►Lord Justo Ukon Takayama (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila; beatified Feb. 7, 2017) came to the attention of post-war Philippines when a bronze statue of him was installed in 1977 as the centerpiece of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park at Plaza Dilao, in Paco District — a Japantown reserved for Japanese expatriates since 1764 — though its original site in 1592 was the Manila City Hall area — within cannon range of the Muralla. Ukon, known in Manila as Dom Justo Ucondono, was deported to the Philippines for refusing to abjure his Catholic faith. Proposed as a Catholic saint in 1630, he was celebrated as “the epitome of the Japanese spirit.”
◘ KEY DATES IN BLESSED JUSTO UKON TAKAYAMA’S TIMELINE
● Jan. 21, 2016 – Pope Francis authorizes the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints to publish a Decree of Martyrdom declaring the Servant of God, Justus Ukon Takayama as a “layperson … from Japan [who] died from the hatred of the Faith on Feb. 3, 1615 in Manila,Philippines” ;
● Jan. 27, 2020 – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle commends Canonization Cause of Blessed Takayama to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) at its 120th Plenary Assembly;
● Feb. 3, 1615 – Death day in Manila & Liturgical Feast Day in Japan and the Philippines in 2018;
● Feb. 7, 2017 – Beatification Rites in Osaka, Japan;
● April 24, 1590 — Apostolic “Breve” of Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585-150) sent to Ukon, who was stripped of his feudal domain in Akashi Prefecture for refusing to abjure his Christian faith;
● May 12, 1986 – the Jesuit General Postulator, Fr. Paolo Molinari, entrusts to Ernesto A. de Pedro, of the Manila-based “Lord Takayama Jubilee” Project, the translation to English of the “Positio” on the “Samurai of Christ,” Ukon Takayama, submitted in 1975 by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Japan;
● June 1, 1563 – Baptismal day of Justus Hikogoro Takayama, named after St. Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165), whose liturgical feast day is June 1;
● June 10, 1994 – Justus Ukon Takayama declared “Servant of God”;
● July 24, 1587 — Chancellor Toyotomi Hideyoshi(豊臣 秀吉, 1537-1598) strips Ukon Takayama of his fiefdom in Akashi Prefecture;
● July 25, 2019 – Pope Francis imparts his Apostolic Blessing to Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro and all the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama;
● Sept. 29, 1988 – Registration of Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation, first support group for “Samurai of Christ,” Ukon Takayama (now replaced by the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama®);
● Oct. 5, 1630 — Petition sent to the Vatican by the Manila Archdiocese proposing Takayama as the first Manila Catholic to be considered for sainthood;
● Nov. 14, 1963 – Manila Cardinal Rufino J. Santos “seconds” Takayama Cause to Church of Japan;
● Nov. 17, 1977 – Inauguration of the Takayama Memorial as the centerpiece of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park at Plaza Dilao, Paco, Manila – and Annual Wreath-Laying Ceremony thereafter;
● Nov. 17, 1992 – Declaration of the Takayama Memorial as a National Monument – by the National Historical Commission;
● Dec. 21, 1614 — Arrival in Manila of Don Justus Ukon Takayama with the first boatload of 350 Catholic refugees and migrants from Japan;
● Dec. 21, 2018 — Manila City Council issues Resolution declaring every December 21 – as “Blessed Takayama Ukon Day” in Manila. ◘
Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro, PhD
Managing Trustee, Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama
►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 Arabs, Japanese, Han 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.#
“Today’s unveiling of Blessed Takayama’s statue and historical markers is an initiative that will resurrect memories of the common history we share… We sincerely hope that the installation of the statue and markers of Blessed Takayama Ukon here will attract more Japanese tourists to take part in history-walks around Intramuros.” — Ambassador Koji Haneda
Remarks of Ambassador Koji Haneda
*Delivered at the installation of a statue of Blessed Takayama on June 29, 2019 — with Japanese missionaries in the Metro-Manila in attendance.
Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.
I am pleased to join you this afternoon in honoring Blessed Takayama Ukon with the unveiling of his statue and historical markers at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
The name Takayama Ukon is well known in Japanese history school textbooks as a Christian landlord who abandoned his status and devoted himself to his faith. However, it’s not so well known that he was exiled in the Philippines. Where we are now is the place he was allowed to stay until he passed away in 1615. Today’s unveiling of his statue and historical markers is an initiative that will resurrect memories of the common history we share. I would like to thank all those who have engaged in this historic gesture.
We’ve Come a Long Way Since Takayama Arrived
Japan and the Philippines’ partnership has come a long way since the era of Blessed Takayama Ukon. Our cooperative bond has expanded beyond trade, investment, and development matters—encompassing wider cultural and people-to-people exchanges, including tourism. The number of Filipino visitors to Japan increased sixfold to 504,000 over the last six years and is still growing. Likewise, Japanese visitors to the Philippines are on the rise, reaching 631,000 in 2018.
In a sense, Blessed Takayama Ukon was among the pioneering Japanese visitors to the Philippines. When he arrived here over four centuries ago, I am sure he was welcomed with the warmest Filipino hospitality. Unbeknown to Blessed Takayama Ukon, he may have helped plant a seed of friendship that has grown a lot in time. Forty years have passed since the Sister City Partnership was forged between the Cities of Manila and Takatsuki in Osaka—the place where Blessed Takayama Ukon ruled as landlord. In addition, Toyono Town in Osaka, his birthplace, has been accepting Filipino English teachers since last year through the Japanese government’s Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. These are definitely sterling examples of a bond worth emulating.
Christianity … Is ‘Our Shared History’
It now seems that, through Christianity, Japan and the Philippines may be able to revisit our shared history. Last year, the “Hidden Christian” Sites in the Nagasaki Region were registered as UNESCO World Heritage. Nagasaki is the place where St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino and Asian Saint, died as a martyr. As such, we are positive that this could spark interest and encourage more Filipinos to visit Nagasaki. In the same way, we sincerely hope that the installation of the statue and markers of Blessed Takayama Ukon here will attract more Japanese tourists to take part in history-walks around Intramuros.
Finally, I would like to reiterate my deepest gratitude to everyone who has endeavoured to make today’s event possible. With people like you, we can be certain of an even brighter future for the close friendship between Japan and 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):
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.
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.
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.”
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).
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).
◘◘◘ — 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);
►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.)
◘◘◘ — 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.
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.)
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.
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
►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.”
◘ 1614 (Dec. 21) — Arrival in Manila of Lord Justo Ukon Takayama with 350 Japanese Christian asylum seekers.
◘ 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 (November 14) – 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.
◘ 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 10) — 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
◘ 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.
◘ 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.
◘ 2018 (Dec. 21) — Manila City Hall declares December 21 every year as “BLESSED TAKAYAMA UKON DAY.”#
RESOLUTION DECLARING THE 21ST DAY OF DECEMBER OF EVERY YEAR AS “BLESSED TAKAYAMA UKON DAY”
— 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.
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
Posted by: Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
►TO SUPPORT the call of the Philippines’ First Lady, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos (1929- ), for a beautification program for Metro-Manila at the start of Martial Law (1972-1981), Manila Mayor Ramon D. Bagatsing (1916-2006) organized on Feb. 1, 1973, the Kababaihan sa Pagpapaganda ng Lungsod ng Maynila [Ladies’ Committee for the Beautification of the City of Manila].
Their assignment: Beatify the parks and open spaces that dot Metro-Manila. Their first priority: Beautify Plaza Dilao which visiting VIPs pass by in their motorcade from the Manila airport to Malacanan Palace.
Ladies’ Committee for the Beautification of Manila
The members of the Kababaihan were: Mrs. Julita C. Benedicto (wife of Philippine Ambassador to Tokyo, Roberto S. Benedicto), chairman; Mrs. Purita Ponce-Enrile, co-chairman; Mrs. Leonora Pascual, co-chairman; Mrs. Elisa Abello (wife of Philippine Ambassador to Washington, Emilio Abello), vice-chairman, and Miss Lourdes R. Caruncho, executive secretary. Members were Mrs. Carmen P. Caro; Ms Mariquita Castelo; Ms Remedios Francisco (historian); Mrs. Leticia de Guzman; Mrs. Minerva G. Laudico; Mrs. Milagros Sumulong; Ms Albina Tuason, and Ms Juanita Valera.
When the ladies’ research indicated that the Dilao area – the old site, that is— had been reserved by the Spanish colonial government for Manila’s Japanese population in 1592, finally relocating at the Plaza Dilao area in Paco in 1762, the Japanese element crept in. Perhaps a Japanese garden – “with plenty of plants and benches for people to rest and relax especially during the evening when traffic is less” — could be developed?
Former Japanese Settlement — Requiring Japanese Motif?
They decided to consult Japanese Ambassador Toshio Urabe (1969-1974) about the possibilities.
Not readily recognized by the Manila ladies at that time, Ambassador Urabe was the longest-serving Japanese diplomat engaged in rebuilding postwar Philippine-Japanese relations. Ambassador Urabe was a veteran Philippine hand, having been first assigned to Manila in 1953 as Counsellor of the Japanese Overseas Liaison Office. He led the team that negotiated the Philippine-Japanese Reparations Agreement that was ratified by the Philippine Senate in 1956. He was returned to Manila in 1964 as Ambassador, staying on till 1974.
In 1973, Ambassador Urabe – who is credited with the Japanese Garden at the Rizal Park and the Japanese Memorial Garden in Caliraya (Laguna) — discouraged the “garden” idea. He was not being a killjoy. Being located at a very busy traffic intersection, he thought “a Japanese garden would not be safe for residents to relax in.”
The Manila ladies countered that, whatever project was suitable, this could be jointly undertaken by the cities of Manila and Yokohama (Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken), a sister city of Manila since July 1, 1965.
Urabe assured the ladies that he would contact the City of Yokohama for funding support, but — now he wanted to enlarge the base of Japanese public involvement and support — “he was quite vocal in saying that Manila’s sister city Yokohama should not be the only one to help in this project, but the other cities of Japan as well,” the Kababaihan reported to the Manila mayor.
Japanese Civic Groups and Christian Breakfast Prayer Groups Pitch In
AMBASSADOR URABE could not believe his luck. Only 28 years after the war (and only 17 years after the Philippine ratification of the Reparations Agreement), the Manila ladies — entirely on their own initiative — were proposing a joint people-to-people endeavor that the Japanese themselves had not even thought of.
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs then logically turned to the Japanese sector most concerned: the small minority of Japanese Christians who comprised less than one percent of Japan’s total population. The Gaimusho contacted the Southeast Asian Friendship and Culture Association (SEAFCULA), whose founder and managing director was Rev. Ryoichi Katoh, minister of the Tokyo Ikebukuro Church, an affiliate of the United Church of Christ in Japan (KYO-DAN). Providentially, the SEAFCULA had been founded “on the concept of ‘Redemption’ for the wrongful deeds committed during World War II against the Asian nations.” They set to work at once.
“When they [the Foreign Ministry] approached us, requesting our cooperation on the matter, we were of course glad and ready to accept their proposal, since we thought it proper to cooperate with them fully on the project, as part of the said redeeming activities,” Katoh would recall four years later.
Gravitating Towards Ukon Takayama as the ‘Epitome of the Japanese Spirit’
After Rev. Katoh conferred with Archbishop Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi in Osaka, a memorial to Ukon Takayama became central to the SEAFCULA’s beautification plans.
