The Challenge Facing Us
►Remarks of Hon. Ken Nakamura, Director of the Japan Information and Cultural Center, Manila (JICC), at the installation of the Toyono-cho granite marker at the Takayama Memorial at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex (TARC), University of Santo Tomas (UST) on July 29, 2017 — at the sidelines of the Fourth Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE 4), July 28-30, 2017.
FIRST, I WOULD LIKE to thank the administration of the University of Santo Tomas and the representatives of Toyono-cho, Japan for organizing this important event and for inviting me to participate. It is a great pleasure and privilege for me to witness this momentous occasion, which honors the life of Blessed Justus Takayama Ukon.
Lord Takayama has lived through most of the “Sengoku jidai” (戦国時代) or the “Age of the Warring States” which was a dark period in Japanese history, characterized by huge and nearly never-ending political and social conflicts. To say that it was a dangerous time to be in is an understatement. Lord Takayama faced numerous life-threatening dilemmas, which reached their climax upon the rise of a “Shogun” or leader who completely banned the practice of Christianity and executed anyone who engaged in it.
Lord Takayama had two options then: to renounce his faith and perhaps to maintain his social standing or to uphold his beliefs and possibly lose everything. By now, we all know what he chose.
He left his own country because he deemed it necessary to stand up for what he believed in. It was a courageous choice that proved to be the right one. That was affirmed by the warm welcome that was extended to Lord Takayama in the Philippines upon his arrival.
At certain points in our lives, we too are faced with similarly crucial choices that could significantly influence our future. Japan and the Philippines, for instance, have such good relations today because our forefathers have been given choices and the choices they made helped build and nurture our diplomatic bonds. ◘
Dr. Ernie A. de Pedro
Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation