Libmonster ID: JP-1207
Author(s) of the publication: A. S. AKIMOV


Postgraduate student of the Sakhalin State University

Key words: Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ. Nikolai Japonsky, art. fiction, music, and cinematography

In modern Japan, Orthodoxy is associated primarily with the name of St. Nicholas of Japan 1 (Ivan Dmitrievich Kasatkin; 01.08. (13.08) 1836 - 03.02. (16.02) 1912), He devoted his entire life to spreading Christianity in the Far East. His daily work translating the Bible and liturgical books and managing the mission was rewarded with the sincere love of more than 30,000 Orthodox Japanese and no fewer people who sympathized with Russia in the early 20th century. During his lifetime, for his services to the Fatherland, the Russian priest was awarded the Orders of St. Vladimir, 2nd class (1895), St. Alexander Nevsky (1906), St. Vladimir, 1st Class (1910), and others.

Among the Japanese, the Russian priest gained fame and respect. On the day of his death, Japanese Prime Minister Kinmochi Saionji laid a wreath of flowers, which was delivered at the direction of the imperial house.

The name of St. Nicholas is not forgotten by modern Japanese, for many of whom Orthodoxy is associated with the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Tokyo - the main Orthodox cathedral in Japan since the beginning of the XX century and up to the present. This cathedral, known to almost every inhabitant of the Japanese capital, is often called "Nicholas-do" after its founder. It is noteworthy that the name of the priest and the mention of the cathedral are found in various types of Japanese art - in fiction, in painting, in song and music, and in cinema.


One of the first references to the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ is found in the trilogy of the contemporary priest Nikolai Soseki Natsume (1867-1916). This voluminous epic work of the writer includes three novels - " Sansiro "(1908)," Then "(1909)," Gate " (1910). It is in the second part of the trilogy, in the novel "Then", that the main character Daisuke tells about the feast of the Resurrection of Christ, which he participated in in the cathedral of the same name in Tokyo. It should be noted that this event, which is generally significant for the Orthodox believer, is described only in a few sentences, but this episodic story is a kind of prelude to the characters ' important reflection on the life of the earth and the spiritual (and in particular, on the resurrection). In Natsume's own life, the Tokyo Cathedral also played an important role. In the biographies of the writer it is said about the meeting of Natsume with his beloved. This meeting took place not far from the cathedral, which is associated with the name of the Russian priest and his activities.

It is interesting that the mention of St. Nicholas in Japanese literature took place during his lifetime. The reflection of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Japanese literature testified to the work that the Russian priest carried out to spread the Christian faith in Japan. The majestic structure of the cathedral attracted the attention of not only Orthodox Japanese, but also all residents of Tokyo, so Natsume was not the only Japanese writer who turned to the image of the cathedral in fiction.

The bells of Tokyo Cathedral are also mentioned in Ryunosuke Akutagawa's short story "The Witch" (1892-1927). It is the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ that the author mentions among other wonders of Tokyo at the beginning of the XX century. "The number of these miracles is infinite," Akutagawa wrote, "the smoke from the arsenal chimney for some reason floats not in the wind, but against it; in the dead of night, the bell on the bell tower of St. Nicholas Cathedral suddenly sounds..." 2. The Orthodox church is associated in the writer's mind, whose spiritual quest was directed to Christianity, with something like a dream. otherworldly, invisible, and inaccessible to the outside world. However, the image of the cathedral in this story is episodic and can only be noticed by a thoughtful and attentive reader, while in the laconic version of the cathedral, the image of the cathedral is very different.

page 61

In Hakushu Kitahara's poem (1885 - 1942), the Orthodox church is the leading lyrical theme: "The Church of St. Nicholas... Tonight, the vibrating sound of its bells is raging, then subsiding, then subsiding, then raging 3". In Japanese, the musicality of these easy-to-remember lines is in tune with the natural bells of Russian churches.

The cathedral is also represented in the haiku Hake of Isis (1913-1969), whose poetic tone is particularly elegant: "The Bells of St. Nicholas. Pleasure. Listopad". This poem, included in the collection "Overthrowing Rain" (1948), refers to the so-called "seasonal" haiku and is dedicated to the onset of peace in nature. Tokyo Orthodox Cathedral bells are also described in the book "Under the Shadow of Death" (1947) by the winner of the Tanizaki Literary Award (1978) Shinichiro Nakamura (1918 - 1997).


The construction of an Orthodox church was such a significant event in Japan during the Meiji period (1868-1912) that this fact is reflected in various books on the history of the Japanese state and culture. One of these interesting references is found in the book " History of Japan of the Meiji and Taisho Periods in Pictures "(1928). The memorable illustration of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in this book was made by the artist Senye Ogawa (1882-1971), and in the laconic caption to the drawing it is noted that the opening ceremony of the Nikolai-do Temple took place on March 8, 1891 (the 24th year of the Meiji era).

Interest in this temple in Tokyo continued in the visual arts of the early Taisho period (1912-1926). Modern art critics believe that in the engraving "Virgin Mary" by the artist Takehisa Yumeji (1884-1934), the characters confessing their love to each other are located in the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, and Takehisa's characters are written from specific people - the artist himself and his beloved, whose feelings are compared with the spiritual heights of the Christian faith.

