おらしょ こころ旅

Oratio Story (1)

The Arrival and Flourishing of Christianity

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History

1543 Introduction of firearms from Portugal. First contact of Japanese and Western cultures.
1549 Francis Xavier lands in Kagoshima.
1550 First Portuguese ship arrives in Hirado, launching the nanban trade. Christianity comes to the Nagasaki region.
1563 Ōmura Sumitada is baptized at Yokoseura.
1571 Port of Nagasaki opens.
1579 Alessandro Valignano comes to Japan.
1580 Nagasaki is ceded to the Jesuits.
1580 Arima Harunobu is baptized in Hinoe Castle.
1580 Seminary is established in Arima.
1582 The Tenshō embassy leaves Nagasaki.
1584 The Tenshō embassy has an audience with the King of Spain.
1584 Arima Harunobu donates Urakami to the Jesuits.
1585 Tenshō embassy has audiences with two popes.
1587 Edict to expel Christian fathers is issued.
1597 Twenty-six Catholics, including six foreign missionaries, are martyred.
1603 The Tokugawa shogunate takes power.
1614 The Tokugawa shogunate issues edict banning Christianity.
1637 The Shimabara Rebellion breaks out.
1644 The last missionary in Japan is martyred, leaving the country without any priests.

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  • Christianity Brings Japan and Europe Together

    Portugal began to project its power around the world in the mid-fifteenth century. By the end of that century, it had begun moving into Asia in search of bases for trade; it reached Southeast Asia around the middle of the sixteenth century.

    The Society of Jesus (founded with the approval of Pope Paul III in 1540) dispatched missionaries to India in response to a request from the King of Portugal. Their mission was to launch propagation efforts from their Goa base. Francis Xavier, one of the Jesuit missionaries, had a chance encounter with a Japanese man in Malacca, another Portuguese trading hub. Their conversations inspired Xavier to take his religious message to Japan, and he arrived at Kagoshima in 1549. This was the start of the relationship between Japan and Europe, centered around Christianity.

    © Shoji Yoshitaka

  • Christianity Spreads in Hirado, Nagasaki and Arima

    Xavier made his way up from Kagoshima, where he had landed, to the capital, Kyō (modern-day Kyoto). On his way, he preached at Hirado and Yamaguchi, winning over many believers to his cause. A stream of missionaries were to follow him to Japan, leading to the spread of Christianity.

    Trade between Japan and Portugal—sometimes referred to as the nanban trade—got underway when a Portuguese vessel dropped anchor in Hirado in 1550. As the Nagasaki region served as Japan’s gateway to trade with East Asia, Portuguese ships started to arrive in increasing numbers, often bringing Jesuit missionaries along with their cargo. It was from the trading ports like Hirado, Nagasaki, and Arima that Christianity spread to other areas of Japan.

    The Japanese showed a keen interest in Western culture, which was so different from anything they had known before. As they learned more about Christian doctrines, they also developed a deeper grasp of the religion.

    © Shoji Yoshitaka

  • Arima Flourishes as a Base for Christian Missionaries

    At the time, Japan was divided into multiple fiefdoms controlled by feudal lords known as daimyo. While many daimyo in and around the Kyushu region welcomed the missionaries because of the opportunities for commercial gain, others became stalwart believers in the new religion. Those feudal lords who converted to Christianity and did their best to help the missionaries with the work of propagation are referred to as Christian daimyo. The four best-known in Kyushu were Ōmura Sumitada, Arima Harunobu, Ōtomo Sōrin, and Konishi Yukinaga.

    When Father Alessandro Valignano, the Jesuit Visitor overseeing all the order’s activities in Asia, came to Japan for the first time in 1579, he met Arima Harunobu, the daimyo of the Nagasaki region. Valignano converted Harunobu and baptized him at Hinoe Castle, the seat of the Arima clan. Harunobu continued to welcome missionaries even after Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s 1587 edict to expel the Christian fathers, and the province of Arima prospered as a base for the propagation of Christianity.

