Michelle La Fay


United States


Associate Professor

Research Keywords

Religious Studies, Meiji Era Protestantism, Uchimura Kanzo


MA: Religious Studies, Hokkaido University, 1997
PhD: Religious Studies, Hokkaido University, 2003


My research centers on the Meiji and Taisho eras, times of great change in Japan. In the early Meiji era, Uchimura Kanzo and other students at Sapporo Agricultural College had to integrate new Western and Christian ideas with the culture and lifestyle of their childhood. 

These students became Christians just a few years after the ban on Christianity was lifted in Japan. It was a daring act, but it was felt to be one way of “catching up” to the West. When approached with the idea of Christianity, Uchimura was repelled by the thought because he imagined that it would make him a traitor to his country. Eventually he concluded the integration of Japanese values and Christianity would make Japan the best possible country. 

Recently, I am interested in looking at this process on a scale beyond Christianity. I think that even today we can learn from the process these men experienced and that it can give us insights into dealing with different cultures. 

Selected Publications

  • Mucho Uchimura-ish Me: In the Gap Between Two Cultures, Hakurosya, 2011.
  • “‘Love’ and ‘Righteousness’ in Uchimura Kanzo’s A Study of Romans.” Journal of the Graduate School of Letters (Graduate School of Letters, Hokkaido University) 5 (March 31, 2010): 99-105.