In 1936, the famous Japanese singer Ichiro Fujiyama (1911 - 1993) performed the song "Tokyo Rhapsody". The song" anthem " of Tokyo broke all records of popularity in Japan. In this song, the image of the capital can not be imagined without the sounds of the bells of an Orthodox church. 15 years later, in 1951, another song became popular in Japan, the title of which is "The Bells of St. Nicholas". The song was written by Yutaka Kadota and written by Yuyai Koseki. This song with the theme of Russian Orthodoxy in Japan has also been performed by singer Fujiyama for many years. Against the background of the battle of the cathedral bells, the hero of the song reflects on the vicissitudes of love and mentally addresses his beloved with the words: "What do you pray for when the bells of St. Nicholas sound in the evening sky?" The image of the cathedral creates a chamber atmosphere of a monologue of a man in love. The hero's feelings develop in harmony with the majestic and solemn music of church bells:

 Blue Sky-little Valley 
 Twilight - the setting sun of tears
spilling over the edge 
 Although the image changes,
the dream remains the same 
 And we'll sing today? The
bells of St. Nicholas Sound in the sky of the capital 
 Yesterday blooming flowers - today fallen
 Days and months flow by, reflecting in the river 
 Even remembering the person who did not return,
the soul is also torn? In the sky where she cries 
 wild goose 
 The bells of St. Nicholas sound 
 Someone will read sad poems 
 If you open the page, you will see the message
Virgo, who broke off love, tonight 
 What does he pray for? In the fading sky 
 The bells of St. Nicholas sound. 

It is noteworthy that in 1992, Fujiyama was awarded the "Heritage of the People" award with the following wording:: "For the hope and inspiration that was given to people through songs in beautiful Japanese." Fuji's Orthodox-themed songs were no less dignified and beautiful than other masterpieces of Japanese musical culture in the 20th century.


The image of an Orthodox church has repeatedly appeared in Japanese cinema. So, in one of the scenes of the film "Early Summer" directed by Yasujiro Ozu (1903 - 1963), the characters talk against the background of the Tokyo Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ. According to critics, only in this film, which is part of the trilogy ("Late Spring" (1949)," Early Summer "(1951) and" Tokyo Story " (1953), the famous director reached the heights of his work.

page 62

Drawing of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ from the book "History of Japan of the Meiji and Taisho Periods".

In an etching by Japanese artist Yumeji Takehisa, the characters declare their love for each other in an Orthodox church.

In the war drama "Port Arthur" (lit. "Height 203" (1980) directed by Toshio Masuda (b. 1927), one of the characters visits the Tokyo Cathedral. The film, dedicated to the events of the Russo-Japanese War, tells about the siege of the Russian fortress of Port Arthur by Japanese troops. It is noteworthy that this film, in which the image of an Orthodox church appears, was noticed not only by the audience, but also by experts in the field of cinematography: in 1981, the film was nominated by the Japanese Academy as "Best Film" and received an award according to the results of a survey of the Kinema Jianpo magazine.

In 1992, a joint Russian-Japanese project "The Legend of the Icon" directed by Seji Rodo (b.1953) was implemented. The main character of the film, Rin Yamashita, while studying icon painting in Russia, mentally returns to Japan throughout the film. She recalls important words spoken by a Russian priest in his Tokyo residence. By cinematic means, Rodo managed to convey exactly how the Russian priest was described by his contemporaries: "His face denounced energy, strength and extraordinary will, but at the same time his eyes shone with such meekness, kindness, gentleness and humility that it became clear to me how this man conquered and subdued the masses of pagans..."4.

These examples do not exhaust the themes of Orthodoxy in Japan, but, on the contrary, become the main ones in modern art. The image of the Tokyo Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ is perceived as a stable positive artistic reality, which is always associated with the modern look of the Japanese capital. At the same time, all associations, being cultural phenomena, are realized not as deliberate, artificially created, but as natural ones. And now we can say with confidence that the words of Priest Nicholas turned out to be prophetic: "The Cathedral will be remembered, studied, imitated, many not dozens, but, I can safely say, hundreds of years, because the temple is really the most remarkable building in the capital of Japan, a task about which fame spread throughout Europe and America even before its completion and which, now completed, justly arouses the attention, curiosity,and surprise of all who are or who visit Tokyo. " 5

1 Further in the text-St. Nicholas.

Akutagawa R. 2 The Witch / Translated from Japanese by G. Roneka / / Izbrannoe. St. Petersburg, Terra Fantastica, 1995, p. 237.

3 Here and further down the text, all footnotes were translated by Antonina Akimova.

Schrader D. I. 4 Japan and the Japanese. Travel sketches of modern Japan, St. Petersburg, A. F. Devriep, 1895, p. 565.

Nikolai-before. 5 St. Nicholas of Japan. A brief biography. Excerpts from diaries / Comp. by A. A. Chekh. St. Petersburg.. Biblionolie, 2001, p. 45.


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