The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

An Anthropological Study of Christian Civilization and Nationalism

Joint Research Coordinator SUGIMOTO Yoshio

Reserch Theme List


This research critically studies from an anthropological perspective the merits and demerits of the “civilizing” conducted throughout the world by “Christian civilization” since the French Revolution. In particular, anthropology has traditionally treated the civilizing produced within a target region by Christian civilization as a subject more or less synonymous with modernization, concluding that societies have unavoidably undergone major changes through their direct and indirect relationships with Christianity. For Christianity, as well, the conceptualization of itself as a modern religion has created a history in which various forms of belief become systematically fixed as a religious system. Furthermore, modern Christian civilization has essentially supported nationalism in creating a world order. As a result, we now see the outbreak in various places of small-scale and large-scale clashes of civilizations, and we witness situations in which the lifestyles of various people are threatened in many places. This research will study the historical processes and results of the civilizing effected by Christian civilization in the non-European world that has been a main object of study of anthropology, with the final objective of critically overcoming clash of civilization issues.