Promoting “Canonization of Blessed Takayama” — with Spread of Altar-Statues

Osaka Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda venerating official image of Blessed Takayama at the Manila Cathedral

►The first order for an altar-statue of Blessed Takayama from outside the Philippines came from – surprise! — “Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church” (est. 1865) in Wilmington, California.

Another Takayama statue being blessed by Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

As in ALL past orders, there’s a Pinoy element involved. Pinoy parishioners pooled resources to make the amount – which they presented to their pastor.

Takayama altar-statue installed at the Manila Cathedral-Basilica

►Fr. Hildebrand Garceau, O. Praem., pastor of St. Peter and St. Paul Church, in Wilmington, California wrote on January 18: “We hope you will provide an official image of Blessed Takayama for our parish. We have an active community of parishioners who are devoted to Blessed Takayama and want to promote his canonization.”

St. Peter and St. Paul Church, in Wilmington, California

►For this particular acquisition by the Wilmington Parish Church, there was a Badoc connection.

Several residents of Long Beach and Wilmington, CA – who originated from Badoc, Ilocos Norte – were flying home to attend the elevation on Feb. 5 of the Badoc Parish Church to a Minor Basilica – and the dedication of a side altar to ● Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615), who was martyred in Manila, with another for ● San Lorenzo Ruiz (1600-1637), Pro-Martyr of the Philippine Church.

Active parishioners energize their parishes!#

Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
Takayama Trustee

Add Your Mite to the ‘Takayama Altar-Statue Fund’

Osaka Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda viewing the first “new” altar-statue of Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama on Dec. 8, 2018, when he represented Pope Francis as Papal Legate to the 60th Jubilee Celebration of the Manila Cathedral

►As our Manila-based movement for the Canonization of Blessed Takayama distributes sponsored statues to 💒 cathedrals, 💒 churches, 💒 convents and 💒 shrines, it is costing a little something to produce, crate and ship out — but not much.

To add your “mite” to the “TAKAYAMA ALTAR-STATUE FUND,” please contribute the cost of a ramen lunch / or a burger to: ◘ MetroBank (Philippines) — for credit to “Blessed Justo Takayama Research Service” – Acct. No. #347-3-34757405-9. Please email a CP photo of your remittance to <>. Acknowledgement will be made by PM or email. An official receipt will be issued — if a street or P.O. address is indicated.

Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle — blessing a Blessed Takayama image to mark the celebration of the 404th anniversary of the arrival of Lord Takayama and 350 Christian exiles from Japan — on Dec. 21, 2018.

Whether your parish church is in the Philippines, Japan or the United States (where Takayama statues have been installed) – or any diocese where there is a devotion to Blessed Takayama – we will find ways to ship a replica of the Takayama Statue that was installed at the Manila Cathedral-Basilica on Dec. 8, 2018 — Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and 60th Jubilee of the reconstruction and dedication of the postwar Manila Cathedral (1958).

Blessed Takayama is just ONE miracle away from Canonization. With your fervent prayers and your support – and if it be the will of God — we will have a new, singular intercessor for God’s grace in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ — in this Christian samurai of heroic virtue who died a martyr in Manila on Feb. 3, 1615.#

Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
Takayama Trustee

Takayama Iconography 101: What Did Ukon Look Like?

What did Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615) really look like? It depends on the artist!

►Here are iconic samples:

● 36” woodcarving by celebrated Paete artist Paloy Cagayat at the Manila Cathedral (2018).

● Painting by Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833-1904).

● Painting by Domoto Insho at main altar of the Osaka Cathedral (1964).

● 12-ft bronze statue by Johannes Masaaki Nishimori at the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park in Plaza Dilao, Paco, Manila (1977).

● Book cover for “Kirishitan Daimyo: Takayama Ukon” by Shinzuke Tani (published by the Daughters of St. Paul, 1979).#

►Our favorite Takayama illustration – because it combines a “Kirishitan samurai” and a large Cross that was his “Cause” – is a sketch in the book “Kirishitan Daimyo: Takayama Ukon” by Shinzuke Tani (Tokyo: The Daughters of St. Paul, 1979).

► ● The official portrait of Ukon Takayama used at the 2017 Beatification Rites at Osaka-jo Hall.

► ● Sustaita

►Manga (Japanese comics) fans may prefer this new painting by Shinrin Sam Bros (2019).#

►When a parish / chapel / shrine needs an altar-statue of Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama, this 36” statue (shown being blessed by Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle) is what we supply.

For those wanting to have the 36” altar-statue — (the only model currently in production) – please indicate the name of the requesting parish or shrine — and email this to []

In ‘Arc of Grace,’ the First Eucharistic Mass Reaches Ukon’s 1552 Birthplace

►The town of Toyono-cho spent months preparing for this historic celebration that honors their most illustrious townmate who has earned a worldwide reputation as a Christian of heroic virtue — worthy for other people to emulate.

The Christian Samurai, Justo Ukon Takayama — born in Toyono-cho, Osaka Prefecture ~ Painting by Shinrin Sam Bros (2019)

►Osaka Archbishop Thomas Aquinas Manyo Cardinal Maeda — who was entrusted by Pope Francis to the patronage and protection of Blessed Justo Takayama when he served as Papal Legate to Manila during the 60th Jubilee Celebration of the Postwar Reconstruction of the Manila Cathedral (Dec. 8, 2018) – is celebrating the historic Mass.

Could the Shinto-Buddhist townmates of Ukon really appreciate the Catholic ceremony?

Fortunately for them — for two years running — Toyono-cho representatives  (all Shinto / Buddhists) have visited Manila to touch base with Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada, and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle – as they trace the footsteps of their illustrious son, Ukon Takayama – ● once in July 2017 to attend the Philippine Conference of New Evangelization (PCNE-4) and ● another Takayama Pilgrimage led by then-Archbishop Maeda in April 2018.

Japanese pilgrims joining Takayama Pilgrimages to Manila attend Mass fervently at the Manila Cathedral — Catholics and Buddhists alike.

Whenever they attended Masses – at the Manila Cathedral and at the Santísimo Rosario Parish (UST Chapel) – they prayed with profound reverence. They watched the wafting of incense — that’s a universal symbol of worship in every religion.

When Catholics pray during Mass: “Lord, from the rising of the sun to its setting, your name is worthy of all praise. Let our prayer come like incense before you. May the lifting up of our hands be as an evening sacrifice acceptable to you, Lord our God” – that prayer expresses a universal sentiment across all religions.

Preserving Ukon’s Memory

►Toyono-cho has erected two giant granite statues of Justo Ukon Takayama and his wife, Dona Justa Kuroda Takayama.

This is the firs representation of the Takayama couple together.

►They keep Ukon’s memory alive by establishing a town-hall — “Ukon-no-Sato” (Takayama Community Center) in Takayama Village, Toyono-cho.

Two active promoters of Ukon’s memory are: ● “Honor-Ukon-Takayama-Couples-Gathering” and ● “Ukon Takayama Canonization Promotion Committee.”

The town-hall — “Ukon-no-Sato” (Takayama Community Center) in Takayama Village — treasures ● a statue of Lord Takayama sourced from the “Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama” in Manila, and ● a copy of the Vatican Parchment sent by Pope Sixtus V to “Justo Ucondono” in 1590.

This Apostolic Blessing, sent by Pope Sixtus V in 1590, was retrieved from the Vatican Archives by a team of Jesuit researchers, headed by Sophia University’s Fr. Hubert Cieslik, SJ.

►Yearly, they reenact Ukon’s wedding — giving everyone a chance to strut off their finest medieval wardrobe.

The “Takayama Wedding” is an annual special event that the Toyono-cho townspeople look forward to.
The Wedding of Ukon Takayama.
The reenactment is with great fidelity to historical details.

Grave of Maria Takayama is Part of Toyono-cho Heritage

►The grave of Ukon’s mother — Maria Takayama — wife of Tomoteru Takayama (高山友照), later known as Darius Zusho Takayama (1531–1596), is located in Toyono-cho, where it is a tourist attraction to this day.

The gravesite of Maria Takayama (d. 1596), mother of Blessed Justo Takayama, still draws domestic tourists today to the ancestral Takayama Village in Toyono-cho, Osaka Prefecture. (@Yui Yamada, Philippine Department of Tourism-Osaka).

Maria Takayama was the mother of three Takayama sons, the eldest being Justus (and thus heir), and three daughters. When Ukon was stripped of his feudal domain in Akashi (1587), Maria joined Ukon during his 27-year domestic exile in Kanazawa — but when she died in 1596, the Takayama family chose to bury her in the ancestral village of Takayama in Toyono-cho, Osaka Prefecture. (That’s an acknowledgement by the Takayama family themselves that Toyono-cho, Osaka Prefecture was their hometown.)

Cardinal Maeda Visits Toyono-cho Feb. 16, 2019

►An unprecedented Eucharistic Mass commemorating Ukon’s birthplace and the Beatification of Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama on Feb. 7, 2017 will be officiated by Osaka Archbishop Thomas Aquinas Manyo Cardinal Maeda. There is no mention in Jesuit archives that a Mass was ever celebrated in Toyono-cho although it is mentioned that the Japanese Jesuit Brother Lorenzo — a wandering minstrel who himself was converted by Saint Francis Xavier — had spent some 40 days preaching in the Takayama village and the adjoining Yono village. Ukon’s father was a fervent Buddhist who was won over to Christianity by the eloquent preaching of Brother Lorenzo.

But Brother Lorenzo could only preach; he was not an ordained minister — so Cardinal Maeda may be the first priest to celebrate the Mass in Ukon’a birthplace.

Date: February 16, 2019, Saturday

◘ Venue: Ukon-no-Sato (Takayama community center in Takayama Village), Toyono Town, Osaka Prefecture.

1:20 PM — Opening Ceremony and Presentation of Appreciation & Opening Remarks by Toyono Town Mayor Hon. Isao Ikeda

2:20 PM — Mass Commemorating the Birthplace and the Beatification of Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama to be officiated by Thomas Aquinas Manyo Cardinal Maeda

3:20 PM — Handbell performance by students of the Assumption School.

The program is hosted by ● “Honor-Ukon-Takayama-Couples-Gathering” — in collaboration with ● “Ukon Takayama Canonization Promotion Committee.”

Cardinal Maeda

Cardinal Maeda himself is descended from a family of “Hidden Christians” (Kakure Kirishitans) who survived underground as they continued to practice Christianity in secret.

They worshipped in secret rooms in private homes. As time went on, the figures of the saints and the Virgin Mary were transformed into figurines that looked like the traditional statues of the Buddha and “bodhisattvas”; depictions of Mary modeled on the Buddhist deity Kannon, goddess of mercy, became common, and were known as “Maria Kannon.” The prayers were adapted to sound like Buddhist chant, yet retained many untranslated words from LatinPortuguese, and Spanish. The Bible and other parts of the liturgy were passed down orally, because printed works could be confiscated by authorities.

The Virgin Mother morphed into the Buddhist deity “Maria Kannon”

Because of the official expulsion of the Catholic clergy in the 17th century, the Kakure Christian community relied on lay leaders to lead the services. In some cases, the communities drifted away from Christian teachings. They lost the meaning of the prayers and their religion became a version of the cult of ancestors, in which the ancestors happened to be their Christian martyrs.

Recognizing that the places of “hidden” Christianity in Japan are the heritage of humanity, the UNESCO has included 12 sites in Nagasaki and in the Amakusa region on its World Listing. The places are symbols of the persecution perpetrated against Christians during the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1868).

A ‘Miracle of the East’

►Pope Pius IX (b. 1792; r. 1846-1878) has considered the discovery of “Hidden Christians” a “miracle of the East”: after the inauguration of the Oura Churdh in Nagasaki, a group of people from the village of Urakami asked Fr. Bernard Petitjean (1829 – 1884) — one of the two missionaries who built it — to be able to enter the church to “greet Mary.” They were “Kakure Kirishitans,” descendants of the first Japanese Christians forced into anonymity, and were followed by tens of thousands of underground Christians who came to the cathedral and resumed Christian practice.

[The remains of the castle of Hara was also included in the UNESCO list.  It was one of the scenes of the Catholics revolt “Shimabara-Amakusa Rebellion” (1637), as a result of which the persecution became harsher. Another site is the village Sakitsu, in the prefecture of Kumamoto (Amakusa), where Christians continued to practice their faith in secret.]

Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda told the “Japan Times” that the recognition will allow people to discover the history of Christianity in Japan, “summarized” in forgiveness and understanding: “The [UNESCO] registration brings with it something profound and meaningful, in which a true peace for peoples comes when there is respect for each other.”

Cardinal  Maeda is working for the beatification of “hidden Christians” who had been exiled to Tsuwano in present-day Shimane prefecture, part of Hiroshima Diocese. In the final outbreak of anti-Christian persecution in Japan 150 years ago, some 3,400 Christians from Nagasaki were exiled to various places throughout the country.

Nagasaki Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami

►The Archbishop of Nagasaki, Msgr. Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, expresses the same satisfaction to “AsiaNews”: “For 250 years, Christianity has been persecuted in Japan. Now, it is recognized in its history, and many more Japanese are beginning to take an interest in Christianity.”

The rediscovery of the Japanese Christian history must also involve the faithful themselves, called to study “the history of their ancestors”: for this, on April 1, 2018, the diocese of Nagasaki inaugurated a museum on the history of Japanese Christianity, within the old residence of the bishop. “We need to remember history because it’s not the buildings that are important — concludes Archbishop Takami — but the story behind them. It is this history of faith that has universal value.”

Takayama Village, in Toyono-cho has remained relatively pristine, despite being in the highly industrialized Osaka Prefecture.

Toyono-cho is part of the Osaka Archdiocese – as well as the birthplace of Ukon Takayama, Japan’s most celebrated Christian samurai.

Cardinal Maeda’s visit is less an opportunity to evangelize – but more for Ukon’s townmates to reflect on why the Takayama family, then living at Sawa fortress in Haibara-cho, Nara Prefecture, a stronghold held by Ukon’s father, Takayama Tomoteru (1531–1596), for the Daimyo Matsunaga Hisahide (松永 久秀), 1508–1577, in Yamato Province (today in Haibara-cho, Nara Prefecture) — was moved to convert from Buddhism (as in Toyono-cho today) en masse in 1564.#

Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
Takayama Trustee

Marian Shrine in Badoc, Ilocos Norte To Be Elevated to a Minor Basilica

Since 1620, “La Milagrosa Virgen de Badoc” has been the Mediatrix of Grace for the people of Ilocos Norte

►The Vatican has approved a request from the Laoag Diocese to elevate the St. John the Baptist Parish Church — also known as “the Shrine of La Virgen de Milagrosa de Badoc, in Ilocos Norte” — to minor basilica status, a privilege granted by the Pope.

“The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments … very willingly bestows upon the parish church … the title and dignity of a Minor Basilica,” read the decree.

Bishop Renato Mayugba of Laoag confirmed in a circular in his diocese news of their church’s elevation.

Elevation of St. John the Baptist Church in Badoc, Ilocos Norte — to a Minor Basilica on Feb. 5, 2019

According to canon law, no church building can be honored with the title of basilica unless by apostolic grant. Today, only the Pope through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is authorized to grant the decree.

►The 40-day preparation for the elevation of the Shrine of La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc to a Minor Basilica in February has begun.

Laoag Bishop Renato Mayugba said it was important for the faithful “to be spiritually prepared for the big celebration.”

►The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments approved the request of the Diocese of Laoag to elevate the nearly 400-year-old Marian shrine to a Minor Basilica on November 30, 2018.

“We shall be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the presence of Our Lady of Badoc, the Japanese Madonna, in 2020. It was found floating on the sea in Barangay Dadalaquiten between Sinait, Ilocos Sur and Barangay Paguetpet in Badoc Ilocos Norte in 1620 with a large crucifix,” Bishop Mayugba said.

It is a symbol of the continuing mission of the Catholic Church to spread the Good News of the Lord and defend the faith especially in finding the image in conjunction with the persecution of Christians in Japan.

“With the elevation of the church in Badoc into a Minor Basilica and since the connection of Japan is very clear I feel a desire to share the faith back to Japan,” Bishop Mayugba said.

San Lorenzo Ruiz (c1600-1637) is the first canonized saint of the Philippines

◘ San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila (c1600-1637) was a sacristan (altar-server) at the Dominican Church in Binondo, Manila (now renamed Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz in Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish; this church was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 to serve Chinese converts to Christianity). Joining Dominican missionaries on a mission to Japan, Ruiz was tortured and killed in Nagasaki, Japan on September 28, 1637 with other missionaries — after he refused to abjure his Catholic faith. According to the record of his death, his last words were, “I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God. Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him I shall offer. Do with me as you please.”

Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615) — who died in exile in Manila on Feb. 3, 1615 — is venerated as the Philippine Church’s third “Blessed.” St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Badoc, Ilocos Norte is the first church outside the Manila Archdiocese to enshrine his altar-statue.

◘ Likewise, Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615), the celebrated Japanese Christian samurai who was considered a pillar  of the Catholic faith in Japan, was deported to Manila – along with 350 other Christians after refusing to abjure their Catholic faith. Ukon settled in Intramuros,  Manila – but died on February 3, 1615 —  only 44 days after arriving in the country.

Official poster for two chapels—to be dedicated to two Martyrs: ● San Lorenzo Ruiz and ● Blessed Justo Takayama

Two Side Altars – to be dedicated to San Lorenzo (1637) and Blessed Takayama (1615)

Two side altars — in the Minor Basilica — will be simultaneously blessed with both San Lorenzo Ruiz and Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama recognized as the two enduring bridges that bind the Christians of the Philippines and Japan.

Two side altars—to be dedicated to two Martyrs: ● San Lorenzo Ruiz and ● Blessed Justo Takayama

On December 27, 2018, the Laoag Diocese launched a 40-day preparatory celebration in St. John the Baptist Parish as the Minor Basilica.

Bishop Mayugba said that spiritual preparation explains to devotees the meaning of the Minor Basilica — and its contrast to ordinary Churches.

“That is the catechetical, spiritual and pastoral preparation,” Bishop Mayugba said.

The Laoag Bishop invites devotees to participate in the celebration which will be held on February 5, 2019.

Laoag Bishop Renato Mayugba meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

The official start of the day’s celebrations will be at 9:00 AM, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 – with the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, reading the Decree of Concession of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments raising the St. John the Baptist Church in Badoc, Ilocos Norte to a Minor Basilica — after nearly four centuries dedicated to “La Milagrosa Virgen de Badoc.”

The Eucharistic Mass will be presided by Cotabato Archbishop Emeritus Orlando Beltran Cardinal Quevedo and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle — with Cardinal Tagle delivering the homily.

The installation of the side altar for Blessed Takayama will be made by Osaka Archbishop Thomas Aquinas Manyo Cardinal Maeda. The installation of San Lorenzo Ruiz will be by Cardinal Quevedo, assisted by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).◘

Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
Takayama Trustee

Capsule History of Dilao – First Japanese ‘Nihon-machi’ in the Philippines

►THOUGH it is only a small patch of earth, Plaza Dilao was significant in the shared history of Philippine-Japanese relations (1593-2018):

Baluarte de San Francisco de Dilao, Intramuros, Manila — Built in 1592 by the Spanish government to deter threats and invasion by Hideyoshi. Renovated in 1622. Restored by the Intramuros Administration after its desctruction during the Battle for Manila (Feb. 3-March 3, 1945)

1593 – It memorializes the Dilao of old, which was the first nihon-machi of the early Japanese. The old Dilao, which was originally located just outside Intramuros (at the site now occupied by the Manila City Hall) was established in 1593 by the Spanish colonial government as the first district for Japanese residents of Manila – merchants, mercenaries, sailors, castaways, and survivors of shipwrecks. The Japanese Christians among them were placed in the care of Franciscan missionaries.

“UNDER THE GUN” — Dilao was under eight cannons of the Baluarte de San Francisco de Dilao, Intramuros, Manila — to quell any possible uprisings by the Japanese population

1603 — The districts of Dilao, San Miguel and Bagumbayan are in flames because of the Chinese rebellion. The Spaniards were joined by Tagalog and Japanese fighters in quelling the uprising. The rebellion was then quelled by the Spaniards, together with the support of Filipinos and the Japanese in the settlement of Dilao. The Japanese especially showed no mercy in the repression. Altogether 20,000 Chinese were killed. In 1603, there was a large massacre of around 20,000 Chinese, mostly of Fujianese Hoklo descent. The location was in Manila’s Parian de los Sangleyes (the Chinese quarter). Most of the San Miguel district, including its chapel was destroyed during the Chinese uprising of 1603.

Cannon points directly at the Manila City Hall, attesting that the original site of the Japanese “nihon-machi” was the City Hall area

1611 – Manila Archbishop Diego Vázquez de Mercado (1533 – 1616; r. June 13, 1604- June 12, 1616) constituted the San Miguel parish and assigned it to the Jesuits.

1611 — Andrea Caro described Manila in 1611: “Chinese without number, Japanese, East Indians, people of Malacca and Java, a great many Portuguese, French, Dutch, Flemings, immigrants from Italian, Greek and Sicilian cities, all these in addition to the natives of various tongues, tribes and islands, and the Spaniards, both men and women.”

The exile boat of Lord Takayama was a Portuguese-captained multi-masted Chinese junk — with a Japanese and Chinese crew of some 30 sailors

1614 – It memorializes the “350 Christians” from Japan who rather than abjure their Catholic religion, came to live in Manila. In December 1613, the governor of Kyoto started drawing up a list of Christians to expel. The Nagasaki government – run by the anti-Christian bugyo (governor) Hasegawa Fujihiro Sahyoe (1568-1617) — also had a “passenger list” of those to be exiled, but in the scramble for berths to Macau and Manila, they lost track of who was going where. Then, there were clandestine debarkations at “Dos Caballos” islands in the middle of Nagasaki Bay. Then came “fake news” – of this or that noble (including Takayama’s wife, Justa Kuroda Takayama) falling overboard and drowning, meaning: Don’t look for them anymore! As a passenger manifest, the Nagasaki list (of which there are many versions) was useless. But the list definitely included 23 Jesuit missionaries (15 Japanese and eight Europeans, minus Fr. Antonio Francisco Critana, SJ, who died on board the exile ship) and 15 Jesuit dojuku (Japanese male catechists).

The precious Marian icon – “Our Lady of the Rosary” — more popularly known as “La Japona” which had accompanied the first Dominican missionaries to Satsuma in 1602 – was entrusted to the care of Dom Justo Ukon Takayama – on the exile voyage to Manila in 1614. “La Japona” continues to be enshrined at the Santo Domingo Priory in Quezon City, Philippines.

But the historian and statesman Yosaburo Takekoshi (1865-1950), writing in The Economic Aspects of the History of the Civilization of Japan  (London: George Allen, 1930; Routledge: 2004) summarizes — without citing his source: “In all, there were 117 [nobles and missionaries – not counting the ship’s crew], and 200 students of theological schools” – which conforms with the generally-accepted ballpark figure of “350 Christian exiles” stated in Colin/Pastells.

In 1614, Manila welcomed “with a charity approaching veneration a fragment of the heroic church of Japan.” (Fr. Horacio de la Costa, SJ).

The first boat of Japanese exiles contained some 350 Christians who were banished for refusing to adjure their Catholic faith

◘◘◘ — Takayama’s group included his family – his wife Doña Justa Kuroda Takayama (who returned to Kanazawa before June 1616, with a bone relic of Takayama Ukon); a daughter, Lucia Yokoyama (wife of Yokoyama Daizen Yasuharu, 1590-1645, a high-ranked governor who remained in Kanazawa – in one Jesuit account, “at the explicit wish of Ukon”; but another Jesuit writes Yokoyama had apostatized “outwardly” to protect his position, greatly distressing Ukon who did not want his daughter Lucia to be living with “that apostate”); five (not three) grandchildren (aged 8-16), all surnamed Takayama, as they were children of Ukon’s son, Jujiro Takayama (d. 1608), and one nephew, Benedict Sandeyu.

◘◘◘ — Lord Juan Tocuan Naito (内藤 如安, 1550-1626), also known as Tadatoshi Naito, or Yukiyasu Naito, former lord of Kameyama and Yagi castles in Tanba, which he lost in 1573 for siding with Shogun Yoshiaki. During the Korean War, he fought under the command of Admiral Konishi Yukinaga; and served as Hideyoshi’s ambassador to the Ming Court in China (1594-1596) on account of his knowledge of Chinese characters. Though he was only two years older than Ukon, Naito was described in a Jesuit account as “already old and sickly.” He was accompanied by his wife, who outlived him; two sons, one of whom was identified as the samurai Thome Naito (who returned to Osaka in mid-1615 and was given command of 300 men at the epic Summer Campaign between Hideyori and Ieyasu), and Naito’s daughters. (The second son and a nephew were ordained priests in Manila; two daughters became Santa Clara nuns.) At the time of the expulsion, Lord Naito, described as “a distinguished soldier under Ieyasu,” and son Thome had been retainers of the Maeda clan in Kanazawa for 14 years. But they had criticized the severe anti-Christian measures of the Tokugawa Shogunate, so Ieyasu ordered their names added to the exile list.

