►For Dr. Ernesto de Pedro, the Takayama Canonization Movement started out as a research paper – to explain to visiting Japanese why Lord Takayama was chosen as the centerpiece of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park at Plaza Dilao in 1977.
In 1986, a group of Japanese history buffs asked De Pedro to find out who Takayama was – whether he was an actual historical figure – or whether he was the composite of several Japanese medieval heroes. It was then rumored that Takayama was also a candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church, but nobody knew whether there was any basis for that pious talk.
To De Pedro’s surprise, the Vatican Archives confirmed that the Manila Archdiocese had proposed on Oct. 5, 1630 the beatification of the exiled Japanese Christian samurai, Dom Justo Ukon Takayama – as the first ever candidate for sainthood from the Philippine Church. Under Church rubrics, “where one dies, is where one is born to Heaven.” Thus, Takayama was considered a “Catholic of heroic virtue” — from Manila.
The Vatican had a carton-box-full of historical documents about Takayama written in several languages – but Vatican study on them could not proceed till they were all translated to Latin or English. Could De Pedro undertake the translation – “pro-bono” — within two years?
Of course, De Pedro accepted the assignment. Then, the Jesuit General Postulator, Fr. Paolo Molinari, SJ., added: After the papers are translated, could De Pedro join the historical committee that would discuss the life and heroic virtues of Takayama? (A BSBA graduate, invited to sit at a Vatican history panel?)
PhD at U.S.T.
Upon his return from Rome, De Pedro felt compelled, at age 50, to earn a PhD in History at the Graduate School of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) – where he later taught.
After the Takayama papers were submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS), Takayama was declared a “Servant of God” on June 5, 1994.
Having passed the FIRST of four canonical steps to sainthood — the three other steps being ● Venerable, ● Blessed, then ● Saint – it was necesssary for supporters of the “Cause of Takayama” to grow devotion for the Servant of God, Justo Ukon Takayama, in the City of Manila — where he died (i.e., “where he had been born to Heaven.”)
Support Organization at U.S.T.
At this point, De Pedro realized that in Manila, where Takayama had died in 1615, there was no Manila-based support for the “Cause of Takayama.” He would have to organize one himself — with his alma mater, the University of Santo Tomas, as its core.
►In 1988, De Pedro incorporated the Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation. (Sept. 29, 1988)
►After obtaining from Oxford University a copy of the English biography of Takayama, “A Briefe Relation of the Persecution Lately Made Against the Catholike Christians, in the Kingdome of Iaponia” (Saint-Omer, France: English College Press, 1619. 350p) written by Takayama’s Jesuit father-confessor, Padre Pedro Morejon, published four years after Takayama’s death in Manila — De Pedro ventured to lecture in Japan about Takayama. From the lecture fees he earned, he endowed the “Lord Justus Takayama Professorial Chair in Philippine-Japanese Studies” (Feb. 4, 1989) at UST.
The first Takayama Lecture was delivered by Dr. Florentino H. Hornedo on Feb. 3, 1990. Twenty-five years later, Dr. Hornedo was again invited to deliver the Takayama Lecture in 2015.
After 31 years, the Chair still has P429,814.38 — as of Nov. 30, 2017.
►At UST Graduate School, De Pedro organized two International Symposia on Lord Takayama (in 1989 & 1998), which attracted scholars from Japan, the United States, the Vatican and the Philippines.
►When the “Takayama Garden Restaurant” at Greenhills, San Juan City, relocated to Jupiter St., Makati, De Pedro persuaded the owners to donate the Takayama statue that was at the center of the restaurant to UST. This statue now stands at the entrance of the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex (TARC).
Promotion of ‘the Cause’
►Since 1988, UST Chapel has been the venue for annual Takayama Memorial Masses – with Filipino and Japanese Cardinals and ApostolicNuncios as celebrants.
►Since 1988, De Pedro has organized Takayama Pilgrim Tours for Japanese. The largest tour group so far has been 280. The Department of Tourism goal is to produce one tour group of 350 Japanese Pilgrims — which is the same number as the Christian exiles in Takayama’s exile boat.
