This daily feature is an introduction to a full book review by Stephen J. Moody. To read the full text of this review, follow the link below.
Shinji Takagi's extremely detailed and thoroughly researched book The Trek East makes a significant contribution to understanding early LDS Church history in Japan. Although the book covers a period that has been extensively described in previous scholarship, Takagi does not present another historical narrative of key events but rather provides a rigorous study of the social influences that impacted those events. This analytical approach brings a layer of explanatory depth that has, until now, been absent in studies of Church history in Japan. The result is a product rich in insight into the ways religious, economic, and political environments in Japan shaped the unfolding story of the LDS Church in that country. Starting in the years leading up to the arrival of the first missionaries in 1901 and culminating when the Japan Mission was first divided in 1968, this book is an essential resource for those seeking a methodical and meticulous account of the failures and triumphs of the LDS Church as it struggled to establish itself in Japan. Moreover, given the author's commitment to interpreting events in their relevant social contexts, the book will also be of value to scholars of religious history in Japan generally.