Korean Christians

East Asia was one of the last areas to receive Christianity, beginning in about the seventeenth century. Today, Korea has the largest Christian population by percentage of all the countries in Asia. Beginning as a lay-movement among Silhak scholars who saw Christianity as an ideological catalyst for their egalitarian values, Christianity managed to assimilate, and be assimilated by, Korean culture. The church went through a period of persecution in the early nineteenth century and many missionaries and faithful were executed. During the Japanese occupation of Korea (1905-1945) many Korean Christians refused to participate in Japanese emperor-worship and suffered martyrdom, while those who complied suffered excommunication. As a result, the church became solidly identified with Korean nationalism and went on to dominate Korean society during the post-war years.

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