Seven (7) bishops out of Japan’s 16 dioceses, including Osaka Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda, have already visited Takayama’s “Old Manila.” This Takayama Pilgrimage includes a visit to the Takayama Shrine at UST and to the San Domingo Priory in Quezon City to see “La Japona,” the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary that was escorted back to Manila by Lord Takayama on board his exile boat.
►On Nov. 17, 1992, De Pedro secured from the National Historical Commission the declaration of the Takayama Memorial (established in 1977) as a National Monument.
►On Dec. 21, 2018, recognizing Takayama as a “Son of Manila,” Manila City Hall declared December 21 every year as “Blessed Takayama Ukon Day.”
►To spread information about Takayama, De Pedro manages the Takayama website: www.takayamaukon.com.
On Facebook, the ‘Takayama Cause’ is on the FB Page: //justotakayamaukon.
►The late Osaka Cardinal Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi has cited Takayama as “the epitome of the Japanese spirit.”
The Japanese historian, Anesaki Masaharu, summed up the significance of Takayama: “Justo Ukon Takayama’s life illustrates a happy union of the valor of a Japanese warrior and the fidelity of an ardent Catholic. His brilliant military achievements, his moral integrity and deliberateness in critical moments, his dauntless spirit combined with a meek soul, his earnest zeal and piety expressed in his generosity and charity — all these should be noted as a fruit of Christian missions.”
►In all of these developments, the University of Santo Tomas has been the “de facto” center of the Takayama movement. The final test of history is whether at the end of our endeavors, all this research will result in the ultimate canonization of Blessed Justo Takayama, Son of Manila.#
►Among the first to be presented with a resin-fiberglass statuette of Blessed Takayama was Pope Francis, who had issued the “Decree of Martyrdom” on Jan. 21, 2016, declaring the “Servant of God” Dom Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615) as a “layperson … from Japan [who] died from the hatred of the Faith on Feb. 3, 1615 in Manila, Philippines” – thus laying the groundwork for Takayama’s beatification in Osaka on Feb. 7, 2017. Blessed Takayama died (i.e., “was born into Heaven”) in Intramuros, Manila – and was the FIRST Catholic to be proposed for Sainthood at the Vatican by the Manila Archdiocese on Oct. 5, 1630. Takayama was Japanese, not Filipino – but certainly a “Philippine saint.”#
►The story of the celebrated “Samurai for Christ” — Dom Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615) — is of enduring interest for all people of faith. Why has this Japanese Christian of heroic virtue resonated so well among so many devotees?
Here’s a summary
►One of the greatest heroes of the martyr Church of Japan is undoubtedly the Catholic lay apostle, Justus Ukon Takayama (1552-1615), or Justus Ucondono, as he was usually called by missionaries. Although he greatly desired to shed his blood for Christ, he was not granted this honor, yet he sacrificed everything on three separate occasions for his Divine Master, was exiled to a foreign land (the Philippines) for the sake of his Faith, and died in Manila as a result of the hardships endured on the voyage to his exile.
Ukon Takayama was one of the greatest men of his era. He was an able ruler (as Daimyo, or governor of Takatsuki and later, of Akashi), a great general, an ingenious strategist, a master of the tea ceremony, a harmonious personality, and above all, an exemplary and saintly Christian.
He preached the Gospel among Japanese Buddhists — (which the Takayama family professed until their conversion and baptism in 1564) –better than many of the Jesuit missionaries. His amiable and attractive personality and, more striking, his blameless life, attracted numerous souls to the fold of the Good Shepherd. Not only did he convert his vassals and subjects to the Catholic Faith, but a number of the greatest personalities of his era were also won over by his entreaties and example to the cause of Christ. Gamo Ujisato, Kuroda Yoshitaka, Hosokawa Gracia were the most outstanding of them, but there were many others whose number and identity is known to God alone.
