In Rediscovering Japan, Reintroducing Christendom Japan's unvoiced Christian history and cultural roots are examined from an alternative perspective. It is commonly believed that Christianity was introduced to Japan by the Spanish and Portuguese missionaries during the 1500s; however, Samuel Lee draws on various forms of cultural, religious and linguistic evidence to argue that Christianity was introduced to Japan through the Lost Tribes of Israel, who were converted to Christianity through the missionary efforts of the Assyrian Church of the East around A.D. 500. Much of the evidence he discusses has become submerged into many Japanese folkloric songs, festivals and is to be found in temples. There are, for example, approximately 300 words in Japanese and Hebrew/Aramaic that are similar. Further, Dr. Lee outlines the history of Catholicism in Japan during the 1500s, the systematic persecution of Christians from 1600s to the 1800s, and the rise of Protestant Church in Japan. The historical portion of the book ends with an analysis and discussion of 21st century Japanese society. Lastly, in Rediscovering Japan, Reintroducing Christendom, Samuel Lee questions the missiological methods of Western Christianity and advocates an approach based in dialogue between Christianity and other cultures.
Samuel Lee is a sociologist specializing in Japanese society and culture. He is president of Foundation University in the Netherlands and a member of the Christian Sociological Society and Japan Sociological Society of the University of Tokyo.