◘◘◘ — Members of the first Japanese religious congregation for women, the Jesuit-chaplained Beatas de Meaco [Kyoto] or Miyako no Bikuni (Nuns of Kyoto, 1615-1656), led by Prioress Julia Naito (Lord Naito’s younger sister, and 14 other nuns, including Doña Mencia (1574-1641), second superior of the Beatas, after Mother Julia died in 1627; and Doña Tecla Ignacia (1579-1656), third superior of the Beatas, after Doña Mencia died. Other nuns include Doña Maria Iga; Doña Maria Muni (d. 1640, mother of Doña Tecla Ignacia); Doña Maria Park (a Korean noblewoman, c1572-1636); Doña Magdalena Nagashima, first cousin of Julia (c1577-1622), and Doña Luzia de la Cruz (1580-1656) — the last Japanese cloistered nun to die.

◘◘◘ — Mother Julia Naito had been widowed at 22, and became a Buddhist nun (later abbess of a Jodo-shu monastery.). In 1596, after hearing a sermon of Bro. Hoin Vicente Vilela (not to be confused with P. Gaspar Vilela, SJ), she received Baptism from Fr. Organtino, and took the name Julia. In 1606, she organized a women’s congregation devoted to catechetical work in Kyoto and environs which she called “Miyako no Bikuni” – under the care of Fr. Organtino and Fr. Pedro Morejon, SJ. By 1613, the Beatas had 18 nuns. At the start of the general persecution in 1614, Mother Julia hid the nine younger Beatas, while she and eight other well-born Beatas surrendered to authorities. They were subjected to the “tawarazume torture” wherein they were stripped naked, placed into old rice-bags tied tightly with rope, paraded around town, threatened to be brought to a brothel, then piled on top of each other on the banks of a river. This torture lasted nine days, but all the Beatas survived it without any of them apostatizing.

(This Japanese pioneering congregation preceded — by six years — the arrival of the Poor Clares (officially, the Order of Saint Clare) or the Spanish Clarissas, who arrived in Manila on August 5, 1621. The Spanish congregation of 10 nuns was led by Mother Jerónima de la Asunción (1555–1630) who was declared by the Vatican as a “Servant of God” in 1734. Since 1621, the Real Monasterio de Santa Clara (Royal Monastery of Saint Clare) has continually existed and still serves an active community of nuns.)

There were several dozen Japanese nobles, but their names have not surfaced yet. Those who have been identified were:

►Ukita Hisayasu (related to, but not a son of, Lord Ukita Hideie [1573-1655], member of The Council of Five Elders), who ruled from Okayama Castle over Bizen, Mimasaka, and part of Bitchu of provinces (with an estate of around 575,000 koku);

►*** Ukita Kyukan (with an estate of 1,500 koku);

►***Shinagawa Uhei [Hayakawa Uhyoe?] (1,000 koku);

►***Shibayama Gombei [Shinagawa Gombei] (500 koku),

►and an unnamed Christian daughter of the multi-married Daimyo of Bungo, Dom Francisco ŌTOMO Sōrin.

The three underlined names are mentioned in “Mitsubo Kikigaki” – an archival document in Kanazawa Bibliotheca — as among 70 Japanese nobles, Christian knights allied with Takayama Ukon, exiled to Tsugaru region on April 13, 1614.

But Papinot (1910) identifies three names in BOLDFACE as Ukon’s companions-in-exile in Manila.

Yosaburo Takekoshi (1930) likewise lists three names with asterisks (***) as Manila exiles.

(For both “Mitsubo Kikigaki” and Papinot / Yosaburo to be right, the three Tsugaru exiles – all faithful knights of Takayama for at least 12 years — would have hurried to join up with Takayama at Nagasaki for the voyage to Manila.)

The faithful Christian “ronin” accompanied Takayama on the exile voyage to Manila

◘◘◘ — Another fellow-exile was Diego Yuki Ryosetsu (a seminarian ordained as a Jesuit priest in Manila in 1615, and martyred in “the pit” in Osaka in 1635. He has come to recent recognition by being among 188 Japanese martyrs beatified in Nagasaki in 2008.

Blessed Diego Yuki Ryosetsu (1574-Feb. 16, 1636) arrived in Manila with Lord Justo Ukon Takayama’s exile group of 350 Japanese Christian deportees on Dec. 21, 1614. He completed his seminary studies at the San Jose Seminary (now relocated in Loyola Heights, Quezon City), where he was ordained. Knowing full well the risks of martyrdom, he returned to Japan to profess his ministry.

1615 — The Jesuit Church and the Jesuit residence in San Miguel district becomes a center for Japanese Christians.

1615-1626 – Lord Juan Tocuan Naito became Regidor of Dilao (first nihon-machi established in 1593) and San Miguel (second nihon-machi populated by Kirishitan exiles in 1614), collecting tributes for the Manila government from residents in these districts. Naito worked at translating Chinese medical  books (which he collected when he was an envoy in Peking) into Japanese, and applied his knowledge to cure the sick.

1616 — A Spaniard kills a Japanese in a brawl. A Japanese crowd started arming themselves, demanding justice. But Fr. Pedro de Montes, SJ, rector of the Jesuit College, manages to calm the Japanese.

1617 – The Japanese of Dilao take up arms against the government. After this was quelled, the government decided to raze Dilao and disperse its 1,500 residents to other suburbs.

1620 – There are 2,000 Japanese residents in Manila.

1621 – A new group of Japanese nobles, numbering some 200, arrive in Manila.

1621 — Archbishop Miguel Garcia Serrano, OESA (r. 1620-1629), reported to the king of Spain in 1621 that there are “more than 1,500 [Japanese] Christians … in the parochial church of Santiago, and in the villages of Dilao and San Miguel, which are suburbs of Manila, and in the port of Cavite” — but he pointed out that this was not a fixed population “because they are a people who go to and fro” to Japan.

1623 — Archbishop Garcia Serrano receives a request from Nagasaki Christians to establish a Japanese College in Manila. Gov. Alonso Fajardo sets aside a lot for this college. In 1636, the plan to build a seminary for Japanese seminarians was again considered, but dropped as an unnecessary aggravation to the Tokugawa Shogunate.

1626 — This is the year Lord Naito died in San Miguel. Balete ceased to be an independent municipality and was reincorporated into the town of Dilao. Thus, Balete has been forgotten, and it is Dilao — now known as Paco — that has remained through the years.

1627 – Prioress Julia Naito dies.

1632 — The third Tokugawa Shogun of Japan – Tokugawa Iemitsu (1604-1651; r. 1623-1651) — loaded 134 “converted Christians” on a ship and sent them to the Spanish authorities in Manila with a letter saying: “If it is converts you want, begin with these.” They turned out to be lepers, who soon spread the disease in the Philippines. Time Magazine remarked (in “Religion: Lepers”): “Before 1632 there was no leprosy in the Philippines.” (But the  Franciscan archivist,  Fr. Pedro Ruano, OFM, disputes this; Franciscan doctors encountered cases of leprosy in Manila soon after their arrival in 1578, when they established – in keeping with their healing ministry — a medical center and dispensary in Intramuros run by the lay Brother, Juan Clemente, OFM. The Franciscan dispensary had run for 56 years when Iemitsu’s lepers arrived.

The Japanese lepers became a part of Dilao history when the Franciscans sheltered them in a large compound they built in Dilao with government support, which they called San Lazaro – after St. Lazarus, patron saint for lepers. It was only in 1785 – 151 years later — that the leprosarium was transferred to Hacienda Mayhaligue, the site that the present-day San Lazaro Hospital, now a Special National Hospital Medical Center for Infectious Diseases, occupies in Rizal Avenue, Santa Cruz district, Manila.

1635 – A new shipload of Japanese Christians arrives from Japan.

1637 –The number of Japanese tribute payers was listed as 218 which, at an average of four members per household, translated to some 872 Japanese residents. This conforms to a report of the Japanese in Cambodia that the size of the Japanese community in Manila was some 800 in 1637. (Seiichi Iwao, Early Japanese Settlers in the Philippines.)

1638 — After the Shimabara Rebellion in 1637, many Japanese were deported to Macau or to the Spanish Philippines. Many Macanese and Japanese Mestizos are the mixed-race descendants of the deported Japanese Catholics. Some 400 were officially deported by the government to Macau and Manila, but thousands of Japanese were pressured into moving voluntarily. “About 10,000 Macanese and 3,000 Japanese were moved to Manila.”

1645 – A grievous earthquake shakes Manila (on Nov. 30) – lasting as long as four times the recital of the “Credo.”  The Jesuit church and Residence at San Miguel collapses. In Manila, damage was severe: it almost “crumbled” ten newly constructed churches in the capital, residential villas and other buildings. An estimated number of 600 Spanish people were killed, and about 3,000 Spanish were injured

1656 — The last Japanese cloistered nun – Doña Luzia de la Cruz — of the Beatas de Miyako (“Miyako no Bikuni“) dies four decades after their arrival in Manila. This marks the end of the cloistered Japanese nunnery as they had refused to admit Japanese or Tagalog additions to their ranks, including a Naito daughter who instead joined the Clarissas, and after she died, was replaced by another Naito relative.

1656 – San Miguel is listed as having 140 families, representing 560 people.

1720 — Fulminating against the expected ordination of Filipino priests, Fray Gaspar de San Agustin warns against the chastisement “of flourishing Christian communities by placing them in the  hands of natives ordained to the priesthood.” His objection: Filipinos’ pride “will be aggravated by their elevation to a sublime state; their avarice with the increased opportunities of pretoing on others; their sloth with their never having to work for a living; and their vanity with the adulation that they will necessarily seek; desiring to be served by those whom in another state in life they would have to respect and obey….”

c1724 — First Filipino is admitted to the priesthood.

1762 – As the Japanese population dwindled, the Dilao settlement moved to the site now occupied by the Paco Railroad Station and Plaza Dilao, according to Felix de Huerta. Medina notes: “As part of the war preparations against the British in 1762, the authorities moved Paco [as Dilao was then more popularly known] and located it between the city moat and the Pasig. The site constituted the land occupied before by the Bateria de Carlos IV, lying between Baluarte de Dilao and Puerta de Recoletos.”

1768 – San Miguel (the Kirishitan district) burns down. It is relocated near the Malacanan area.

1791 — The three towns of Dilao, Santiago and Pena de Francia were amalgamated into a new town collectively known as San Fernando de Dilao. The popular name — Dilao — now referred to the expanded area.

1898 – Plaza Dilao was the area proposed by the Philippine Historical Markers’ Committee in 1943 to commemorate the 25 Japanese volunteers who assisted Filipinos in their uprising against Spain in 1898.

1945 — During the Liberation of Manila (February 3 – March 3, 1945), 300 Japanese soldiers lost their lives defending the Paco Railway Station and the adjoining Plaza Dilao, to prevent American troops from advancing to South Manila. The battle for the Paco Railway Station changed hands three times during the fighting from Feb. 7-11, 1945. The battle ended on Feb. 11, 1945 – Kigensetsu Day (National Foundation Day of Japan) — when the 37th Infantry Division finally annihilated the Japanese defenders. The citations for the four Medals of Honor awarded to American soldiers confirmed the number of Japanese soldiers killed: 300.

Other World War II numbers:

◘◘◘ — More Than One Million Filipinos Dead: The Japanese Occupation cost the Philippines over 1,000,000 lives of its 17 million pre-war population.

◘◘◘ — Over 100,000 Filipinos Dead During Liberation Battle: The Battle for Manila (February 3 to March 3, 1945) caused over 100,000 deaths.

◘◘◘ — Death Toll of the Philippine Church: During the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines (1942-1945), the Philippine Church lost one Bishop; 62 secular clergy; 88 religious priests; nine chaplains; four deacons and scholastics; 37 Brothers and 86 Sisters. Total war casualties: 289.

(In Manila, the Church of Japan lost two priests: ● Fr. Joseph Isamu Ikeda, who studied at the UST Interdiocesan Seminary and was ordained a priest on Jan. 5, 1945 by Manila Archbishop Michael J. O’Doherty – d. March or April, 1945; and ● Fr. Haruo Sugiyama [a priest impressed as a soldier into the Japanese military], who was waylaid on P. Noval St., Sampaloc, after visiting Father Ikeda at the UST Seminary – d. Jan. 10, 1945.

If major seminarians are included in the death count, as is the practice in the Philippine Church — then the Don Bosco seminarians, ● Sebastian Masaji Maki <d. Nov. 1944>, and ● John Shigeru Nishimura <d. Feb. 1945> would also be listed among the Japanese Church’s war deaths.)

Takayama Memorial at Plaza Dilao in 1977

1977 – Plaza Dilao memorializes the checkered Philippine-Japanese history that has spanned four centuries – with Lord Justus Takayama Ukon (高山右近) as the best exemplar of friendship and amity between the two peoples.

Plaza Dilao — as renovated in 2019

1992 – The Takayama Memorial is declared a National Monument by the National Historical Commission (predecessor of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NCHP).#

Compiled by Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
Takayama Trustee

Milestone Dates for Blessed Takayama

►Calendar Dates associated with Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615):

◘ 1590 (April 24) — Issuance of Apostolic “Breve” of Pope Sixtus V sent to “Dom Justo Ucondono.”

In the first instance of the Holy Father recognizing the celebrated Japanese Christian Samurai, Justo Ucondono, Pope Sixtus V wrote a “Papal Breve” to Lord Takayama in 1590, after he was dispossessed of his feudal domain at Akashi in 1587, exhorting him to hold on to his Catholic faith – and be “an inspiration to other oppressed Christians.”

◘ 1614 (Dec. 21) — Arrival in Manila of Lord Justo Ukon Takayama with 350 Japanese Christian asylum seekers.

The first exile boat from Nagasaki arrived in Manila on Dec. 21, 1614 with a boatload of 350 asylum-seekers from Japan, led by Lord Justo Takayama. It was the first of many ships that would arrive across 250 years of Tokugawa anti-Christian persecutions.

◘ 1615 (Feb. 3) — Death of Blessed Takayama in Intramuros, Manila.

◘ 1630 (Oct. 5) — Original Petition for Takayama’s sainthood sent by Manila Archdiocese to the Vatican.

◘ 1937 (Feb. 3) – The 33rd International Eucharistic Congress (Feb. 3-7, 1937) starts on Takayama’s 322nd death anniversary. The IEC passes resolution supporting the beatification of Takayama.

◘ 1942 (Sept. 20) – Memorial Mass for Ukon Takayama is celebrated by Osaka Bishop [later, Cardinal] Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi at San Vicente De Paul Parish, on San Marcelino St., Ermita, Manila.

◘ 1945 (Feb. 3) – 330th anniversary of Takayama marks the first day of the Liberation of Manila (Feb. 3-March 3, 19145).

◘ 1963 (April 24) – Manila Cardinal Rufino J. Santos seconds the “Cause of Takayama” to the Church of Japan.

◘ 1975 (August 5) – Japanese Historical Committee, headed by Fr. Hubert Cieslik, SJ, of Sophia University, Tokyo, completes 30-chapter documentation of the life and heroic virtues of the celebrated Christian Samurai, Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615).

◘ 1977 (Nov. 17) – Establishment of the Takayama Memorial at the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park at Plaza Dilao, Paco, Manila.

Unknown to many, the then First Lady, Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, Governor of Metro-Manila, was the promoter for the establishment of the Takayama Memorial that is the centerpiece of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park at Plaza Dilao on Nov. 17, 1977.

◘ 1986 (May 22) – In Rome, Jesuit General Postulator, Fr. Paolo Molinari, SJ, in-charge of “Cause of Takayama” entrusts to Prof. Ernesto A. de Pedro, of UST, Manila, the complete documents supporting the Cause of Beatification of the Christian Samurai, Justo Ukon Takayama – for translation into English.

◘ 1988 (Sept. 29) – Manila group forms “Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation” to translate — for the Jesuit General Postulator in Rome — the “Positio” of Takayama.

◘ 1989 (Feb. 4) – Takayama Trustee, Ernesto A. de Pedro, endows in perpetuity “The Lord Justus Takayama Professorial Chair in Philippine-Japanese Studies” – at the University of Santo Tomas Graduate School, Manila.

◘ 1992 (Nov. 17) – The Takayama Memorial at Plaza Dilao is declared a National Monument by the National Historical Commission, predecessor of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).

◘ 1994 (June 5) — Declared Servant of God.

◘ 2015 (Jan. 15 to 19) — When Pope Francis (elected Supreme Pontiff on March 13, 2013) made a State Visit to the Philippines, the “Servant of God,” Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615), was not yet in the radar of Francis — although the original petition for sainthood was submitted to the Vatican by the Manila Archdiocese in 1630.

