►THE GOAL we fervently pray for is the CANONIZATION of Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615), “Son of Manila” – the only Japanese “Samurai of Christ” who was “martyred” outside Japan. That can happen only if we pray for Blessed Takayama to intercede with God for the miracle-healing of one of God’s children, through Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (高山右近), 1552 Osaka-1615 Manila) had an illustrious career as a Daimyo (feudal governor) in Japan. A Christian convert from Buddhism at age 11, Ukon became a pillar of the early church of Japan when he became Daimyo of Takatsuki (r. 1573-1585), building churches and seminaries in his territory as well as other domains. He fought battles for Three Hegemons of Japan: Oda Nobunaga; Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. In 1587, Takayama was stripped of his domain in Akashi for refusing to abjure his Faith and went to domestic exile in Kanazawa, where he served as guest-general (“Kyakusho”) of Lord Toshiee Maeda of Kaga. During his exile in Kanazawa, 1587-1614, Takayama built two Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) for 600 displaced Christian samurai he gathered in Shika-machi (志賀町) and Shio-machi (志雄町), both located in Hakui District, Ishikawa Prefecture. When ordered expelled from Japan in 1614, along with missionaries and Japanese Catholics, Takayama led the first exile boat with 350 Catholics deportees to Manila, a precursor of waves of Japanese Catholic migrants and refugees over the next 262 years. Only 44 days after his arrival in Manila, Takayama earned his martyrdom with his death on Feb. 3, 1615. Takayama was recognized as a Japanese-born Manileno — and was proposed for beatification in 1630 as the first candidate of the Philippine Church.#
Aida M. de Pedro
Auxuliary, Missionary Disciples for the New Evangelization