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About Doshisha and School of Theology

To Foster Specialists of Christianity and Mediators between Civilizations

The history of the Doshisha School of Theology dates back to the establishment of the Doshisha Eigakko (Doshisha Academy) in 1875. Joe H. Neesima, the "Samurai Christian," after completing nine years of studies in the United States, returned to Japan as a missionary of the Congregational Church (currently the United Church of Christ) and established Doshisha. The Doshisha School of Theology has the longest history of any theological education and research institute in Japan. It currently has 300 undergraduate and 100 graduate students, and it has fostered countless "specialists in Christianity," including ministers, teachers of religion at Christian schools, social workers and counselors working at hospitals and welfare facilities.

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Based on the spirit of Doshisha's establishment, the main focus of research at the Doshisha School of Theology has been Protestant Christianity. From 2003, while making improvements to its research into Christianity, the School actively launched research into Judaism and Islam, and thus the scope of research was expanded to include research into the monotheistic religions from the Middle East. The full-time faculty of the School of Theology is comprised of eleven researchers specializing in Christianity, four specializing in Islam, and two specializing in Judaism. Three of the Islamic researchers are themselves Muslims, and one of the Judaism researchers is Jewish. Each year, there are more than 30 classes related to Islam. This School thus offers a revolutionary research and education structure, unlike any other in the world, where students can undertake simultaneous, full-scale studies of the three Abrahamic Religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In addition to gaining essential knowledge of Abrahamic Religions, students can study languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, and English, in order to achieve their goals of becoming "specialists in the coexistence of civilizations," working in international or government agencies and NGOs or at companies developing business in those regions where Abrahamic Religions play a crucial role, such as the Middle East, Europe, the U.S., Southeast Asia, and Africa.

In Japan, followers of Abrahamic Religions account for no more than 1% of the population. We at the Doshisha School of Theology, however, believe that there is great significance in conducting research and education on these three Abrahamic Religions in Japan. From a historical perspective, the civilizations that created the three Abrahamic Religions have followed paths of war and confrontation, from the Crusades to the era of colonial rule. Japan has maintained a position outside of this history of confrontation and conflict, from both a geographical and historical perspective. Our hope is that the Doshisha School of Theology can transform the good fortune of this neutrality into a sense of responsibility. We believe that the Doshisha School of Theology has a responsibility to play a role as "mediator" in achieving peace and mutual understanding between the world's regions and civilizations.
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