◘ 2017 (Jan. 21) – Decree of Martyrdom issued by Pope Francis.

◘ 2017 (Feb. 3) — Liturgical Feastday of Blessed Takayama in Japan and the Philippines.

◘ 2017 (Feb. 7) – Beatification Rites of Blessed Takayama in Osaka, Japan

No Osaka church was large enough to accommodate thousands of Japanese and foreign guests attending the Takayama Beatification Rites (Feb. 7, 2017) – so the Vatican ceremonies were held at the Osaka-jo Hall, which could hold up to 12,000 congregants.

◘ 2017 (Dec. 21) — First Altar-Statue of Blessed Takayama — commissioned by Takayama Trustees — is installed at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church, Paco, Manila.

Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is the latest of Manila Archbishops since Archbishop Diego Vazquez de Mercado (1610-1616) who have promoted the “Cause of Canonization of Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama” – who died “a martyr” in Manila on Feb. 3, 1615. The Manila Archdiocese submitted a petition to the Vatican on Oct. 5, 1630 proposing the beatification of Lord Justo Takayama – a “Son of Manila” — as the Philippine Church’s first candidate for saint.

◘ 2018 (Feb. 3) — Liturgical Feastday of Blessed Takayama in Japan and the Philippines.

◘ 2018 (Dec. 8) – Second Altar-Statue of Blessed Takayama is installed at the Manila Cathedral, where Takayama and his family attended Masses.

Osaka Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda is the Archbishop of the Japanese prefecture that hosted the Beatification Rites of Blessed Takayana on Feb. 7, 2017.

◘ 2018 (Dec. 21) — Manila City Hall declares December 21 every year as “BLESSED TAKAYAMA UKON DAY.”#

Minister Takehiro Kano, Deputy Chief of Mission, Japanese Embassy in Manila, represented the Japanese Embassy at the 404th commemoration of the arrival of Lord Justo Takayama – and 350 Christian exiles — on Dec. 21, 1614.

By Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
Takayama Trustee

Manila Declares Dec. 21 Every Year ‘Blessed Takayama Ukon Day’

The first boatload of 350 Japanese Christians fleeing religious persecution in Tokugawa Japan arrived in Manila on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1614. As they disembarked at “Postigo del Palacio” in Intramuros within sight of Manila Cathedral (III), the bells of Intramuros’ six churches rang, the cannons of Fort Santiago roared in welcome. After 43 days at sea, the Japanese reached their new home at last!

— in commemoration of the exile from Japan and arrival of Lord Justo Takayama Ukon in Manila on December 21, 1614.

Principal Authors: Hon Louisito N. Chua and Hon. Rolando M. Valeriano, Minority Floor Leader

►WHEREAS, Japan ordered the deportation of Lord Justo Takayama Ukon for his refusal to renounce his Catholic religion, resulting in his forced exile and arrival in Manila on December 21, 1614;

►WHEREAS, Lord Justo Takayama Ukon, as well as his followers found refuge and acceptance in Manila as a land of religious freedom, which led to their local integration and the birth of the early stages of Philippine-Japanese relations;

►WHEREAS, Lord Justo Takayama Ukon, considered as an adopted “Son of Manila,” died a devout Catholic which led to his beatification;

►WHEREAS, consistent with the policy of maintaining ties between Manila and Japan, the Manila City Council expresses its unanimous and genuine support for the declaration of December 21 of every year as a special day of commemoration of Blessed Takayama Ukon;

►NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the City Council of Manila to declare, as it hereby declares, the 21st day of December every year as “Blessed Takayama Ukon Day” in commemoration of the exile from Japan and arrival of Lord Takayama Ukon in Manila on December 21, 1614.

Presided by: Maria Sheilah “Honey” Lacuna-Pangan, MD, FPDS / Vice Mayor and Presiding Officer, City Council Manila

►This Resolution No. 273, Series of 2018, was adopted by the City Council of Manila at its regular session on December 10, 2018.

ATTESTED: Josue R. Santiago, MPMG / City Government Assistant Department Head III / Assistant Secretary of the City Council #

● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Message from Cardinal Maeda

Even before he received news from Manila about its unanimous city council resolution, Cardinal Maeda sent a message to ◘ Manila Mayor Joseph Marcelo Ejercito Estrada and ◘ Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle:

✠ May the peace of the Lord be with you.

Osaka Cardinal Manyo Maeda – before the new Takayama altar-statue, donated by the Trustees of the Blessed Justo Takayama Canonization Movement, headed by Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro

Greetings on the 404th Anniversary of Justo Ukon Takayama’s landing in Intramuros.

Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama was exiled to Manila by the Edo Shogunate’s order prohibiting the Christian religion in 1614. He then died in Manila on the 3rd of February of 1615. His footsteps of forty-four (44) days still remain in Intramuros. For preserving and maintaining Intramuros in its splendid state, I am grateful, first, to the Manila City Mayor, and also, to the Archbishop of Manila.

After Ukon Takayama’s beatification in Osaka on February 7, 2017, we continue to look forward to your continuous love and support for him.

I pray that the merciful God bless all of you abundantly.#

✠ Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda, Archbishop of Osaka

Manila City Hall

Posted  by: Dr.  Ernesto A. de Pedro
Takayama Trustee


For Archives: Osaka Cardinal Maeda’s Homily at Manila Cathedral (Dec. 8, 2018)

Manila Cathedral-Basilica — photographed on Dec. 8, 2018 — as the Papal Legate, Osaka Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda, arrived to concelebrate the 60th Jubilee Mass (Credit: Lorenzo Atienza)

►The Manila Archdiocese spread out the welcome red carpet — for Japan’s lone Cardinal, appointed by Pope Francis to represent him at this milestone event.

Osaka Cardinal Maeda sharing his homily (in Japanese) at the Manila Cathedral (Dec. 8, 2018) — translated into English by Fr. Eric de Guzman, a Nihongo-speaking Filipino priest ordained in Osaka Archdiocese

►During the Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and 60th Anniversary of the postwar Manila Cathedral, His Eminence Thomas Aquinas Manyo Cardinal Maeda, Archbishop of Osaka, Envoy of His Holiness Pope Francis, delivered his homily in Japanese – which was rendered into English by Fr. Eric de Guzman, a Nihongo-fluent Filipino priest from the Osaka Archdiocese.

►“I would like to greet first His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle — and all the clergy and all the faithful here in Manila Cathedral. Congratulations and Happy Feast day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. And congratulations for the 60th Anniversary of the reconstruction and consecration of the post-war Manila Cathedral.

I have the great honor of being invited as the Special Envoy of His Holiness Pope Francis to celebrate with all of you this momentous and very solemn event, and I know that it was made possible through the recommendation of His Eminence Cardinal Tagle and once more I am very thankful for that.”

Both Manila and Osaka Cathedrals Are Dedicated to Immaculate Conception

►“And I see that there is a very special connection between Manila Cathedral and our Cathedral in Osaka — the one in Tamatsukuri, Osaka — because both Cathedrals are dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

And to cherish this very special connection between the two Cathedrals, I created a haiku and it reads as follows:

A Haiku to celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary — to which both the Manila and Osaka Cathedrals are dedicated

① 無原罪

Seibo kana.]

‘Conceived without sin,
Manila, and Osaka,
Oh Mother Mary.’”

►“And I see that the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Virgin Mary is not only a relationship in between two Cathedrals but in actuality, it is a necessary condition for Mary to become the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mary to become the tabernacle of our Lord Jesus Christ must be preserved from all sin.

And it is as we see in the First Reading, our first parents Adam and Eve committed the first sin, and after that, Man committed all other forms of sin and became a very sinful race. However, God did not forsake us for this miserable condition, indeed God protected us and He made sure that where there is sin, there will be more and more outpouring of graces.

And we have our Blessed Virgin Mary — the very first person to have a foretaste of the salvation that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is offering all of us mankind.”

►“And this abundance of grace from God where sin has been committed can be also seen through the very long history the over 400 year history of the Archdiocese of Manila and the long history of the Manila Cathedral — having many times razed to rubble by different disasters and war, but no matter what travails Manila Cathedral had undergone, the faithful had always been very ready to rebuild it from the rubble. And as many times as the Manila Cathedral has been rebuilt from the rubble, the more beautiful that it has become. This is another proof that God indeed showers us with many blessings even though we are sinful.”

