Engelbert Kaempfer, the Witch Hunt and Japan

Beatrice Bodart-Bailey

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


    The Japanese are not atheists, they have their own complex system of religion permitting various ardent forms of worship of the divine majesty. In the practice of virtue, in their devotion and purity of life, in their concern for their souls, atonement of sins and the desire for eternal bliss, the Japanese exceed the Christians wrote Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716) in his Amoenitates Exoticae of 1712. This is an amazing statement for the son of a protestant pastor born in the middle of the 17th century in a small provincial town of Westphalia, Germany. The statement, however, is characteristic of Kaempfers enlightened attitude towards non-Christian religions far beyond the norm of his age. This essay attempts to clarify the circumstances that made possible his enlightened attitude resulting in the above statement which even today does not find the support of all Christians.
    Original languageEnglish
    Specialist publicationOtsuma Journal of Comparative Culture
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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