The “Prospectus for the Construction of a Statue of Ukon Takayama and a Memorial Japanese Garden at Manila (SEAFCULA 73-142),” confirms that in Japan, Pastor Ryoichi Katoh and Archbishop Peter Seiichi Shirayanagi, archbishop of Tokyo and chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, agreed to sponsor the memorial project “as an ecumenical effort of Protestants and Catholics in Japan and the Philippines.” Certainly, at that time, it was most audacious to propose to the Philippines to erect a memorial to a Japanese personality — a samurai at that! — a scant 32 years after the brutal Japanese occupation of the Philippines.
Manila Ladies Propose Ukon Takayama as the Personification of Philippine-Japanese Amity
In Manila, the Kababaihan sa Pagpapaganda ng Lungsod ng Maynila, after studying the possibilities, proposed on March 28, 1973, to Mayor Bagatsing:
“We women recommend that a memorial monument be constructed to honor the Christian feudal lord Takayama at a site of 2,000-square meters in front of Paco Station of the Manila Railroad in Plaza Dilao. This land had been assigned by the former Spanish government to the Japanese refugees. The realization of this plan should pave the way not only for closer fellowship between Japanese and Philippine churches, but also promote better friendship between the two countries.”
With the guaranteed financial support of SEAFCULA; the Executive Committee of Takatsuki City; the Keizai-Doyukai [the Japanese Council for Economic Development]; and Catholic and Protestant churches in Japan, the Kababaihan now proceeded with the project.
Japanese Sculptor Nishimori Commissioned to Erect Statue
AS AGREED UPON, the city of Manila provided the land and the labor, while Japanese sponsors contributed to provide the memorial. The Takayama statue, sculpted by the Christian convert Johannes Masaaki Nishimori (1939-), would be donated by the people of Takatsuki. Nishimori, then still known as Johannes Masaaki Nishimori (but today as Houshoo Nishimori), was a distinguished sculptor of international repute. Even the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo had commissioned Nishimori to sculpt “Sho Kannon” for the Embassy in 1974.
Nishimori spent several months at the Plaza Dilao area, figuring out what sort of memorial he would construct for Takayama. But as photographs of the Takayama statue in Takatsuki had been used to secure the approval of Philippine officials, it was decided that the self-same statue could be installed in Manila. Thus, the Takayama statue at Plaza Dilao was cast from the same mold as the original at the Shiroato Historical Park in Takatsuki City (Osaka Prefecture) in 1972. Other Takayama “twins” are in Takaoka (Toyama Prefecture) – at Kojyo Park — whose castle had been repaired by 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.
As the work of Nishimori was explained by Fr. Hubert Cieslik, SJ, Lord Takayama’s hand, “horizontal over the sword, is a symbol of peace and justice,” at the same time, “the sword, forming a part of the long-beam of the Cross, is a symbol of a Christian samurai.”
Plaza Dilao Devolopment Suspended
BUT AS AMBASSADOR URABE had expected when the project was first discussed in 1973, there was some grumbling from war veterans’ groups, though these were never officially ventilated. As the project took shape, it was apparent that the memories of World War II and the atrocities committed by the Japanese were still fresh in some people’s mind. Unruly student demonstrations at the United States Embassy on Roxas Boulevard were a weekly occurrence in Manila at that time. The possibility that they might divert their considerable energies to the Plaza Dilao memorial honoring a Japanese delayed the construction of the plaza.
The Metro Manila Commission, headed by Mrs. Marcos, now cautioned the Manila Mayor on the prudence of installing the memorial at that time. The work was abruptly stopped. The inauguration scheduled for October 1, 1976 was indefinitely postponed.
