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Darwin and Evolution in Japan

The resistance to Darwin’s ideas on evolution by natural selection expressed by some in the West — both 150 years ago and even now — is well known…. But how did Darwin go down in Japan, as it started trading and interacting with Western powers?

Lacking Christianity, there wasn’t the religious opposition and controversy in Japan that scandalized people in Victorian England (and still hinders understanding of evolution).

Instead, a society based on Shinto and Buddhism apparently easily accepted Darwin. Some historians have also said that because Japanese people share their country with a nonhuman primate — the Japanese macaque — it made it easier for them to understand and accept evolution. …  The Japan Times Online