2018 Manila Tours for Japanese Pilgrims Tracing Lord Takayama’s Footsteps

‘IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JUSTUS UKON TAKAYAMA’ — The batch of Takayama medallions still in supply was blessed by the late Bishop Francis Xavier Osamu Mizobe, SDB (1935-2016) of Takamatsu Diocese, who was then chair of the CBCJ Commission for the Promotion of Saints.

►Centered on Intramuros, the Tour Is for One or Two Days

THE CENTRAL FACT that Japanese pilgrims should remember when they tour Takayama’s ‘Old Manila’ is that the Christian samurai, Justo Takayama Ukon (1552-1615) — proposed for sainthood by the Manila Archbishop in 1630; declared a “Servant of God” in 1994; recognized as a Martyr by Pope Francis in 2016; and beatified in 2017 – died in Manila in the Jesuit Compound in Intramuros. 

Lord Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615) is best remembered as the Sengoku Period’s ‘Samurai of Christ.’ This is the illustration after which the Takayama Medallion was based on.

The Jesuit Compound in Intramuros

That Jesuit Compound is now occupied by the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM, est. 1965) – which, though a government university, maintains a Catholic chapel in the area which used to house ♦ the Jesuit Iglesia Ana Church (1590-1625), later replaced by San Ignacio Church (No. 1) built in 1632 next to the earthquake-ruined church; ♦ Colegio de Manila (1590- ), renamed in 1626 as “Universidad de San Ignacio” (1626-1768), and ♦ Casa San Miguel, the Jesuit guesthouse. Eleven years later, the Jesuits established in the same city block the ♦ Colegio de San Jose (1601- ) as a residential college for students studying at the Colegio de Manila. (San Jose Seminary is now located at the Ateneo compound in Loyola Heights, Quezon City). ALL THESE IN ONE CITY BLOCK!

Japanese Christian exiles who arrived in 1614 continued their seminary studies in Manila – at Colegio de San Jose. Among these was Blessed Diego Yuki Ryosetsu, a seminarian ordained as a Jesuit priest in 1615, and martyred in “the pit” in Osaka in 1635.

In 1621, the Colegio de Manila was authorized by Pope Gregory XV to confer degrees in theology and arts. In 1626, the authorization was confirmed by Philip IV of Spain, who elevated the school into a university, thus making the Universidad de San Ignacio the first royal and pontifical university in the Philippines and in Asia.

Because he died at “Casa San Miguel,” Lord Takayama is considered by the Catholic Church as a “Son of Manila” — under the rubric that “where a man dies, is where he is born to Heaven.” Thus, the PLM is the actual site of the Martyrdom of Japan’s 436th venerated Martyr, who was proclaimed as ‘Blessed’  — by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS) on Feb. 7, 2017.

This distinguished historical record preceded the present-day stewardship (since 1965) of the former Jesuit compound by Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM).

Points of Interest for Japanese Tourists

For Japanese pilgrims tracing the footsteps of Lord Ukon Takayama in Manila, the Takayama Foundation developed “A Japanese Pilgrim’s Tour of Takayama’s Manila.” Depending on the time available, sites are selected by the tour coordinator from our checklist:

The Portuguese-captained Chinese junk was loaded with 350 Japanese Christian exiles, the most famous of whom was Lord Justo Takayama who brought with him his wife, Dona Justa, a daughter and five grandsons.

◘ ||| The Governor’s Galera (galley propelled by oarsmen) – which was dispatched to Bataan to pluck all the Japanese refugees on the de-masted Chinese sampan — landed on the open beach fronting the Palace of the Governor-General Juan de Silva, as the whole city turned out “to see the men of whom such great things had been told.” The “Takayama 350” made their Manila Bay landing at the Governor’s Gate (named Postigo Gate only in 1662). The landing faced the open sea, with no walled defences yet in 1614. Only ships on business with the Governor or Manila Archbishop were allowed to debark there, for security reasons. (All other commercial ships landed at the mouth of the Pasig River, and paid customs duties at the Aduana.) Colin/Pastells notes — “it was very late” — indicating that the Galera arrived at the Manila Bay landing in late afternoon.

The Governor sent his entire guard and many distinguished persons to escort the party from the landing to the palace. The galera signaled the arrival of Lord Takayama with a cannon and the artillery on the batteries of Fort Santiago answered in unison.

