- Ebina Danjo
- (185 6-1937)Japanese liberal Protestant leaderEbina Danjo was born in Chikugo Province (now Fukuoka). He studied at the nearby Kumamoto Yogakko, a school designed to introduce Western learning to Japan. While there, he fell under the influence of Reformed Church teacher Leroy Lansing Janes (1838-1909). He was one of 40 students who on January 30, 1876, climbed Mount Hanaoka and pledged their loyalty to Jesus Christ. After the school was closed later that year, most of the group, which became known as the Kumamoto Band, moved to Kyoto to attend the recently opened Doshisha College (now Doshisha University). He was part of the first graduating class of 1879.When in 1874 the Japanese government lifted its ban on Christianity, the Kumamoto Band, together with a few other similar groups, joined forces with the Congregational Church mission to create the Congregational Church of Japan. Ebina served in a series of pastorates starting in 1879. He later served (1891-93) as president of the Japan Christian Mission Company and as chancellor of Doshisha (1920-28)As a pastor, Ebina worked out a theology that resonated with liberal Protestantism in the United States. A universal religious consciousness, he suggested, had produced older religions such as Shinto or Confucianism before culminating in Christianity, the ultimate religious consciousness. He came to see Shintoism as parallel to Judaism, which in the Christian view was a preparation for receiving the Gospel. His debates with more conservative Protestant leaders such as Uemura Masahira and Uchimura Kanzo led to his 1902 break with the Evangelical Alliance.In 1930, Ebina became the pastor of Hongo Church (Congregational) in Tokyo, serving until his death on May 30, 1937.See also Japan.Further reading:■ Scott W. Sunquist, ed., A Dictionary of Asian Christianity (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 2001).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.