►“And Japan also has shared in a little dark history when unfortunately, it was on the same day — Dec. 8, 1940 — that Japan started participating in the Second World War. However, we believe that it is through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary that although the Japanese people did something wrong in participating in the war, it is also the same Blessed Virgin Mary’s Solemnity — on Aug. 15, 1945 — when World War II ended, reminding everyone of us Japanese about the evils of war, and it made us decide to never again participate in a world war like what we did before.”

The Takayama Connection

►“And then there is another connection between Osaka and Manila that I remember: through the Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon. It was in 2015 when we celebrated the 400 years of the death of the Blessed Takayama Ukon [1552-1615] that His Eminence Cardinal Tagle attended our Mass in Kobe and after two years we were fortunate to have the beatification of Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon as a martyr — held in Osaka.

Manila Cardinal Tagle, distributing Communion at 400th Anniversary Mass of the “Servant of God,” Justo Ukon Takayama, in Kobe,  Japan

So, as a matter of fact, the memorial of the Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon is celebrated every third of February. In Japan we also celebrate a festival on the third of February that signifies the end of winter and during that time, we always say, ‘Out with the bad spirits, and In with the blessing.’”

►“So I created another haiku and it reads as follows:

Calligraphy by Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda


[Ukon ki ya
Fuku musubi.]

‘Passing of Ukon
The Philippines and Japan
Bound by good fortune.’

As the third of February is the memorial of Justo Takayama Ukon and in Japan, it is also our festival signifying the end of winter — we invoke Takayama Ukon as a symbol of evangelization — which promotes forgiveness, reconciliation with God and peace among all mankind.”

►“And I find it also a very big grace and blessing from God that we have many connections, we have many relations between Osaka and Manila and also between Japan and Philippines – which have been strengthened by the blood or our martyrs, shed both in Japan and in the Philippines.

Osaka Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda, invoking Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615) as the symbol of the shared Christian history of the Martyr Church of Japan and the Missionary Church of the Philippines

For example, Takayama Ukon was born and raised in Osaka but he ended his life here in Manila. On the other hand we also have San Lorenzo Ruiz [c1600-1639] who was born and raised in Manila but was martyred in Nagasaki in Japan — and also I would not like to forget to mention the six Franciscan Friars that first started their evangelization here in the Philippines and then they also went further to Japan to do their evangelization works there. However, they were caught and martyred in Nagasaki and they were also part of ‘The 26 Martyrs of Japan.’

Osaka Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda and Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, concelebrating Mass at the 60th Jubilee celebration of the Manila Cathedral, Dec. 8, 2018

I would like to express that the martyrs are praying for us and they are giving us an example of what is most important — the most important thing is the gospel of the Lord. The gospel of the Lord gives us forgiveness and reconciliation with one another, and from now on I would like to see stronger and more ties between Japan and the Philippines through the guidance of His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and yours truly — and I hope and I pray for each and every one, for all the faithful of Japan and the Philippines to further strengthen our ties and further strengthen our faith in our Lord.” (RCAM-AOC)#

Posted by Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
Takayama Trustee

3 Religious Icons Escape Destruction of Nagasaki Churches in 1614

►All three statues have been enshrined in Philippine churches — for the past 400 years!

The anti-Christian persecutions in Japan were the most systematic and most sustained in the history of the Catholic Church – during the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867).

►On Jan. 27, 1614, the Tokugawa Shogun ordered the expulsion of the all Christian missionaries and the destruction of the churches.

Most Catholic daimyo apostatized, and forced their subjects to do so, although a few would not renounce the religion and were deported from the country — as in the case of Lord Justo Ukon Takayama (高山右近, 1552-1615) and Lord Joan Tadatoshi Naitō (内藤 如安, died 1626). A brutal campaign of persecution followed, with thousands across Kyushu and other parts of Japan killed, tortured, or forced to renounce their religion.

Missionaries who remained and went into hiding, or who secretly entered Japan, continued to minister all over the country, from Hokkaido to Kyushu. This continued until 1637 for the Dominicans and the Augustinians, around 1640 for the Franciscans, and around 1644 for the Jesuits.

►1614 – the year Lord Justo Ukon Takayama led the first boatload of 350 asylum-seekers to Manila – was very grim for Christians in Japan. The Tokugawa Shogun had decreed that all Daimyos renounce their adherence to the Christian religion, the destruction of all Christian places of worship, and the expulsion of all Christian missionaries, foreign or Japan-born.

The tortures were inventive. Some Christians were branded with hot irons, dipped repeatedly in boiling water and crucified. Believers were also straddled with straw coats made of grass then set on fire. 

The total eradication of the “evil foreign religion” was the goal.

Shogun Decrees Destruction of All Churches in Nagasaki

All churches were destroyed – burned, dismantled, or re-purposed.

►With the evangelical efforts of Jesuits (since 1549), followed by Franciscans (1593), Dominicans (1602), and Augustinians (1602) from Manila, there were many Christian communities in Japan — in Kyoto, Osaka, Sakai and in the Noto Peninsula.

But the most numbers could be found in Nagasaki. In 1614, Nagasaki had 14 churches and shrines: ● Todos os Santos; ● Santa Maria; ● Santo Domingo; ● San Francisco; ● San Antonio; ● Santiago (with hospital); ● San Pedro; ● Santa Isabel (Misericordia headquarters); ● San Agustin; ● Church of the Assumption and Colegio of San Pablo; ● Episcopal See and Seminary for diocesan priests; ● San João Baptista and hospital of San Lazaro; ● Nishizaka martyrdom site (since 1597); and ● San Lazaro. (Source: Gonoi 2006, 45)

Lord Justo Takayama led the first group of 350 refugees deported from Japan – arriving in Manila on Dec. 21, 1614 – with the statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary from the Santo Domingo Church of Nagasaki.

Three Religious Icons Survived

►Originally brought to Japan from Manila, the three religious statues — ● Santo Cristo (brought by Augustinian missionaries to Japan in 1612) ● Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (“La Japona” – brought by the first Dominican missionaries to Satsuma in 1602) and ● Our Lady of Good Counsel (Mater boni consilii), brought by Augustinians, 1612) — found their way back to the Philippines, and have been continuously enshrined in three Catholic churches for the past 400 years.

Except for the Dominican “La Japona,” which was squired by Lord Justo Ukon Takayama during his exile voyage to Manila from Nov. 8 – Dec. 21, 1614, the two other religious statues were off-floated in a single crate that was fished out of the seas off Badoc, Ilocos Norte in 1620.#

One Large Crate Had Floated Off Badoc, Ilocos Norte in 1620

►In 1620, a wooden crate was fished off the sea by Ilocano fisherfolk off the coast between Barangay Dadalaquiten of Sinait, Ilocos Sur and Barangay Paguetpet of Badoc, Ilocos Norte. In short, in the cove between Sinait and Badoc.

When they opened the crate, they were surprised to find a statue of the Black Nazarene and a Marian image holding the Christ-Child. Being devout Catholics, they immediately considered the statues as a God-send. They took this as a sign from Providence – a gift from Heaven.

As legend has it, the fishermen from Sinait were unable to move the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but had no difficulty moving the statue of the Black Nazarene.

Similarly, the fishermen from Badoc were able to move the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary (later called the “La Virgen Milagrosa”) with ease, though they were unable to carry the image of the Black Nazarene.

The two groups brought the statues to their respective towns, where they became their towns’ patron saints.

Since 1620, miracles have been attributed to the two images, but these reports were anecdotal — without any ecclesiastical inquiries to verify individual testimonies. Since their discovery, numerous miracles were attributed to both in Sinait and Badoc, including the end of an epidemic in the capital town of Vigan, Ilocos Sur when the images were brought there for devotion.

◘ Santo Cristo (enshrined at San Agustin Church, Nagasaki in 1612)

►While the two Augustinian icons could have been brought out of Japan through the Takayama exile boat in 1614, they were not.

The crate they were shipped in was fished off the coast of Badoc in 1620. The Kuroshio Current (黒潮 , “くろしお) – or “Japan Current” — that brought the crate to Badoc would have taken less than a year to reach Luzon.

The statue of Santo Cristo was of a crucified Black Nazarene – much like the Mexico-sourced icon at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, in Quiapo, Manila. It is now enshrined at the Sanctuary of the Miraculous Statue of the Black Nazarene (“El Santo Cristo Milagroso”), fondly called by its residents as “Apo Lakay.”

The statue of Santo Cristo has been enshrined at the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church in Sinait, Ilocos Sur since 1620
“Apo Lakay” draws fervent devotees to Sinait, Ilocos Sur — from all Ilocano provinces.