◘ ||| The Palacio del Gobernador – not the same building we have today — is where military honors were rendered to Lord Takayama by Spanish troops, passing-in-review. The troops were told: Make your marching very snappy; Ukon was Commanding General of Hideyoshi’s vanguard! The company of arquebusiers gave a salute with such precision that Lord Takayama who had been a samurai all his life, was greatly pleased and he praised the precision and dexterity with which the Spaniards handled their pieces.

The Plaza Mayor in front of the Manila Cathedral (renamed “Plaza Roma” when Manila Archbishop Rufino J. Santos became the first Filipino cardinal in 1960) was filled with welcomers — nobles, citizens and religious — dressed in their Sunday best, because in fact December 21, 1614 was a Sunday.

◘ ||| The exiles then ascended the palace’s stairs to meet the Governor, Manila Archbishop Diego Vázquez de Mercado (r. 16081616), the Auditors of the Royal Audiencia and the highest ranks of citizens who were waiting. The Governor advanced with open arms to meet them and that first greeting and reception was accompanied by many tears from each party. There was a pleasant exchange of words and compliments in which Don Justo showed great courtesy and ease. As it was very late, they bade each other good-bye very courteously and Don Justo thanked the Governor for his charitable hospitality.

No actual sketch of Manila Cathedral (III) — during Lord Takayama’s time — has been found so far. There were eight (8) churches built on the same site, after destruction by earthquakes, fires or bombs. It appears they all looked alike. The present basilica is Manila Cathedral (VIII).

||| Though the Manila Cathedral (III) — a grand church with three naves and seven chapels — was blessed on Dec. 5, 1614, the Japanese refugees did not drop in ‘to say a little prayer.’ Perhaps some scaffolding still stood in the way. But in later days, all the Japanese Christian exiles attended Masses – not only at the Manila Cathedral – but in all six churches of Intramuros.

◘ ||| The Governor-General then placed his carriage at the disposal of Don Justo to bring him, his wife Doña Justa ‘Shino’ Takayama, his daughter Lucia Yokoyama and his five grandsons to the Colegio San Jose (in the Jesuit compound now occupied by Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.). Don Juan Ronquillo, with a guard of soldiers and an escort of noble persons, accompanied the carriage. Such a large crowd turned out to see the entourage that it was difficult to pass through the throng desirous of showing honor to the exiles. On its way to the Jesuit College, the cortege passed by San Agustin Church, where the bells were rung, and the clergy came to the doors, and music of various kinds greeted the Japanese.

At the San Agustin Chuch, Intramuros, Manila

Japanese pilgrims may want to visit the Tomb of Legazpi – at the ‘Capilla de Legazpi’ to the left of the Main Altar of San Agustin Church. The tomb of El Adelantado, the Spanish Governor-General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (1502-1572), who died 43 years earlier, was the inspiration for Lord Takayama’s tomb – at the Jesuit Santa Ana Church (which was totalled by earthquakes in 1616-1625).

The Jesuit ‘Iglesia de Santa Ana’ (1590-1625) was the centerpiece of the Jesuit compound.
The Jesuit ‘Iglesia de Santa Ana’ (1590-1625), copied from the ‘Il Gesù Church’ (1568), the central church of the Jesuit order in Rome, was the centerpiece of the Jesuit compound in Intramuros, Manila

||| On reaching the Jesuit College, they visited the Santa Ana Church where they were met with the same festive sounds of bells and clarinets as in the other churches.

The ancient Latin hymn of praise “Te Deum Laudamus

Here, the Japanese exiles chanted the ancient Latin hymn of praise “Te Deum Laudamus” to thank God for the exiles’ deliverance from a perilous voyage: We praise thee, O God : we acknowledge thee to be the Lord. / All the earth doth worship thee : the Father everlasting. / To thee all Angels cry aloud : the Heavens, and all the Powers therein. / To thee Cherubim and Seraphim: continually do cry, Holy, Holy, Holy : Lord God of Hosts…”

As the “Te Deum” was the battle-hymn of “The 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki” (1597) as they, with their left ears lobbed off, were force-marched barefoot through the snow from Kyoto to Nagasaki — a distance of some 1,000 km — passing through Sakai, Osaka, Hyogo, Akashi, Himeji, Okayama, Mihara, Hiroshima, Shimonoseki, Kokura, Shigashima, Hakata, Tokitsu, and finally, Nishizaka (Nagasaki) — which the martyrs (including the Franciscan missionary, St. Pedro Bautista, of San Francisco del Monte, Manila) covered in 27 days – it may be presumed that “Takayama’s 350,” who were all living on the edge of martyrdom, knew the Latin hymn by heart.