WHEN PRESIDENT FERDINAND E. MARCOS (1917-1989) decided to proceed to Tokyo on a state visit on April 25-28, 1977, Rev. Katoh considered this a great opportunity to get him to reconsider the stopping of the project. In desperation at the stalemate in Manila, Katoh sent a three-page letter to President and Mrs. Marcos, petitioning to be allowed to complete the project. He said 104 Christian Breakfast Prayer Groups in Japan were praying for the successful completion of this project:
“Takayama, who was unmistakably a great Christian figure in respect to his culture and humanity, has served as a bridge established between the two countries in terms of friendship and culture to be fostered mutually.”
Katoh outlined for President Marcos “the life of martyrdom” that Takayama endured, recalling his exile and death in a foreign land: “Takayama had also come to lead a lonely life in exile, forsaking everything to include his brilliant social status and fame as a feudal lord, to say nothing of his great assets, being warmly tended for by your generous compassionate people….” Takayama was fated to die “an exile in another land,” a most painful destiny, Katoh reminded Marcos.
Mutual Expressions of Friendship and Amity
WHEN THE Sculptor Nishimori returned to Manila to look into the progress of the construction in June 1977, he brought a note — in English — from Takatsuki Mayor Fumitoshi Nishijima to Mayor Bagatsing, thanking him “from the bottom of my heart” for showing “consideration to our Takatsuki City.” Mayor Nishijima expressed himself superbly:
This winter, the coldest since ten and several years, has gone at last; flowers bloom all around, and fresh greens are in bud now…. I, and also 340 thousand citizenry, have no words to express our gratitude for your endeavors to erect in Plaza Dilao … [the] monument of Lord Justo Takayama…. I believe [this will] strengthen the ties of international friendship between Manila and Takatsuki still more, and also between the Philippines and Japan….
Mayor Bagatsing responded in kind:
[The memorial] is certainly a fitting memory to one who established the nucleus of a very warm friendship between our two peoples… That monument will ever remain a living reminder that peace can be achieved where there is a common bond of brotherhood.
Inauguration on Nov. 17, 1977
WHEN THE MARCOSES were abroad, and Cardinal Jaime Sin was in Mexico, the Takayama Memorial was inaugurated, with the tacit consent of Mrs. Marcos — otherwise the Kababaihan would not have dared to proceed.
The invitations indicated that Manila Auxiliary Bishop Amado H. Paulino (Parish Priest of Tondo, 1972–1985) would bless the Takayama Memorial at its inauguration on Nov. 17, 1977. But it as actually Rev. Fr. Toru A. Nishimoto, CSsR, chaplain of Japanese nationals in the Archdiocese of Manila, who offered the invocation:
“Almighty God, who sent Ukon Takayama to Manila to wipe away malicious intentions and deeds of the Japanese during his time, let this statue of Ukon Takayama be a great symbol of goodwill of the Japanese people in Asia, especially in the Philippines.”
Ambassador Kiyohisa Mikanagi, the third Japanese ambassador to be involved in the project, and Mayor Bagatsing of Manila, were the main guests. Rev. Katoh led a delegation of 35 from Tokyo; five from Takatsuki and 22 persons from the Tea Ceremony group. The Mayor of Takatsuki City, Hon. Fumitoshi Nishijima, and Speaker Hideyo Omae of Takatsuki were both present. Masaaki Nishimori, sculptor of the bronze statue, was also present.
Other guests were officers of the Japanese Club, Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation, represented by Ambassador Jose S. Laurel, III, and the Philippines-Japan Society. Others invited were officers of the Federation of Former Students to Japan, headed by Leocadio de Asis; key officials of the Japanese Embassy in Manila, and Japanese news correspondents, based in Manila.
Mrs. Julita C. Benedicto, and the Japanese Ambassador’s lady, Mrs. K. Mikanagi unveiled the statue. Then the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park was presented by the Ladies’ Committee to the City of Manila.
Augury for a Future Dedicated to Friendship and Amity
WHEN ONE CONSIDERS that Manila was the most war-ravaged city in the world during World War II — at the hands of the Japanese military — the story of the Memorial’s establishment is nothing short of a miracle. When one considers further that the statue was erected only 32 years after the end of the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines — barely a generation! — then the Memorial is truly unique.
