Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Samurai Saint

Several martyrs of Japan came from Samurai families, but the next one to be declared a saint was an actual Samurai.

From Father Z:

Takayama Ukon was born in 1552 in Japan during the time when Jesuit missionaries were becoming introduced within the country. By the time Takayama was 12, his father had converted to Catholicism and had his son baptized as “Justo” by the Jesuit Fr. Gaspare di Lella.
Later, he resigned and lived in poverty because he refused to work as a Samurai:

Ten years passed, and the chancellor became more fierce in his persecution against Christians. He eventually crucified 26 Catholics, and by 1614, Christianity in Japan was completely banned.
The new boycott on Christianity forced Takayama to leave Japan in exile with 300 other Catholics. They fled to the Philippines, but not long after his arrival, Takayama died on February 3, 1615.
So there is a Philippine connection.

And because he died from persecution, although he wasn't killed, he is considered a martyr (original meaning: witness) under church rules.

The history of those days is only now being told in the West: IF they ever get around to filming Endo's book "Silence", maybe ordinary people will find out about the persecution of Christians from a Japanese author (in contrast to Shogun, from a western point of view).

What is interesting here is that western history tends to ignore the Japanese invasion of Korea (on the way to conquer Ming China)...Professor Bulliet in his world history course at Columbia U :(YOUTUBE) points out that more people died in atrocities and hunger from that war (read PDF here where they estimate 20 percent of the Korean population, i.e. 2 million, died, and 50 thousand taken back to Japan to work as slaves).
This was equivalent to the notorious 30 year war that is still used by athiests to demonize religion, yet no one in the west ever heard about that war...

 the recent film The Admiral, about Admiral Yi and his naval victories, has made some people aware of that invasion, as has a recent best selling book. Part of this is because the few sources are not in European languages, and of course, only the elites could write (and one suspects that often negative reports disappeared)

Although Takayama left his post in 1587, apparently not all Christian samurais did, because some of them accompanied their masters to fight against Korea, presumably because the anti Christian edicts were sort of ignored when the Christian samurai who were feudal lords and their armies were needed.We know this because some Jesuits went there to minister to them in Korea (and Jesuits tend to write about such things).

At that time, they did not work among the Koreans, but that article notes they did convert some of the slaves brought back with the army: Indeed, 9 of the canonized Japanese martyrs were Korean.

More on that war HERE. They say that Japan invaded because their leader was crazy, yet the weakness of the Ming Dynasty suggests he might have succeeded.

This article points out that because the Chinese used the Manchus to help them fight,

Nurhaci organized the Jurchens in Manchuria, and his army helped fight the Japanese in Korea. He stopped sending tribute to Beijing in 1615 and expressed his grievances.

Later of course, the Manchus decided to take over China. Like most wars in China, the number of ordinary people who died of famine or disease or were killed isn't mentioned, (the article notes only that they brought back 100 thousand captives with them) as in contrast to the west where ordinary folks could write their own histories or the Jesuits or Protestant clergy would note the suffering and atrocities of ordinary people.

A lot of this is mainly bookmarked for me to read later, so excuse me if I get some of the stuff wrong.

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