    Many people living in the domains of the Christian daimyo followed in their masters’ footsteps and converted to Christianity. Many churches were built in the Nagasaki region; seminaries and colleges opened in Arima and Nagasaki, Urakami, and Amakusa; and European culture, in the form of painting, music and printing, began to spread.

    © Shoji Yoshitaka

  • The Four Members of the Tenshō Embassy Have an Audience with the Pope

    The Jesuit Visitor Alessandro Valignano came up with the idea of sending a mission from Japan to Europe. In 1582, the Tenshō embassy, which consisted of four young students from a seminary in Arima, set out from Nagasaki. Traveling via Macao, Goa, and the Cape of Good Hope, the embassy eventually arrived in Lisbon and went on to meet with Philip II, the king of Spain, and two popes, Gregory XIII and Sixtus V.

    After 1571, there were many European merchants and missionaries living in Nagasaki, which had become a hub thanks to the trade brought by Portuguese ships. In 1580, the Christian daimyo Ōmura Sumitada ceded Nagasaki to the Jesuits, who administered the city for the next seven years. More than 10 churches were built in the center of the city at this time.

    © Shoji Yoshitaka

  • Creating an Organizational Structure to Spread the New Faith

    The missionaries’ preferred method for securing converts worked like this: First, they would expound the teachings of Christianity to the local daimyo and get him to convert; then, through him, they would get his retainers and the general populace to convert en masse. If the daimyo proved unwilling, the missionaries would shower him with gifts from Europe until they secured permission to proselytize in his domain.

    The missionaries active in Kyushu, Yamaguchi, and Kinai (territories in the vicinity of the capital), would select a small number of people from the most influential residents of the towns and villages where they preached and appoint them as leaders of the faith. In this way, they were able to create a self-sustaining organization that could keep the faith going without their presence. These local groups were known as misericordia, and they continued to operate even after Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s 1587 edict to expel the Christian fathers. In the provinces of Arima, Ōmura, and Amakusa, brotherhoods known as confraria were also set up to maintain and reinforce the faith.

    Thanks to these vigorous efforts, Valignano was able to detach the operations of the Society of Jesus from the Goa missionary district, making Japan into a quasi-ecclesiastical province divided into the three dioceses of Ximo (present-day Arima and Nagasaki), Bungo (present-day Beppu and Ōita), and Miaco (present day Kyoto). With this system, the Jesuits were able to compile detailed reports, not just on the spread of Christianity but on Japanese politics and society, which were dispatched every year to the order’s headquarters in Rome.

    © Shoji Yoshitaka

  • The Edict Banning Christianity and the Shimabara Rebellion

    In 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the effective ruler of Japan, promulgated edicts to expel the Christian fathers and limit the propagation of Christianity. At the same time, he took direct control of Nagasaki, which Ōmura Sumitada had ceded to the Jesuits in 1580. In 1597, Hideyoshi ordered the crucifixion of 26 Catholics, including six foreign missionaries, at Nishizaka in Nagasaki. Those killed are now known as the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan. Despite all this, Hideyoshi’s eagerness to keep trading with the Europeans, meant that his ban on Christianity was never implemented very thoroughly, and the Europeans’ missionary work continued.

    After Hideyoshi’s death in 1598, the number of Japanese Catholics started to increase. His successor, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Edo-based Tokugawa shogunate, also started out by tolerating Christianity in a bid to keep trade going. It is reckoned that at its peak there were more than 300,000 Catholics in Japan.

    When establishing the shogunate’s feudal system, however, Ieyasu came out with his own edict banning Christianity in 1614. The missionaries were driven out of Japan to Macao and Manila, churches were destroyed, and a wave of repression led many Japanese Catholics to renounce their faith. But even after the missionaries had left the country, there remained people who secretly kept the faith.

    This was the backdrop for the 1637 Shimabara Rebellion, when the people of Shimabara and Amakusa, driven by famine and the tyrannical behavior of their local lord, revolted. Hara Castle was the final battleground, where more than 20,000 rebels stood against a shogunate force of some 120,000 men. Eventually, the shogun’s forces exterminated the rebels and demolished Hara Castle. Excavations at the site have unearthed many medals and crosses that belonged to the Christians in the rebel force. The shogunal authorities saw the uprising as a Christian rebellion, and ratcheted up the level of repression. Christianity in Japan was about to enter a dark era.