On February 28, 1978, three months after Rev. Katoh had recounted to him the inauguration of the Takayama Memorial, Osaka Cardinal Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi (1902-1978) passed away, happy that the Japanese Historical Committee had at last completed the Takayama papers (1975) and forwarded these to the Vatican, and satisfied that the Takayama Memorial now stood in Manila. From 1937 to 1977 – Cardinal Taguchi had dedicated the years to promoting the ‘Cause’ of Takayama.#
Across the Years, the Takayama Memorial Has Been a Destination of Japanese Pilgrims
From one jeep-full to three busloads, Japanese Christians and Buddhists, visit Manila to trace to footsteps of their exiled countryman, Lord Justo Ukon Takayama.
TAKAYAMA MEMORIAL IS DECLARED A NATIONAL MONUMENT (1992) – On Nov. 17, 1992 — on the 400th anniversary of the Dilao settlement (1592-1992), and the 15th anniversary of the Takayama Memorial at Plaza Dilao (1977-1992) — the National Historical Institute (now known as the National Historical Commission of the Philippines – NHCP), headed by Chairman Serafin D. Quiason (1930-2016), on the representations of the Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation, installed at last a marker making the Takayama Memorial a national monument.
Former Mayor Ramon Bagatsing (1916-2006; Mayor of Manila 1971-1986) seconded the Takayama Foundation’s request: The Takayama Memorial “is an enduring symbol of Filipino-Japanese amity that dates back to 1600s,” he wrote. Additional endorsements were made by Prof. Mutsuhiko Miki, chairman of the PJCI, and Atty. Leocadio de Asis, adviser of the Philippine Federation of Japan & ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni, and director, Philippines-Japan Society.
The bronze markers were blessed by His Eminence, Jaime Cardinal Sin, archbishop of Manila. The three markers — in Filipino, Japanese and English — were then unveiled by Ambassador Hirokazu Arai; Judge Jose A. Aguiling, president of the Manila International Sister City Association (MISCA), and Prof. Ernie A. de Pedro, managing trustee of Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation.
All Manila Mayors — On Board
Since 1977, all Manila Mayors – Mayor Ramon S. Bagatsing (1972-1988); Mayor Gemiliano “Mel” Lopez (Appt. 1986-1987; elected 1988-1992); Mayor Alfredo S. Lim (1992-1998; 2007-2013); Mayor Jose “Lito” Atienza (1998-2007), and Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada (2013-2019) — have brought their guests from Japan to the Takayama Memorial to lay floral wreaths.
But the ongoing construction of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project (MMSS-3) stopped all visits to Plaza Dilao, as the Takayama Statue was wrapped in mufti — to prevent damage from construction debris.
On April 12, 2018, Manila Mayor Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada called for a meeting of all stakeholders to discuss the future of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park. The Toyono-cho pilgrims, led by Toyoshige Kubo, president of Toyono-cho’s ‘Ukon-Honoring Association,’ who were paying a courtesy call on the Manila Mayor that same afternoon were invited to join the briefing.#
Mr. Jose S. Tanqueco, Jr., Consultant of San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMHC), shared how the rehabilitated Philippines-Japan Friendship Park at Plaza Dilao would look like.
►The “Te Deum” was an ancient hymn of praise to God. It began: “O GOD, WE PRAISE THEE: WE ACKNOWLEDGE THEE TO BE THE LORD!” According to legend, it was improvised antiphonally by St. Ambrose and St. Augustine at the latter’s baptism. It has more plausibly been attributed to Bishop Nicetas (d. 414 AD), bishop of Remesiana in present-day Serbia in the early fifth century.