◘ Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (“La Japona”)

The first recorded religious icon to leave Japan was “La Japona” which was “extracted” in 1614 from the Dominican Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. This was entrusted to Lord Takayama (who had a cabin) by fellow-deportee Dominican missionaries who were berthed on the top deck, open to the elements.

►The Santo Domingo Church was established in Nagasaki in 1612 – after the “La Japona” was first brought in 1602 by pioneering Dominican missionaries to Satsuma, Japan, where the Marian icon was enshrined at various mission stations the Dominicans built – until it found a home in Nagasaki.

►The full story is detailed at

First Marian icon that had been saved was the Lady of the Holy Rosary, later short-named “La Japona,” which was extracted from the Santo Domingo Church (est. 1612) in Nagasaki, and brought to Manila in the safekeeping of Lord Justo Ukon Takayama (whose family had rented a cabin).
Osaka Archbishop (now Cardinal) Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda made a pilgrimage to “La Japona” in April 2018, with two groups of parishioners from Osaka.

The celebrated Marian image is enshrined at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City. Today, the Santo Domingo Priory enshrines three iterations of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. To differentiate the three Marian statues, all called Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, they are short-named ◘ La Naval, ◘ La Mexicana, and ◘ La Japona — (NOT “La Japonesa.”)

◘ Our Lady of Good Counsel — Now “La Virgen Milagrosa”

►The “La Virgen Milagrosa” is enshrined at the Badoc Church — St. John the Baptist Parish Church (est. 1591) – which was once a chapel under the jurisdiction of Sinait. It was formally recognized as a parish only in 1714 with St. John the Baptist as patron saint.

In Badoc, the atmosphere of grace from the presence of the Virgin and her Child, has earned for her the title of “La Virgin Milagrosa” — the “Miraculous Virgin.” This has been crowned by Catholic Bishops in 1980, and was granted a Canonical coronation by Pope Francis in May 31, 2018.

What the image looks now – her raiment, her locks, her crown – is certainly not the same as when found in 1620, as – across the centuries — devotees offer new raiment and add precious stones for prayers granted. These precious stones are offerings from the faithful, not only of Badoc, but of the entire province of Ilocos Norte.

Where Did the Statues Come From?

►After an earlier failed effort in 1607, Fr. Hernando Ayala, OSA, succeeded in establishing San Agustin Church in Nagasaki in 1612 in what is today modern Furodomo-machi. The church was named St. Augustine Church and designated as the headquarters of the Ordo Sancti Augustini (OSA). The church — which was under the care of the Third Order of St. Augustine Brotherhood of the Cincture — served a parish community of over 4,000 families with 10,000 individuals, many of whom joined the Third Order and the Archconfraternity of the Cincture that Fr. Hernando introduced and organized.

One particular devotional practice connected with the Augustinian Order is the veneration of the Blessed Virgin under the title of “Mother of Good Counsel” (Mater Boni Consilii). In all countries where they have missions, the Augustinians encourage confraternities to spread devotion to this Marian devotion. Our Lady of Good Counsel’s feast day is celebrated on April 26.

In 1614, did the Augustinians hold on to their religious icons – in the hope of better days to come?

But then around 1617, persecutions of Christians intensified. The Augustinian, Fr. Ferdinand of Saint Joseph, along with Andrew Yoshida, a catechist who worked with him, were beheaded in 1617. With no churches or convents, whatever missionary effort became an underground ministry. (During the 35 years of the Order’s presence, 24 friars were martyred, and counting only those whose names are known, 57 members of the Third Order and 47 members of the Archconfraternity of the Cincture shed their blood for Christ.)

Maybe it was time for the Augustinians-in-hiding in “underground missions” to ship out the two religious icons to safer harbors?

Archival Account

The earliest extant chronicle on the origin and discovery of these religious artifacts is reportedly in the 1764 “Chronicle of Fray Pedro de Vivar, OSA” – written in Europe 140 years after the event — archived at the Augustinian Archives in Valladolid, Spain. (It has not been ascertained yet whether Fr. De Vivar’s account supports the speculation that the two icons, now in Ilocos, were originally from Nagasaki. But, as Agustinians continued to work in Japan till 1637, it is possible that some mission reports reached OSA headquarters.)

But Fr. Ericson Josué, historian and archivist of the diocese of Laoag, now has a copy of the tract. In time, we will know what, if any,  the 1764 “Chronicle of Fray Pedro de Vivar, OSA” says on the subject of Santo Cristo and Our Lady of Good Counsel.

The Badoc Church

St. John the Baptist Parish Church — shrine of “La Virgen Milagrosa” in Badoc, Ilocos Norte.
La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc” inside the St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Badoc.

Canonical Coronation

►Following the issuance of decree on Dec. 6, 2017 by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Robert Sarah, its Prefect, granted “La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc,” patroness of Ilocos Norte, the privilege of being crowned as mandated by papal authority.

In the Run -Up to the Coronation

►Across the years, as devotion grew, the Badoc parishioners introduced a “La Virgen Milagrosa fluvial parade” in waters around the La Virgen Milagrosa Cove – where the crate was reportedly found.

Devotees from the province would first attend the Concelebrated Mass at St. John the Baptist Church in Badoc and after the Mass, the image of Blessed Virgin Mary traveled in the shoreline of La Virgen Milagrosa Cove.

Traditionally, both the Mayor and the Parish Priest escort La Virgen Milagrosa in her banca, while, provincial officials joined in their respective fishing boats.

Parish priest and Badoc Mayor — in banca carrying “La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc.”
In some years, La Virgen Milagrosa is paraded alone in her banca.

Shoreside spectators united by praying the Holy Rosary while the fluvial procession sailed ’round the La Virgen Milagrosa Cove.


►On Thursday, May 31, 2018. Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle — “in the name and by the authority of the Holy Father, Pope Francis” — crowned the Marian image of “La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc” in her shrine at St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Badoc. He was assisted by Cotabato Cardinal Orlando Quevedo and Laoag Bishop Renato Mayugba.

Cardinal Tagle, on behalf of Pope Francis, presided at the Canonical Coronation of “La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc,” assisted by Cardinal Quevedo and Bishop Mayugba.

Many bishops and a large number of priests were joined by thousands of devotees, from Ilocos Norte and the neighboring provinces of Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Union, Cagayan, Isabela and Batanes.

Cardinal Quevedo’s Homily

►Cardinal Quevedo delivered the homily. The Cotabato Cardinal, whose family originally came from Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, said that these sacred images are believed to have come from the persecuted Christians in Japan who had jettisoned these religious artifacts to the sea to prevent their threatened desecration – leaving it to the “Kurushio” to bring the crate to Luzon.

The Cotabato Cardinal, who had previously been seen sent to Japan as Papal Legate to install a bronze statue of San Lorenzo Ruiz in Nakamachi Church in Nagasaki, recalled the martyrs of Japan’s anti-Christian persecution, particularly Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615) and St. Lorenzo Ruíz (1600-1637) – both regarded as stalwarts of the Martyr Church of Japan.

He concluded his homily with a challenge that, like these two venerated martyrs, the faithful should follow “La Virgen Milgrosa” who stands beneath the cross of “Santo Cristo Milagroso.”

Significant Coronation Date

The date chosen for the Canonical Coronation was May 31, 2018, Feast of the Visitation. Ilocano devotees were asked to reflect on the theme of the event: “Exultavit in Gaudio!” – Leap for Joy! from Lk. 1:41: “Upon Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth, the child John the Baptist ‘in utero’ (in the womb), leaped for joy.”

The chosen theme was inspired by the fact that the Lady of Badoc is also called, “Cause of Our Joy,” while the patron saint of the town of Badoc is St. John the Baptist. Hence, doing the coronation on the Feast of the Visitation is very fitting.

The culminating day was marked by the Concelebrated Mass and Coronation with a procession of “Virgen Milagrosa” around the main streets of Badoc accompanied by thousands of devotees who were recipients of her powerful intercession.

Procession through the principal streets of Badoc, Ilocos Norte

‘To Crown Mary is to Love the Poor’

In his address of thanksgiving, Bishop Renato Mayugba of Laoag said that “crowning our Mother and our Queen with diadems finds its fulfillment and meaning through extending our help to the poor and the needy and particularly to those in the peripheries … to crown Mary is to love the poor.”#

”La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc” in front of St. John the Baptist Church in Badoc.


►A “Pasig Liturgical Photographers” video of “The Pontifical Coronation of La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc” may be seen at:

Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
Managing Trustee