Ukon’s unblemished chastity was so generally admired even his enemy, Hideyoshi (who ruled Japan 1583-1598) could not but admire it.
‘Samurai for Christ’
As a samurai-daimyo devoted to Christ, Ukon Takayama professed his Faith openly — fighting his battles under the Sign of the Cross.
When the hegemon Oda Nobunaga (r. 1574-1582) threatened to massacre all the Christians and destroy their churches unless Ukon handed over to him the strategic castle of Takatsuki (in Osaka prefecture), the heroic champion of Christ, without hesitation, renounced his domain and betook himself to Nobunaga, with shaved head — ready to die with the missionaries and Christians. Doing this, he fully realized the terrible danger to which he exposed the lives of his only son and his little sister, who were hostages held by his suzerain Araki Murashige. God took the will for the deed, saved Ukon’s life, spared his hostages and secured for him Nobunaga’s admiration and good graces.
When Toyotomi Hideyoshi (who succeeded Nobunaga) suddenly turned persecutor in 1587, Ukon Takayama was called upon either to deny his Faith, or lose his fief, and he gladly gave up everything rather than turn traitor to his Divine Master.
For several years, he was in fear of his life; even after Hideyoshi’s wrath had cooled, he never again became a ruling daimyo but lived in relative obscurity as a guest samurai-general of the Maeda rulers at Kanazawa.
In 1614, Tokugawa Ieyasu resolved to exterminate Christianity — “that evil religion” — and Ukon Takayama was again among the first victims. Since the tyrant could not hope to make him apostatize, he exiled him to a foreign land, calculating that he would not long survive the rigors and hardships of the voyage. The fact that Ukon died a few weeks after his arrival at Manila shows most clearly that Ieyasu’s calculation has been only too correct. Thus Ukon Takayama had the satisfaction of giving up his life for the Divine Master.
In the estimation of his contemporaries, Ukon Takayama was a saintly man. After he had been deposed as Lord of Akashi (in 1587), he was now freer to preach the Gospel — ready to be killed for his Faith. When he visited Kyushu, the Christians there venerated him as a martyr.
Exiled to Manila
In Manila, he was welcomed with religious enthusiasm, for everyone was well aware of the honor of giving hospitality to a renowned Confessor of the Faith. His premature death on February 3, 1615 caused general mourning and regret that Manila had been deprived of the presence of a man of God. His funeral in Intramuros, accorded by Church and State, was a great tribute to him, underscoring that an outstanding Servant of God had passed to a better life.
‘Son of Manila’
The Archdiocese of Manila (as the diocese where Takayama died (or was “born to Heaven”) first presented to the Pope a petition for the beatification of Ukon Takayama in 1630 — only 15 years after he died. This was the FIRST EVER petition for sainthood sent to the Vatican from the Philippine Church!
Many who have remembered this heroic champion of Christ across the centuries continue to pray fervently that Ukon Takayama would someday be raised to the honors of the Altar, and thus be set as a model for young people.#
►For the first time since the “Samurai for Christ,” Blesseed Justo Ukon Takayama (高山右近, 1552-1615) was born in Takayama Village, in Toyono-cho, Osaka Prefecture — the Municipal Government of Toyono-cho (a 100% Shinto-Buddhist town) invited Osaka Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda to celebrate Mass there. Cardinal Maeda – the lone Cardinal in Japan’s Catholic hierarchy – brought six priests to concelebrate with him – as well as parishioners (including nuns) from ● Ashiya, ● Kishiwada, ● Nigawa, ● Osaka-Umeda. ● Sakai, ● Sennan, and ● Shukugawac — who wanted to participate in the historic occasion.
The program was hosted by ● “Honor-Ukon-Takayama-Couples-Gathering” — in collaboration with the Buddhist-based ● “Ukon Takayama Canonization Promotion Committee.”
It was both a civic celebration — and a Catholic special event
On behalf of the municipal government, Welcome Remarks were delivered by Hon. Isao Ikeda, Toyono Town Mayor.
