to debate great moral and religious issues. In spite of this literary activity, the first complete translation of the New Testament did not appear until 1910.
The advent of Protestantism: 185 9-1910 The first phase of Protestant missions in Japan began with the arrival of a small cohort of missionaries from North America in 1859, including Dr James C. Hepburn of the Northern Presbyterian Church and the Rev. Guido F. Verbeck of the Dutch Reformed Church. Over the next decade, a continuing trickle of missionaries from various North American missionary societies augmented the missionary presence. Until the revocation in 1873 of the anti-Christian edicts from the Tokugawa era, these men and women worked largely in areas of educational and medical mission and not in direct evangelistic activities. Verbeck, in particular, gained such a significant reputation as an educator that in 1870 the new Meiji government asked him to establish a tertiary educational institution which eventually became Tokyo Imperial University. However, actual Christian conversion was slow until 1872. From 1859 to 1872, missionaries baptised only ten people, but following the revocation of the anti-Christian edicts this situation changed dramatically.
The Annual Week of Prayer held in January 1872 may be taken to be the starting point of the growth of Japanese Protestantism. Japanese participants evinced a religious fervour which became more pronounced throughout this decade. In September of the same year, Protestant missionaries held a convention at which two important decisions were taken, to create a New Testament Translation Committee, and to work towards creating a unified church of Christ in Japan. Both of these decisions reflected the high degree of ecumenicity amongst the early missionaries. A great increase in adherence to Protestantism took place from this decade until the 1890s, significantly amongst the dispossessed samurai or warrior class. Although a small percentage of the national population, by the early 1890s they constituted about 40 per cent or more of Protestant Christians. Young samurai, often progressive in their outlook and key in their leadership of the church, are comparable to the progressive yangban elite in Korea who provided the leadership for both the early Catholic and Protestant churches there. The most remarkable feature of the Japanese Protestants of the 1870s is the formation of bands of young men, students of a missionary educator, who dedicated themselves to Christ, such as the Yokohama Band (1872), the Kumamoto Band (1876), the Sapporo Band (1876) and others. From these bands came the generation of Japanese church leadership which began to make itself felt from the 1880s. The Kumamoto Band in particular was instrumental in sustaining Doshisa University and its
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