PLM University Chapel — consecrated by Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin on Dec. 17, 1990 — was built in the Jesuit compound where Blessed Takayama died — and was buried.

◘ ||| From the Jesuits’ Santa Ana Church, the ‘350 Japanese Christian exiles’ were conducted to the Jesuit refectory where they had their first meal since landing, and afterwards shown to some good houses near the Jesuit College which had been prepared for them. Everyone co-operated to show honor to the exiles.

◘ ||| The earthquake-ravaged Jesuit-owned Santa Ana Church, now the site of Pamantasan ng Maynila [City University of Manila] – was where the original tomb of Takayama was located. PLM has erected the PLM University Chapel there, which Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin inaugurated in 1995.

One Japanese acquaintance of Lord Takayama visited him in Intramuros. The meeting was held here in the garden adjacent to the San Agustin Church

◘ ||| San Agustin Church — The Inner Court Garden is where Lord Takayama met with Japanese visitors bringing news from Japan.

One of four cannons pointed at Dilao settlement — in the area now occupied by Manila City Hall

◘ |||  (OPTIONAL) The Bastion de San Francisco de Dilao (at the Muralla), whose four cannons were pointed at the Japanese settlement – showing that the cannons were aimed directly at the Manila City Hall, which was the original location of the Dilao community in 1592, when it was designated for Manila Japanese residents.

San Marcelino Church — site of the original ‘nihon-machi’ of Japanese transients (not the Japanese Christian exiles).

◘ |||  (OPTIONAL) San Marcelino Church (St. Vincent de Paul Church) where a Memorial Mass for Takayama Ukon was celebrated on Sept. 20, 1942 by Osaka Bishop Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi, with Philippine government officials in attendance.

Fr. Toru Albert Nishimoto, CSsR, was instrumental in securing the permission of the Vincentian Fathers for the erection of this Japanese Christian marker.

At the side of the church is a marker (in the form of a Cross) commissioned by Ryohei Fujimoto, from Kyoto, to commemorate the first Japanese nihon-machi in Dilao. This marker was inaugurated on April 25, 2002 by Manila Mayor Jose “Lito” Atienza (r. 1998-2007).

◘ ||| The center of all Takayama pilgrimages since 1977 was the Takayama Memorial that was the centerpiece of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park at Plaza Dilao, certifiably the area where the fourth Japanese settlement (originally established in 1592) was relocated in 1764.

But in 2018, the Takayama Memorial is currently inaccessible as major infrastructure construction (Skyway-3 project) proceeds behind the statue. It will take two more years before the Skyway project is completed — and the status of the Takayama Memorial is clarified.

◘ ||| The Takayama Memorial, inaugurated Nov. 17, 1977 at the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park at Plaza Dilao, Paco, Manila. The bronze statue was made by the Japanese convert Johannes Masaaki Nishimori. Three other ‘twins’ of this statue, cast from the same mold, stand in Takatsuki, Takaoka and Shodoshima, Japan.

The Takayama Memorial was the centerpiece of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park (est. 1977), but has now been ‘eclipsed’ by the ongoing construction of the MP-3 Skyway.

◘ ||| But work for ‘Skyway-3’ is currently going on in the Plaza Dilao area. The situation will not clear up for another two years.

In 2018, the Takayama statue at Plaza Dilao is ‘caged’ in steel and wiremesh.

◘ |||  Instead of the ‘mothballed’ Takayama Memorial, visit the Paco Catholic Church, which has the only altar-statue (so far) of Blessed Justo Takayama in the Philippines. The Paco Catholic Church (San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church) ministered to a Japanese community of 3,000 in the 1610s. The first statue of Blessed Takayama (donated by the family of Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro, Takayama Trustee) was enshrined here on Dec. 21, 2017 — exactly 403 years after Ukon’s arrival in Manila.

The San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church in Paco, Manila
The Takayama Thanksgiving Mass was celebrated by Rev. Msgr. Rolando dela Cruz, Paco parish priest — with seven priests from the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia and Belgium concelebrating.

◘ |||  The UST Chapel (site of the annual Takayama Memorial Mass since 1987); site where one of the FOUR Japanese seminarians (from the Imperial Japanese Army’s Catholic Unit) who enrolled at the UST Central Seminary during World War II, was ordained a priest on January 5, 1945; where three Popes – Pope Paul VI (1970), St. Pope John Paul II (1981, 1995) and Pope Francis (2015) — have celebrated Masses.