Cardinal Maeda Composed Four ‘Haiku’ for the Occasion
►The “haiku” is a traditional Japanese short poem (with 5-7-5 syllables) — practised by both Lord Justo Ukon Takayama and Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda. A multi-faceted artist, Takayama Ukon is said to have mastered the three forms of Japanese poetry: ◘ the song (“waka”), ◘ the linked verse (“renga”), and ◘ the epigram (“haiku”). ~ Heinrich Dumoulin, 2005
► Cardinal Maeda’s message after the awarding of plaque of appreciation:
In Toyono Town Oh Ukon Takayama Feast of the martyrs
Ukon fuufu ya
Fuyu no niji
Ukon and his wife Both hailed from Takayama Rainbow of winter
► During Cardinal Maeda’s homily:
Shukun wa Iesu
Heiwa ka na
With Ukon’s passing Jesus was his Master This is peace indeed
Tsurugi ni kae
Juujika wo te ni
Instead of a sword Held a crucifix at hand Passing of Ukon #
First Eucharistic Mass in Toyono-cho was celebrated on Feb. 16
►The visit of Osaka Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda on Feb. 16, 2019 to “Ukon-no-Sato” (Takayama Community Center in Takayama Village, Toyono-cho was NOT a “return to Christianity” – Christianity never took root there, not even in Ukon’s time (1552-1615). It has remained Shinto-Buddhist till today although the town’s most celebrated son is Ukon Takayama, a revered Christian Samurai..
In the first feedback from a Buddhist official of Toyono-cho, Megumi IMAIZUMI, who sent in some photos, shares: “The ceremony went well, the Mass was solemn and moving…”
Toyono-cho — and the Ukon Takayama Couple
►In 2016, townmates built granite statues to honor Lord Ukon Takayama and Lady Justa Kuroda Takayama in Toyono-cho (Osaka), birthplace of Ukon Takayama (1552-1615). This is the first representation seen of Mrs. Takayama.
Though Ukon spent his boyhood years — as “Takayama Hikogorō” (彦五郎) in Takayama Village — the Takayama family had moved to Sawa Castle when his father Takayama Tomoteru (1531–1596) became the castle-lord of Sawa Castle in Haibara-cho, Nara Prefecture. In Sawa Castle, Hikogorō – now 12 — joined his father and other members of their family in converting to Christianity.
The Sawa Castle castle was situated at the summit of the mountain southwest of Mt. Inasa as the headquarters for the Sawa Family, which supplied one of the three leading generals of the Uda district between 1346-1370. But, as the stone marker shows, its importance as a medieval-age castle comes from its having been the boyhood residence of the Christian daimyo (feudal clan lord), Takayama Ukon, as written in “History of Japan” by the Portuguese missionary, Luis Frois, SJ (ca. 1532-97). All that remains of Sawa Castle is a historical marker — with Ukon’s name engraved on it.
Maria Leona Nepomuceno, currently the attaché and director for West Japan of the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) in Osaka, who brought the first two Toyono-cho pilgrims to Manila in 2017 and 2018, was invited to attend the Feb. 16 ceremonies. She was warned that it would be very cold and was told to wear snow boots. February is the coldest month in Japan.
Four Seasons in Toyono-cho, Osaka
Memento Photo of ‘First Mass in Toyono-cho’ with Cardinal Maeda
With the inspiring memory of Blessed Takayama guiding his townmates who are studying his long journey into exile, the quest for The Word is just now starting.
►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.
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.
►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.”
►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.
►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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Acknowledgement will be made by PM or email. An official receipt will be issued — if a street or P.O. address is indicated.
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.#
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 [email@example.com]
►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.
►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.
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.
►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.
►Yearly, they reenact Ukon’s wedding — giving everyone a chance to strut off their finest medieval wardrobe.
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.
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 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 Latin, Portuguese, and Spanish. The Bible and other parts of the liturgy were passed down orally, because printed works could be confiscated by authorities.
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.”
►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.#
►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.
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 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.”
◘ 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.
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.
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.
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 MilagrosaVirgen 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).◘
►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