Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon


BORN in Takayama village, in Toyono-cho, Toyono-gun, Osaka Prefecture, the Martyr of Christ, Justus Ukon Takayama (1552-1615), a Catholic layman of heroic virtue who was considered a pillar of the early Church of Japan, died in Intramuros, Manila on February 3, 1615 – only 44 days after he was exiled to Manila for refusing to abjure his Catholic faith. In 1630, a petition was presented to the Vatican by the Archdiocese of Manila for Takayama’s beatification. His Cause was revived at the Vatican in 1963 – with the Japanese Bishops in charge. The Takayama process was crowned with Beatification in Osaka on February 7, 2017.

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The Beatification of Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon

The Japanese “Servant of God” Justus Takayama Ukon (1552-1615) was beatified this afternoon, 7 February 2017, by Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, on Pope Francis’ behalf, in Osaka, the prefecture of Takayama’s birth.

Blessed Takayama is now one step away from full sainthood.

Among Japan’s 42 Japanese Saints and 394 Blessed, only the Cause of Blessed Takayama Ukon was processed individually – a first instance in Japanese church history. All other Japanese Saints and Blessed are group martyrs, processed by the Vatican in four batches.

The Takayama Ceremony is the fifth Japanese beatification since (more…)

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Takayama Ukon and ‘La Japona’

According to the Dominican Commemorative Book, The Saga of La Naval: Triumph of a People’s Faith (Quezon City: Dominican Province of the Philippines, 2007 – 358p) – the Dominican missionaries in Manila made their first missionary venture outside the Philippines in 1602 by fielding a pioneering mission to the Japanese archipelago — half a century after the Jesuits arrived there.

Dominican Mission to Japan

The Dominican prior at Manila, Fr. Francisco de Morales (1567-1622), had been meeting with Japanese Christians from Satsuma about the possibility of opening a mission in that fief. In time, the Dominicans were invited by the Daimyo of Satsuma, a fief of the island of Kyushu.


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Takayama Ukon – A Candidate for Canonization

By Fr. Johannes Laures, SJ

One of the greatest heroes of the glorious Martyr Church of Japan is undoubtedly the Catholic lay apostle, Justus Ukon Takayama (1552-1615), or Justus Ucondono, as he was usually called by missionaries. Although he greatly desired to shed his blood for Christ, he was not granted this honor, yet he sacrificed everything on three separate occasions for his Divine Master, was exiled to a foreign land (the Philippines) for the sake of his Faith, and died in Manila as a result of the hardships endured on the voyage to his exile.

Ukon Takayama was one of the greatest men of his era. He was (more…)

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Journeying with Lord Takayama

By Dr. Ernie A. De Pedro, Managing Trustee
Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation

My ‘accidental’ involvement in the research on the life and times of Lord Justus Ukon Takayama (1552-1615) started in 1986 when four Japanese Protestant ministers from Kanazawa City (led by Rev. Minoru Yamagata) visited me looking for archival documents about the end-days of Lord Takayama in Manila. I was then the Director-General of the National Film Archives of the Philippines (1981-1989). The ministers had mistakenly thought I had access to the paper archives of the Philippines. I sent them off to the National Archives.

After a week of researching, they dropped by my office again, complaining they had found nothing. I told them the logical place to research was the Vatican Archives where the documents about Takayama were being kept. (more…)

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The Search for the Bones of Takayama Ukon

It is surprising that some people actually believe that the remains of Lord Takayama were buried in Plaza Dilao (the traditional nihon-machi of Japanese migrants) — the first Japanese daimyo (great feudal lord) interred on Philippine soil. Considering that the remains of the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, were buried beneath the Rizal Monument, it is an easy stretch to believe that this was the case with Takayama too. (more…)