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The Cross in the Dark Valley

The Canadian Protestant Missionary Movement in the Japanese Empire, 1931-1945

A. Hamish Ion

Hardcover 444 pp.

ISBN13: 978-0-88920-294-8

Release Date: February 1999


Hardcover edition is out of print.  

Paper 444 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-504-5

Release Date: March 2013

Online discount: 25%

$48.99  $36.74


In this pioneer study, Ion investigates the experience of the Canadians who were part of the Protestant missionary movement in the Japanese Empire. He sheds new light on the dramatic challenges faced by foreign missionaries and Japanese Christians alike in what was the watershed period in the religious history of twentieth-century East Asia.

The Cross in the Dark Valley delivers significant lessons for Christian and missionary movements in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe which even now have to contend with oppression from authoritarian regimes and with hostility.

This new book by A. Hamish Ion, written with objectivity and scholarly competence, will be of interest to all scholars of Japanese-Canadian relations and missionary studies as well as to general historians.

A. Hamish Ion, a specialist in modern Japanese history, currently teaches in the History Department at the Royal Military College of Canada.


“This work, volume 3, is especially welcome not only for the historical narrative but also for the light it sheds on two major problems of the period — namely the Shinto shrine and Union Church controversies....Each chapter is well researched with extensive coverage of both primary and secondary sources. While the author bases his work on primary sources, consisting of missionary letters and writings, mission board documents, government documents, and Japanese leaders’ writings, the reviewer was impressed by the author’s ability to draw on secondary works by contemporary Japanese scholars, writing in Japanese, which immeasurably contribute to the critical analysis of the mission problem. Few Western scholars have achieved facility with the Japanese language allowing for such wide reading....This is a superb attempt to revisit the difficult years of the Depression and World War II. Focusing on Canadian missionaries allows the author to cover mission in Japan more widely. This work can not be too highly recommended for scholars and the general public interested in missions in Japan.”

— Robert E. Fulop, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Church History

“Ion’s treatment of the closing days of prewar missions (chapters 10-12) combines skilful use of archival sources with sensitivity to the emotional elements involved in the missionaries’ leaving Japan....this study breaks new ground in our understanding of the earliest stage of Canadian-Japanese relations....a work which will be of interest to anyone concerned with Canadian-Japanese relations in the twentieth century.”

— Cyril Powles, University of Toronto, Pacific Affairs