It was the battle hymn of the “26 Martyrs of Nagasaki” (日本二十六聖人) as they walked barefoot in the snow – their left ears cut off, with some noses cut off too! — from Kyoto to their martyrdom in Nagasaki in Feb. 5, 1597 – along a scenic route 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 Manila Franciscan missionary, St. Pedro Bautista (of San Francisco del Monte, in Quezon City) covered in 27 days.
Every Takayama-era Japanese Catholic prepared for martyrdom by memorizing the first parts by heart – understanding each difficult Latin phrase and its meaning. This was the arrival hymn of praise to God that ‘Lord Justus Takayama and his 350 Companions’ sang at the Santa Ana Church inside the Jesuit Compound (now PLM University Campus), when the Japanese exiles arrived on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1614.◘
►As Japanese pilgrims – visiting a Philippines to which their Japanese forebears had been deported four centuries ago – discovered there were many places in Manila associated with the Japanese Christian exiles who left Japan in 1614, they wanted permanent markers so future generations will know – before the fast pace of infrastructure development erases them from the map.
The best places for markers are in the grounds of Catholic churches associated with the Japanese Christians. The first such marker was installed at the San Marcelino Church (St. Vincent de Paul Church), on San Marcelino St., Manila
Text on the Plaque Was Both in English and Japanese
The ‘Balete Marker’ reads: “FIRST JAPANESE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY – The barrio of Balete, along the Estero de Balete, was officially designated as a ‘Japantown’ in 1601 to accommodate hundreds of Japanese who had been settled in Dilao town since 1592.” [We do not know where 1601 came from.]
The marker was commissioned by Ryohei Fujimoto, a staunch Catholic from Kyoto who funded several scholarships for Filipino students – under the Pre-Evangelization Program (PEP) of Fr. Toru Albert Nishimoto, CSsR (1933 – Aug. 21, 2010), the first Japanese priest to join the Redemptorists.
The Cross is an exact copy of a Christian marker in Kyoto.
Manila Mayor Jose “Lito” Atienza (r. 1998-2007) inaugurated this Balete Memorial on April 25, 2002. ◘
By Dr. Ernie A. de Pedro
Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation
►The Takayama Memorial is the First Postwar Affirmation of Philippine-Japanese Friendship – only 21 years after the Philippine signing and ratification of the Peace Treaty and Reparations Agreement with Japan in 1956. Both the memorial proponents in the Philippines and Japan settled on the Christian Samurai, Justo Takayama Ukon, who died in Manila on Feb. 3, 1615, as the outstanding personification of bilateral friendship and amity.
The Historical Milestones
►Nov. 17, 1977 (under President Ferdinand E. Marcos) – Dedication of the Takayama Memorial at the Philippine-Japan Friendship Park at Plaza Dilao, Paco, Manila. Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos (who spearheaded Manila beautification efforts as Governor of Metro-Manila, 1975–1986) was not present as she was concerned about the strident student rallies mounted at the U.S. Embassy – yes! U.S., not Japanese — every week. (She was, in fact, with President Marcos on a state visit to Kenya.)
► Nov. 17, 1992 (under President Fidel V. Ramos) – Declaration of the Takayama Memorial as a National Monument by the National Historical Institute (now National Historical Commission of the Philippines).
Earlier in Philippine-Japanese History:
►1592 – Establishment of Dilao in Barrio Balete “two musket shots away” from the Walled City as a separate settlement for Japanese residents (in what is now the Manila City Hall area, under direct fire of four cannons mounted at the Baluarte de San Francisco de Dilao) – as a precaution against threats of the Japanese overlord, Kampaku Toyotomi Hideyoshi (then busy with the Invasion of Korea, 1592-1598) to send troops to Manila – unless tribute was sent to him. (In 1941 — 349 years later – Imperial Japanese Expeditionary Forces finally invaded the Philippines, occupying the U.S. Commonwealth from 1942-1945.)
