A ‘New’ Takayama Bronze, 1966 – To Add to Our Gallery

►The most celebrated bronze of Dom Justo Ukon Takayama (高山右近), 1552-1615; beatified 2017), is the “Samurai of Christ” that stands as the centerpiece of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park at Plaza Dilao, Paco, Manila. This was the work of the Japanese Catholic convert, Johannes Masaaki Nishimori, who trained in Italy and made his first sculpture there. Returning to Japan, he established the “Atelier Pisano.”

The Takayama statue at Plaza Dilao, inaugurated on Nov. 17, 1977,  was actually the FOURTH bronze made by Nishimori.

The original was erected ● at the Shiroato Historical Park in Takatsuki City (Osaka Prefecture) in 1972.

Other Takayama “twins” are ● at Kojyo Park in Takaoka (Toyama Prefecture) – whose castle had been repaired by Lord Takayama while he was in the employ of the Maeda clan, and in ● Takamatsu – at the entrance of the Shodoshima Sonosho Catholic Church of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus.

►Then there’s the famous mounted Samurai-General.

►But a “new” one – not yet seen at Google/Images — is that sculpted by Yasutake Funakoshi (舟越 保武, 1912–2002), the Japanese artist who created the sculptures of the “Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan “ from 1958 to 1962, and later the “Hara-no-Jo “(原の城, Christian samurai).

For the landmark sculpture, he was awarded the “Takamura Kōtarō Prize “ (高村光太郎賞受賞). The Pope bestowed on the 1950 Catholic convert the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1964.

For the latter sculpture he received the Nakahara-Teijirō-Prize (中原悌二郎賞) in 1972.

Bronze by Yasutake Funakoshi

►In 1966 — four years after his work at the the “26 Martyrs’ Shrine” at Nagasaki was completed — Funakoshi made a bronze of Dom Justo Ucondono measuring 80 cm (31.5 inches). Funakoshi shows a pensive Takayama wearing, not a katana, but a crucifix. He seems to be past all worldly worries, with an eye cast — not on the current persecutions that befell him or the forthcoming exile to Manila that was his fate — but on the great beyond.#

Takayama Ukon
Bronze statue of Dom Justo Ucondono by Yasutake Funakoshi
Ukon Takayama by Y. Funakoshi
Ukon Takayama by Yasutake Funakoshi

’26 Martyrs’ Shrine’ at Nagasaki

►The bronze sculptures at the “26 Martyrs’ Shrine” in Nagasaki were created by Yasutake Funakoshi from 1958 to 1962.#

Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
Takayama Trustee

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