Takayama Memorial at the entrance of the UST Graduate School. With the Takayama Memorial at Plaza Dilao “in mothballs,” this is the only public memorial of Takayama in Manila in 2018.

◘ ||| The Thomas Aquinas Research Center (also at UST), at whose entrance a Takayama statue stands. The statue, which had been the centerpiece of a now-defunct ‘Takayama Garden Restaurant’ (open August 1985-February 2002) in Greenhills, San Juan City was donated to UST by the De Mesa Sisters – Erlinda de Mesa-Yap, Diana de Mesa-Santamaria, and Ruby de Mesa-Borja — who were the co-proprietors of the three-branch chain.

(LUNCH BREAK: After memento photographs are taken at the Memorial — in pre-Skyway-3 days — the Tour breaks off for lunch at the Philippine Columbian Clubhouse, which serves a great menu of Filipino dishes.)

The famous Marian icon “La Japona” was brought to Satsuma, Japan on June 1, 1602 by the first Dominican missionaries. The statue was ‘extracted’ from the soon-to-be-demolished Santo Domingo Church in Nagasaki in 1614 — and entrusted to the care of Lord Justo Takayama during the voyage of exile to Manila.

◘ |||  Visit to the statue of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (“La Japona”) which was “rescued” and brought to Manila from Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Nagasaki by Lord Takayama and is now enshrined as one of three iconic images of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary – (La Naval; La Mexicana, and La Japona) — at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City.

The entrance to the Jesuit Cemetery at the Sacred Heart Novitiate (est. 1932) in Novaliches, Quezon City.

◘ |||  (OPTIONAL) — A side trip to Takayama’s putative gravesite at the Jesuit Cemetery at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, Quezon City, where the remains of Jesuit niches (including presumably the bones of Lord Ukon Takayama and Lord Tocuan Naito) at the bombed-out San Ignacio (II) Church in Intramuros were transferred in December 1945.

Kyoto Bishop Paul Yoshinao Otsuka, Chairman of the CBC/Japan’s Commission for the Promotion of Saints, inspects US Army ammunition box containing boners collected from the Jesuits’ San Ignacio (II) Church in Intramuros

After bringing back to Japan in 2012 a number of bones from the two putative crypts, Kyoto Bishop Paul Yoshinao Otsuka (b. 1954- ), Chairman of the CBCJ Committee for the Promotion of Saints, concluded they could not make a definite determination – if indeed Takayama’s bones were among the remains in the crypts. But many Japanese pilgrims still opt to visit the Novaliches Jesuit Cemetery.)

For over 400 years, the Jesuit/PLM Compound in Intramuros has been the educational center of ‘Old Manila.’ Today, the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) is a City of Manila-funded scholars’ university — no tuition fees for students — attracting the best and brightest graduates from public schools.

◘ |||  Note to Japanese Pilgrims and their Tour Coordinators: PLM is a public university with a ‘gated’ campus. You do not walk in — unannounced. Proper representations must be made beforehand with PLM authorities to visit the PLM University Chapel — which is for the use of its own campus residents.

On Feb. 3, 2018, the first 60 Takayama Pilgrims from Japan visited the old Jesuit compound where the ‘Kirishitan Samurai’ Justo Takayama died on Feb. 3, 1615. For the first time, they trod on ground where Blessed Takayama (1552-1615) spent the last 44 days of his life. (Photo by Robert Queddeng)
The PLM University Chapel — the religious center of the PLM campus — stands in the Jesuit Compound where Lord Justo Takayama died on Feb. 3, 1615. It was also in this compound where he was buried. (Photo by Yuya Cruz, Ars Dream Manila.)

◘ ||| Now that — after 403 years — Japanese Pilgrims have ‘discovered’ the PLM University Chapel, this will be an important pilgrimage destination — with the permission of the PLM University Regents. It was ‘hallowed ground’ for the 60-man Takayama Pilgrim Group, led by two Japanese Archbishops, four Bishops, and six Priests who attended the celebration of the First Feastday of Blessed Takayama on Feb. 3, 2018.

To Japanese pilgrims making this tour, we present BRONZE MEDALLIONS with the legend: “IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF / JUSTUS UKON TAKAYAMA.”

Dr. ERNESTO A. DE PEDRO
Managing Trustee
Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation

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