►1762 – Relocation — (its fourth and last) — of Dilao to its present area in Paco – in order to create a large open field for cannon-fire, to fight off British forces preparing to occupy Manila (1762-1764). When Dilao was relocated, the area allotted for Japanese descendants was 11,309 square meters, officially described by the Manila City Engineer as “Lot 5, Block No. 903 of the Manila Cadastre,” owned by the City of Manila. (Certification issued by the City Engineer on Nov. 26, 1973 at the request of the Japanese Embassy.)
In 1908, the Manila Belt Line from Tutuban to Muntinglupa line sliced through the Dilao area. The present Paco Railroad Station was constructed in 1912-1915, effectively dividing Dilao into a settlement behind the station, and the front area which was later called ‘Plaza Dilao’ as it measured only some 660 sq. meters.
Massive Infrastructure Development
In 2017, the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project (MMSS-3 Project) sliced through Plaza Dilao — leaving a tiny parcel as a park, but still hosting the Takayama Memorial. Though no longer a real plaza, it will still be called Plaza Dilao – because there’s a history of 105 years behind it.
Japanese Catholic Pilgrims in Manila
THE BIGGEST postwar Japanese pilgrimage to Manila was on Feb. 3, 2011 — the 396th death anniversary of Takayama Ukon — when 200 Japanese Catholics, led by Takamatsu Bishop Francis Xavier Osamu Mizobe (chair of the CBCJ Commitee for the Promotion of Saints), laid wreaths at the Takayama Memorial. Then Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim presented Bishop Mizobe with a Key to the City.
►180 Japanese Catholics in 1937: Compare this 2011 delegation to the 180 Japanese Catholic delegation to the XXXIIIrd International Eucharistic Congress in Manila (Feb. 3-7, 1937) – the first Japanese Catholic excursion outside Japan since religious freedom was restored after the Meiji Restoration in 1871. Led by Fr. Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi (later Archbishop of Osaka), the Japanese delegates – in candle-lit procession from De La Salle College to the Luneta — wore native costumes with a riot of colors as they represented not only Japan but also the colonial territories of the Empire of Japan in 1937 — Korea, Manchuria, the Marianas, and Taiwan.
►350 Japanese Catholics Arrive in 1614: On Dec. 21, 1614, Lord Takayama and 350 Japanese Christians arrived in Manila in an overloaded Chinese junk as exiles from Japan, as the Tokogawa Shogunate launched the first efforts to deport Christian missionaries and their staunch Japanese adherents – making pointed examples of Lord Justo Takayama Ukon and Lord John Tocuan Naito. Except for Takayama and his family, who were accommodated in the Jesuit guesthouse ‘Casa San Miguel’ in Intramuros, all the Japanese Christians were settled in the encomiendia of San Miguel (awarded to the Jesuits in 1611), which formed part of the Jesuit parish of Quiapo. (There were thus two Japanese settlements: ♦ Dilao for Japanese merchants, mercenaries, sailors, castaways, and survivors of shipwrecks. ♦ San Miguel was exclusively for the Japanese Christian exiles. Here the Jesuits built a church, a convent for the ‘Beatas de Miyako,’ and a separate convent for Japanese Jesuits.
Lord Takayama DID VISIT Dilao – but skipped San Miguel, which was already Christian – to preach the Gospel to Japanese non-Christian settlers who were under the pastoral care of Franciscan missionaries. Ukon was accompanied by some of his five grandsons, who stood as godfathers or padrinos at the baptism of Japanese converts.
Takayama Presents His Katanas to the Franciscans
Part of Ukon’s wardrobe as a samurai-general was a couple of katanas. Was he afraid of being killed by fellow Japanese – a Tokogawa mercenary or a wako — in Dilao?
Lord Takayama presented his katanas to the pacifist Franciscan missionaries as a sign that – here in Manila — he was now past all conflicts – and beyond the ardent enticements of Spanish Governor-General Juan de Silva to plan and lead a hare-brained Spanish plan to invade Japan “to protect Japanese Christians.” ◘
Dr. Ernie A. de Pedro
Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation