Skip to main content

Today in Language: Francis Xavier

Francis Xavier, one of the first Jesuits and also one of the first missionaries in Japan, was born on April 7, 1506. The statue to the left, in a park in the southern city of Kagoshima, presents a Xavier with decidedly Asian features.

However good/bad Xavier may have been as a missionary and however biblical/unbiblical his theology may have been (and I know little about either), what interests me most is how he fared linguistically in his many countries of ministries.

I have not done much research into Xavier's ministry in Japan but have read that he struggled with the language, at least initially. It is commonly reported that Xavier called Japanese "the devil's language," though I am more than willing to be generous and assume that Xavier overcame that linguistically unintelligible, culturally myopic, and theologically indefensible notion. It is certainly true that many missionaries, in many countries around the world, learning various languages (including Japanese) struggle. But I don't think these languages have to be hard. In regard to Japanese, I often think [ALERT: unproven assertion] the difficulty comes from the fact that Japanese is so different in many respects from English, French, Spanish, Italian, etc., and not from the grammar which is really not that difficult.

Regardless of language difficulty, missionaries or anyone else going to another country should try their hardest to master the language. That is something I want to drive home to a team of university students my wife and I will be taking to Japan in the summer of 2012.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Movie Review: A Better Life - Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part review of A Better Life. The first part dealt more with the background issue of illegal immigration, whereas this part focuses more on the movie itself.

In the movie, neither the undocumented immigrants (representative of all the undocumented, but particularly those with upright motives) nor the police (representative of the legal system, including courts, prisons, and immigration) is entirely at fault. Both are stuck in an imperfect, human system.

The viewer is led to sympathize with the undocumented man, an honest landscaper who wants nothing but to work hard so that his one son can have a better life. He’s away from home; his wife left him when his son was little; he has next to nothing; when he does acquire something (a lawn business and pickup with equipment) it gets stolen from him. And yet, the movie does not excuse what he does wrong nor does it try to show him as a man victimized and ruined by the consequences of his actions.

Apart fr…

教会に影響を与えるために神様が用いる人々の九つの特徴

Read this in English.

これらの9つの特性は、アンドルーボナーから来る。説教でそれらを議論する私の牧師を聞きながら、コピーしたので、ボナーの何本から来たのは覚えていません。これらはクリスチャンに対してとても大事の本質ではないでしょうか。

教会に影響を与えるために神様が用いる人々は次の特徴がある...

1.まじめな人
2.成功を目標する人
3.信仰を持つ人
4.勤勉な人
5.忍耐強い人
6.大胆な人
7.祈る人
8.強力な教義の人
9.深くに清新な人

黒澤監督の『隠し砦の三悪人』

今週初めて黒澤明の『隠し砦の三悪人』という映画を見ました。この三悪人とは、だれですか? 三船敏郎が演じる真壁六郎太(まかべろくたろう)と二人の百姓です。この3人の登場人物の関係はとても面白くて、全ての人間の弱さも愛される性質も示します。

最後の場面で、二人の百姓、太平(千秋実)と又七(藤原釜足)、姫と真壁からもらった金1枚をどうやって分けるかと黙っていて、太平は又七に任そうとしていても又七は断ります。いつもケンカしているこの二人は、後で再びケンカしてしまうと思われますけれども、取りあえずまた仲良くなって幸いです。