Accorded a State Funeral, Did Spanish Government Consider Takayama as a ‘Filipino’

Blessed Takayama Ukon Blessed by Cardinal Tagle
Image of Blessed Justus Ukon Takayama was installed at the PLM University Chapel on June 29, 2019 by Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. The PLM/Jesuit Compound was where Takayama lived the last 44 days of his life. It was here too where he was entombed till 1889 — when his remains were transferred to the Jesuits’ new San Ignacio Church (II) on Arzobispo St., Intramuros, Manila.

►Banished from his native Japan, settling in Manila with 350 other Christians deportees, Lord Justus Ukon Takayama (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila; beatified 2017) lived the last 44 days of his life as guest of the Jesuits in Intramuros, and was welcomed as a revered Christian of heroic virtue by the Manila Archdiocese.

The Spanish Governor General, Juan de Silva (r.  April 1609 – April 19, 1616) was “a daily visitor” – to the Jesuits’ guesthouse “Casa San Miguel” at the Jesuit Compound (now the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila [PLM] Campus) in Intramuros where Takayama and his family lived — exploring how Spain might assist the beleaguered Christians in Kyushu – with the assumed military support of the Christian Daimyos in that region. Uh-uh. Ukon replied: You do not understand Japan.

Gov. De Silva was proposing to invade Kyushu with an invasion force of some 6,000 Spanish troops  – under the generalship of Lord Takayama, Japan’s most illustrious Christian samurai. De Silva was under the conceit that one Spaniard was worth 10 Japanese. Wow!

(To understand the martial infrastructure of Japan, when Toyotomi forces (often called the Western Army) battled the Tokugawa Shōgun‘s forces (the Eastern Army) near Osaka on June 5, 1615, Hideyori had 50,000 troops; Tokugawa had 150,000. And Silva proposed to take on Japan through an invasion force of 6,000?)

But Takayama died on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 1615 – ending Gov. De Silva’s ardent hopes to liberate Japan for the Spanish crown.

Did Takayama Die as a Filipino?

►“Filipinos” in Takayama’s time (1614-1615) referred to Spaniards born in the Philippines. The Malays — native born inhabitants of the Philippines (today’s Filipinos) — were called “indio” or “indigenta,” and the ArabsJapaneseHan Chinese and Indians who formed part of the population — were “banyaga” (in Sanskrit, Vanijaka (वणिजक), the word for merchant, trader, foreigner.

Before Takayama arrived on Dec. 21, 1614 with 350 “refugees and migrants,” there were already 3,000 Japanese – mostly in Paco, San Roque (in Cavite) and Agoo, La Union. This, according to the first census in the Philippines in 1591, based on tributes collected.

(The tributes count the total founding population of Spanish-Philippines as 667,612 people, of which: some 20,000 were Chinese migrant traders, at different times: around 16,500 individuals were Latino soldier-colonists who were cumulatively sent from Peru and Mexico and they were shipped to the Philippines annually; some 3,000 were Japanese residents, and about 600 were pure Spaniards from Europe. There was also a large but unknown number of Indian Filipinos. The rest of the population were Malays and Negritos. Thus, with merely 667,612 people, during this era, the Philippines was among the most sparsely populated lands in Asia. In contrast, Japan during that era (the 1500s) already had a population of 8 Million, compared to the Philippine’s mere 600,000.)

Though not a “Filipino,” Takayama was certainly a Japanese-born Manila Catholic – absorbed into the Manila Archdiocese. Under the Church’s rubrics, “where a person dies is where he is born to Heaven.” By that was meant that, the Manila Archdiocese considered Ukon as a “Son of Manila” – a Manila Catholic – and therefore, proceeded to propose Ukon to the Vatican as the first candidate for sainthood from the Manila Archdiocese.#

Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
Takayama Trustee

 

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