The Takayama Name

JUSTUS UKON TAKAYAMA is the Western way of writing the name of a Japanese Christian.Christian name, FIRST; Japanese first name, SECOND; and surname, LAST. As for his Christian name: It is Justus / Iustus in Latin; Justo in Spanish, and Giusto in Italian.

In Japanese usage, it is Takayama Ukon (高山 右近) – surname, first. In full: Justo Takayama Ukon.

“Ukon” was derived from “Ukonoefu” (Lieutenant of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards), among many obscure court titles that the samurai of old affected. It was an honorific title that became a first name — much like “Erap” (for Pare). Its use is akin to the Filipino endearment for beloved bosses: Amo-Boss-Chief-Panginoon! In today’s lingo, simply “Bossing.”

His childhood name was Hikogorō (彦五郎) and, after his coming-of-age ceremony, he was given the name Shigetomo (重友). In various stages of his life, Takayama used other names, as is the Japanese practice. As a teamaster, he was known as Minami-no-Bô.

But in missionary accounts, he was known as Justo Ucon-dono (sometimes spelled Ucan-dono). But better known as Dom (or Don) Justo Takayama or Iustus Takayama Ukon.


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

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