary school teacher overlaps with Japan's wartime period. However, when Miura's autobiographical writings are analyzed in detail, it seems more accurate to say that she was not a militarist. This is because she did not consciously support militarism on the basis of sufficient knowledge or opinions about politics and the military during her days as a teacher; rather, she simply complied with and was swept along by the belligerent social atmosphere of the time. Miura's period as a "militarist" teacher can certainly be considered as a dark phase of her life. However, this does not mean that Miura's efforts within the education system of the wartime military state were either malicious or negligent. Conversely, at the time, she strove to accomplish her duties as a teacher in good faith, in the broad sense, with dedication, integrity, and sincerity. That in doing so she consequently became complicit to the evils of the war can only be termed as a lamentable paradox. Though Miura later became an outspoken opponent of war, this opposition was neither based on social scientific knowledge nor grounded in mere humanism; fundamentally, it developed as a result of her Christian faith. Through her wartime experience, Miura had become keenly aware of the fundamental weaknesses, miseries and follies of humanity as well as her own and, in her despair, turned to Christianity. In basing her opposition to war on her Christian faith, Miura failed to consider the classic quandary that religion may also be used to justify war. Nevertheless, her opposition to war is surely worthy of our attention even today.