    © Shoji Yoshitaka

  • Despite Forced Conversion to Buddhism, Many Hidden Christians Maintain Their Faith

    The Shimabara Rebellion was a shock to the shogunate. In 1639, it adopted a policy of isolation, completely banning Portuguese ships from Japanese ports. The Protestant Dutch, who were hostile to the Catholics, replaced the Portuguese as Japan’s trading partners, though they were made to relocate their trading post from Hirado to Dejima, a man-made island in Nagasaki, in 1641.

    Between 1617 and 1644, 75 missionaries and more than 1,000 Japanese Catholics were executed. Repression was intensifying all the time, with the shogunate working to uncover believers by forcing them to trample on religious pictures, medals, and other articles of devotion (a practice known as efumi or ebumi). Another method of control was forcing them to convert to Buddhism and registering their names in religious census books, so temples would have to manage them. Despite this, many continued to believe in secret.

    With the ban being enforced ever more strictly, 10 missionaries who had slipped into Japan were captured in 1642 and 1643. When Konishi Mansho—supposedly the last Catholic priest in the country—was martyred in 1644, the contact between missionaries and the Japanese people that Xavier had initiated finally came to an end. Thanks, however, to the Hidden Christians secretly continuing with their faith, the flame he had lit was never completely extinguished, and the European influence lingered on.

    © Shoji Yoshitaka

Related Keywords

有馬晴信

[ありまはるのぶ] 肥前有馬の領主。1571年に家督を相続し、日野江城に居住。1580年にヴァリニャーノから洗礼を受け、キリシタン大名となった。1582年には、従兄弟の千々石ミゲルを天正遣欧使節として派遣した。1587年に豊臣秀吉が「伴天連追放令」を発令した際には、領内で宣教師を保護した。

イエズス会

[いえずすかい] ローマ教皇の公認を得たカトリックの修道会。フランシスコ・ザビエルなどにより1534年に結成された。

ヴァリニャーノ(アレッサンドロ・ヴァリニャーノ)

[ヴぁりにゃーの] イエズス会巡察使として初期の日本のキリスト教界を指導した司祭。1579年から3度来日し、1590年にインド副王使として2度目に来日した際には、帰国した天正遣欧使節をともなって豊臣秀吉に謁見した。日本宣教にあたって、日本の風習に順応すること、セミナリオなどの教育機関を設置することなどの革新的な方針を示した。

絵踏

[えふみ] 禁教時代に、聖画像やメダイ、十字架などを足で踏ませることにより、キリシタンを探索し、棄教させるために行われた方法。踏ませた絵や像のことを「踏絵」という。

大友宗麟

[おおともそうりん] 豊後の領主。1551年に来日中のザビエルに会い、以後キリシタンを保護した。1559年に九州探題となる。1578年に洗礼を受けてキリシタン大名となった。

大村純忠

[おおむらすみただ] 肥前大村の領主。1550年に有馬家より養子となり、家督を相続。1561年に領内の横瀬浦をポルトガル船に開港し、自ら洗礼を受けて日本初のキリシタン大名となった。

小西行長

[こにしゆきなが] 堺生まれで幼年に洗礼を受ける。宇喜多氏に仕えた後、豊臣秀吉の直臣となり、船奉行として水軍を掌握し、最も有力なキリシタン大名であった。朝鮮出兵の際は第一線で活動し、帰国後に起こった関ヶ原の戦いで破れ、処刑された。

コレジヨ(コレジオ)

[これじよ(これじお)] イエズス会巡察使のヴァリニャーノが設立した聖職者の養成学校。神学、宗教学、哲学、自然科学、ラテン語など高等教育を行った。

コンフラリア

[こんふらりあ] キリスト教が禁止になる前から、信者が地域ごとにつくっていた集団(講)のことで、信仰を強化しながら奉仕活動に励んだ。潜伏期のキリシタンの地下組織は、この集団(講)が元になった。

