Speaker: Simon Petrus Lili Thahjadi (President of Driyakara School of Philosophy in Indonesia
Title: Surviving the Dai Nippon: A History of the Catholic Church in Indonesia during the Japanese Occupation (based on his recent book)
Discussant: Mr. Kimura Koichi (Priest at Fukuoka International Church)
(Mr. Kimura conducted the missionary activities in Indonesia for 17 years)
During the Japanese Occupation the Indonesian Church went through a severe crisis. Nearly all the foreign missionaries were taken to prison camps. Bishop Aerts of Maluku-Papua and his 12 brothers were shot without preceding investigation. Japanese atrocity accounted for the death of 281 missionaries during the occupation. The only Indonesian bishop, 19 native priests, 60 brothers and 206 sisters were allowed to carry on.
The Japanese had two Japanese bishops and seven priests as “religious unit for peace” (shūkyō senbuhan yōin) come over from Japan, as they had also some Islamic religious leaders come over for the Moslems. Through this religious unit the Japanese hoped to strengthen their influences on the Church for the benefit of the Japanese cause. But that was not exactly a success, because the Japanese clergy did not comply with the wishes of Japanese authorities, but worked for the Indonesian Church, together with the foreign missionaries and Indonesian priests.
During those years many Catholics and non-Catholics must have seen clearly that being a Catholic is not identical with being a Westerner.
Not only the Indonesian clergy in Java went on working and propagating faith as before, but now the Japanese clergy worked and preached exactly as did Indonesians and had been done by foreign missionaries (Dutch).
Organizer: IPCR Project “Peace and Coexistence through Religion in Indonesia” IPCR (Principal Investigator: Nonaka Yo (Keio University)