Vatican trove shows Catholic persecution in samurai-era Japan


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The Samurai was an uncivilized period of the Japan. Too bad it lasted so long, and too bad that people still worship the Samurai spirit today.

-15 ( +10 / -24 )

Interesting that the narrative above supports the conservative/nationalist view of Japanese history. I wonder who wrote this.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As usual, this article furthers the misconception that the Catholic church is the religion of Jesus Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth. Japan did not have Christ...they had missionaries promoting false teachings based on known bible charactors. Just enough bible to fool those who won't study the word of God for themselves. Same as it is today. Japan is still the Popes stronghold....but Lords will be done.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

Just imagine what brutal crackdown Buddhists or Shintoists would have suffered if they had tried to spread their religion in Italy, particularly at that time. Religious freedom? Come on, please, we are talking about a period in human history where "freedom" was a perfectly unknown word even in the so-called civilized West. And Christian missionaries were another expression of cultural (and by extension, economical) imperialism of the West in Asia. The Japanese had the perfect right to reject it.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Anyone who knows European history can find what Christian church did in middle ages, specially Portuguese at same time whem they wanted to push Christianity in Japan , as first missioners were from Portugal. In wiki on Christianity in Japan ,

At baptism, these converts were given Portuguese "Christian names" and encouraged to adopt Western culture.

And then read this from Portugal wiki

The growth of the Portuguese overseas empire made its missionaries important agents of colonization, with important roles in the education and evangelization of people from all the inhabited continents.

So, missionaries were agents of Portuguese colonization of Japan, telling people to forget their names and culture , and to accept Portuguese Christian religion and culture.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

For historical reasons the base for Christianity in Japan was Nagasaki. Until August 1945.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I just find this as a good lesson in historical ideology of the time. I think koku is spot on in the regards that many of the missionaries of the day didn't really concern themselves with Japanese culture to truly win converts to true Christianity, but were more focused on the old school belief that they would be bringing pagans to "civilized" western ideals of the time which would also eventually would have lead to colonization and exploitation by western empires of the day. Thankfully some of the true Christian ethics did seep out during this era and regardless of whatever devious plans were intended in the day didn't overcome the good messages behind the religion.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

There's an ancient plaque like this on display inside the Odawara Castle museum.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

According to Jose Rizal, in his annotations in the book "Events of the Pjilippine Islands" by Antonio De Morga, the Catholic Church dictated to Portugal, Spain and other Catholic countries, which countries they would colonize. So, for example, Brazil was assigned to Portugal. The original version of this book is in Spanish, but it has English translations. Rizal was an outspoken critic and opponent of the Spanish regime in the1800s.

And he was not a religious fanatic eitm of the Catholic church. Here is a link to the book: http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/589/58922186009.pdf, published in 1609. Here is a link to the book in English, but withour Rizal's annotations. http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext04/7phip10.txt

It is worth noting Rizal's statement in his annotations: http://joserizal.info/Writings/Other/morga.htm

"It is worthy of note that China, Japan and Cambodia at this time maintained relations with the Philippines. But in our day it has been more than a century since the natives of the latter two countries have come here. The causes which ended the relationship may be found in the interference by the religious orders with the institutions of those lands". Rizal further ads:

"The Japanese were not in error when they suspected the Spanish and Portuguese religious propaganda to have political motives back of the missionary activities".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is obvious that the Catholic church's intentions were political. Why does it call itself a form of government that appoints ambassadors around the World? And countries have to appoint ambassadors to the Vatican?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

For me, the saddest thing was the execution of Christian children by the Japanese.

Believers were forced to watch their own little children be executed... then they themselves followed soon after.

In the context of history one can understand adults being executed I suppose... but it's terrible to think of those poor innocent little children.

Execution grounds such as Nishizaka Hill in Nagasaki are very sad and poignant places to visit.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Those Catholic "Missionaries," back then, especially the Jesuits, were much more similar to CIA Agents of today.

They weren't just friendly priests walking around talking about Jesus. They were very subversive and well understood the value of getting certain politically powerful people in their side.

In fact, the way it usually happened, first the priests, and then the soldiers, is EXACTLY where the phrase, "divide and conquer" come from.

Governments and citizens that are split ideologically are MUCH easier to take over.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

To have those documents finally brought to light will help establish and reinforce the historical record of a very interesting period in time. No doubt some people would censor those documents if they could, but they would be the minority in civilized society.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Kokujin That's exactly what a Protestant would say. From your post, no doubt you are one. At least mention it when you post.

At any rate, this is a significant find from an historical and cultural perspective. It will shed light on what transpired during those dark years of persecution. I've read somewhere that some of the persecuted Japanese fled Japan to other countries such as the Philippines. That would explain why some Filipinos have Japanese or Japanese-sounding last names like this one girl I know.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Missionaries weren't exactly spreading only God's word, so many cultures were lost during 'missionary missions'..but, the execution and persecution was also wrong, and terrible.

Still, when family points their fingers to the persecution of Catholics in Japan (we are Catholics) I just point out that yes, if any other religion tried to 'infiltrate' Catholic grounds, similar things would have happened. It was a question of power, because most people realized that religion can unite AND divide people, and it was a strong tool that could be exploited, unfortunately.

It is very sad that innocent people had to lose their lives for what they believed was truth, and this for me applies to any religion. Persecution is just wrong and as Catholic I know I can look at my religion's history and see lots of blood-shed: in history they were persecutors/eradicating cultures to be replaced by another one and persecuted. Personally both sides were wrong.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

hmm no mention about the burgeoning slave trade of Japanese at the time propagated by Christians then....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In 1596 a Spanish galleon, the San Felipe, was shipwrecked off the providence of Tosa. Hideyoshi ordered the ship and its goods confiscated. The angry Spanish captain, wishing to impress or intimidate the Japanese officials, indulged in some boasting how Spain had acquired a great world empire. For proof the captain showed the Japanese officials a map of all the great Spanish dominions. His astonished hearers asked how it had been possible for a nation to subjugate so many lands.

The Spanish captain boasted that the Japanese would never be able to imitate Spain, simply because they had no Catholic missionaries. He confirmed that all Spanish dominions had been acquired by first sending in missionaries to convert their people, then the Spanish troops to coordinate the final conquest.

When this conversation was reported, Hideyoshi's anger knew no bounds. His suspicions about the use of missionaries as a first stepping-stone for conquest was confirmed. He recognized this pattern of cunning conquest at work within his own empire.

Seriously, if Japan hadn't kicked the Catholics out, Japan would have ended up like the Inca Empire. Japan wasn't called the "Silver Isles" for nothing. The Spaniards had every intention of seizing the Iwami Ginzan silver mine, just like they seized the Potosi silver mine after subjugating the Inca.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

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