ザビエル(フランシスコ・ザビエル)

[ざびえる] イエズス会の創設者の一人で、1549年に鹿児島に上陸し、日本に初めてキリスト教を伝えた。翌年、長崎県平戸に来航した。

慈悲の組

[じひのくみ] キリスト教の精神に基づき、病人や貧困者の救済に奉仕した信心会「ミゼリコルディア」のことで、本部は長崎にあった。日本では「慈悲の組」「慈悲屋」などと呼ばれた。日本の福祉事業の先駆け。

島原・天草一揆

[しまばら・あまくさいっき] 1637年から1638年にかけて、島原半島南部と天草諸島の農民が合同して起こした一揆。天草四郎を総大将として2万数千人が加わり、原城で籠城したが、幕府軍によって鎮圧された。

修道会

[しゅうどうかい] 神に生涯を捧げるという同じ目的を持って集まった人たちの会。男子の修道会、女子の修道会がある。

殉教

[じゅんきょう] キリスト教の信仰や道徳を捨てるよりも、死を選んで神に命を捧げること。

潜伏キリシタン

[せんぷくきりしたん] 禁教時代に、表向き仏教徒として生活し、密かに信仰を継承した信徒たちのこと。

洗礼

[せんれい] キリスト教徒になるための儀式で、「マリア」や「フランシスコ」などの洗礼名(クリスチャンネーム)をもらう。

弾圧

[だんあつ] 支配者が権力によって活動を抑圧すること。キリスト教史で見られる弾圧とは、信仰を辞める(棄てる)よう、さまざまな手段を講じることをいう。

出島

[でじま] 来日したポルトガル人を隔離収容するため、1636年に長崎港内に築造された人工島。1639年にポルトガル人を追放した後、1641年にオランダ商館が移転した。

天正遣欧使節

[てんしょうけんおうしせつ] イタリア人のヴァリニャーノ神父がつくった有馬セミナリヨで学んだ4人の少年(伊藤マンショ、千々石ミゲル、中浦ジュリアン、原マルチノ)を、キリシタン大名の大村純忠、大友宗麟、有馬晴信の代理としてヨーロッパに派遣。ローマ教皇に謁見するなど大歓迎を受け、西洋音楽や印刷技術などを学んで1590年に帰国した。

徳川家康

[とくがわいえやす] 岡崎城主松平氏の長子として生まれ、織田信長と同盟、後に豊臣秀吉に臣従。秀吉の死後、関ヶ原の戦いで勝利して実験を握り将軍となる。当初はキリシタンに寛容であったが、キリシタンが関係した封建制を揺るがす事件(岡本大八事件)を契機として、1612年以降、禁教政策を行った。

豊臣秀吉

[とよとみひでよし] 尾張生まれで、織田信長の家臣であったが、信長の死後に後継者となり、国内統一政権を樹立した。1587年に「伴天連追放令」を発したが、南蛮貿易は許したため、不徹底なものとなっていた。1597年にフランシスコ会士6名と日本人キリシタン20名を長崎の西坂で処刑した(日本二十六聖人の殉教)

日本二十六聖人殉教

[にほんにじゅうろくせいじんじゅんきょう] 時の権力者により、キリスト教の信仰を理由に処刑された、日本で初めての殉教事件。京都、大阪などで捕縛された信者26人が長崎まで歩かされ、1597年2月5日、西坂で処刑された。ヨーロッパで大きな反響を呼び、26人は後に聖人となった。

バテレン(伴天連)

[ばてれん] キリスト教が伝わった頃の、司祭(神父)または宣教師を含めた聖職者たち。ポルトガル語のパードレからきた言葉。

フランシスコ会

[ふらんしすこかい] ローマ教皇の公認を得たカトリックの修道会で、13世紀のイタリアで、アシジのフランシスコと11名の同志によって設立された。

メダイ

[めだい] 信者がマリア様や聖人たちに守ってもらうために持つメダルのような形のもの。

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