►This is a photo of the Takayama Ukon Memorial Park at Shika (志賀町, Shika–machi), a town located in Hakui District, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan – 12 hours by bus from Tokyo. During the lifetime of Dom Justo Ukon Takayama (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila), Ishikawa was part of the feudal domains ruled by the Great Daimyo Toshiie Maeda (前田 利家, 1538 – April 27, 1599) who was granted the Kaga Domain in 1583 – that is, 5 years before he invited the dispossessed ex-Lord Takayama to be a guest-general (“Kyakusho”) in his army.
►The celebrated Samurai of Christ, Ukon Takayama, spent 26 years (1588-1614) in domestic exile in Kanazawa and in Noto Peninsula (where Ukon was given a large estate) – before finally being deported with his family — and 350 other Christians — to the Philippines in 1614.
►I’ve been looking for Shika-machi (志賀町) as well as Shio-machi (志雄町) where Ukon built two chapels for his ecclesial community of 600 Kirishitan Samurai and their families – who were allowed to practice their Christian religion by a tolerant Lord Maeda, whose daughter was herself a baptized Catholic.
From Toyama to Shika is a 1-hr drive; 3 hrs by bus. The photo shows there’s a statue standing in Shika that looks like the Takayama statue at Plaza Dilao.
ELIZABETH DE LA FUENTE: SHARING WITH YOU THE APOSTOLIC BLESSING IMPARTED BY POPE FRANCIS TO ‘PRAYER WARRIORS OF BLESSED TAKAYAMA’
►As Pope Francis is preparing for a Papal Visit to Japan in November 2019, the Prayers Warriors of Blessed Takayama were anxious to make His Holiness aware that an earlier Pope – His Holiness Sixtus V (r. 1585-1590) — imparted his Apostolic Blessing to the ex-Daimyo Justo Ukon Takayama – who, when he refused to abjure his Catholic faith, was stripped in 1587 of his feudal domain at Akashi — on the Seto Inland Sea west of Kobe, Japan.
Pope Sixtus V wrote: “Dear Son, Noble Sir: Hold fast to your Faith.” This Breve was found by Jesuit researchers in the Vatican Archives under ◘ Arch. Vat., Ann. 44, v. 29 ff. 437va-438v. Nr. 42.#
►With the endorsement of Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, and the facilitation of the Apostolic Nuncio to Manila, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, I was allowed to write directly to His Holiness Pope Francis. I presented to him ◘ a framed copy of the Papal Breve sent in 1590 by Pope Sixtus V to the dispossessed Lord Takayama, and ◘ an altar-statue of Blessed Takayama, sponsored by the “Via Lucis Pilgrim Group 112011,” which was chaplained by then-Imus Bishop (now Cardinal) Tagle in 2011.
►On August 14, we received a reply — (no postmark; it was delivered by courier to my door) — dated July 25 — as follows:
“Dear Dr. de Pedro:
“His Holiness Pope Francis was pleased to receive your letter and copy of the papal brief of Pope Sixtus V to Justo Ukon Takayama written in 1590, and he has asked me to respond on his behalf.
“So too, he thanks you for the gift of a statue of Blessed Takayama.
“He appreciates the sentiments which prompted these thoughtful gestures.
“With the assurance of his prayers, the Holy Father willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing to you and all the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord.”
It was signed: ✠ Archbishop Edgar Peña, Substitute Secretary for General Affairs, Vatican Secretariat of State.#
►Pope Francs has – so far – imparted TWO Apostolic Blessing connected with Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila; beatified 2017):
◘ APOSTOLIC BLESSING TO OSAKA CARDINAL MAEDA: When Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda to represent him at the 60th Anniversary of the post-war reconstruction of the Manila Cathedral (Dec. 8, 2018), he imparted his Apostolic Blessing: “And indeed desiring for you a heavenly companion in Manila, we also commend you to Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon, who is recently raised to the glory of the altars in Osaka. We therefore abundantly pour upon you our Apostolic Blessing; and we generously share it with all of those to whom you will be sent: beloved pastors, seminarians, religious men and women, and lay Christian faithful, most especially the poor and the children.”
►APOSTOLIC BLESSING [No. 460.258] TO ‘ALL THE PRAYER WARRIORS OF BLESSED TAKAYAMA: “With the assurance of his prayers, the Holy Father willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing to you and all the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord.”
Wherefore, we are obligated to share the Apostolic Blessing with ALL who support the Canonization Cause of Blessed Takayama — the Japan-born Manila Catholic who is the Philippine Church’s THIRD Blessed and the 436th Venerated Martyr of Japan.
The Takayama Cause is blessed by your continuing support and devotion. With the assurance of the Holy Father’s prayers, we are happy to share with you a framed parchment of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Blessing – with your name imprinted therein. United in prayer and mission.3
►First outlines of Blessed Takayama emerge – from the “batikuling” wood sun-dried for 10 years. Paete master woodcarver Paloy Cagayat will chisel away every inch that does not look like Ukon Takayama.
Current stage: “Papatuyuin ko na po, ipapasok ko po muna sa dryer, tapos ay ilalagay na yung finer details.” When cured, finer details will be chiseled out.#
►It is the same Ignatian pose as the 36-inch Takayama statue gifted to Pope Francis by “Via Lucis Pilgrimage Group 112011” — but 6-ft tall. This was the first Takayama statue presented to the Pope – after which he imparted his Apostolic Blessing to all Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama. The new statue will have all the essential iconographic elements associated with Ukon: ◘ samurai garb, ◘ topknot (instead of a halo), ◘ sword-cum-crucifix; the ◘ “Palm of Martyrdom” – and a ◘ Rosary.
►Anywhere the Pope Francis celebrates a field Mass where Blessed Takayama accompanies him – we’d be ready to ship a resin-fiberglass replica – in santero parlance a “callejero.” In creating a 6-ft version of the statue he already has, we figure this will find favor with him – if needed.
An enabling donation from a Catholic devotee in Gen. Trias, Cavite — through DoT/Osaka Director Maria Leona Nepomuceno — gave us the confidence to commission this large work.
Prayer Warriors from Los Angeles, Long Beach and Wilmington, California – most of them Pinoy-Americans — pitched in with their contributions.#
►Now is the time to add your P50.00 – less than the price of one mini-burger (or bowl of ramen). No amount is too small to support this initiative.
Please remit your offering to ◘ MetroBank: For credit to “Blessed Justo Takayama Research Service” – Acct. No. #347-3-34757405-9. Remember to send us a copy of your remittance slip – so we can acknowledge. *United in prayer and mission!#
►Don’t just “like” this project. After the original wood carving, we’ll have to make a *rubber mold to produce *resin-fiberglass replicas. There’s a lot required. For now, it’s just to make the master statue. That’s only the first step. My wife reminds me – any shortfall will have to be shouldered by our family. Hmmm. Kaya! No burgers? No ramen? As a samurai-general, Ukon Takayama was a good provider. We march — confident our army will be provided!#
“Let our prayers be the best expression of our solidarity and fraternal support for them.”
►Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has issued a prayer to be said by the clergy and the faithful at all Sunday Masses.
“His Eminence (Cardinal Tagle) invites us to be aware and discerning of the many disturbing issues in our society today. We are invited to respond in faith and hope through our common prayer,” according to Circular 2019-34 on the Prayer for the Nation signed by Fr. Reginald Malicdem, Chancellor of the Archdiocese.
The prayer, written in English and Tagalog, will be prayed at all Sunday Masses, including the evening masses of Saturday, for the whole month beginning August 4.
The circular dated August 1, is addressed to all clergy and superiors of religious men and women in the archdiocese.#
►The head of the Archdiocese of Manila asked them to pray for the members of the Catholic Church particularly those who are victims of false accusations.“Our dear Archbishop, Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, is asking all of us, priests, religious men and women, and lay faithful in the Archdiocese of Manila, to offer our Masses and prayer for all our bishops and priests, especially those who suffer because of persecutions and false accusations,” the directive said.
“Let our prayers be the best expression of our solidarity and fraternal support for them,” it added.#
►PRAYER FOR THE NATION
>>>Almighty and merciful God
You have brought us together in the name of your Son Jesus.
We beg for your mercy and grace in our time of need.
Open our eyes to see the evil that we have done.
Forgive us for failing to do what is good and just.
Touch our hearts and bring us back to You.
We pray for an end to the violence perpetrated by harsh words, malicious propaganda, deadly weapons, or cold indifference.
May our homes, our nation, and our world become havens of Your peace.
Grant us the grace to see every human being as a child of God, regardless of race, language, or culture, even drug addicts, criminals, and hardened sinners.
Give us the strength to teach our children and youth how to resolve differences non-violently and respectfully.
May elders become models of decent and honorable behavior.
We entrust to your mercy those who hate the Church and spread prejudice against our Catholic faith.
Illumine their minds with the light of your truth.
Touch their hearts with your love.
Inspire those in public office to uphold, preserve, promote, and defend the dignity of every human being and acknowledge you, our God, as the Source and Lord of all life.
Touch the hearts of those who oppress others and those who take the law in their own hands.
Touch the consciences of the perpetrators of heinous crimes, violence, senseless, and indiscriminate killings.
Move them to abandon their pride and their instruments of destruction.
We also remember the police and first responders who risk their lives daily to ensure our safety.
May they also be instruments of fair and just law enforcement that guarantees the dignity of persons and promotes truth, peace, and wellbeing in society.
We lift up to you our bishops, priests, consecrated persons, and lay faithful who suffer from misunderstanding, false accusations, and persecution on account of their faith and their promotion of justice.
Grant them holy joy that will see them through the dark nights of suffering.
Welcome to your eternal feast in heaven the people who died in senseless brutal organized killings, including priests who have lost their lives in the pursuit of truth and justice.
With St. Paul, we say:
“We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
Since you, O God, are with us, nothing that has happened, nothing still to come, can rob us of our hope in Christ.
In your enduring love we trust.
You alone can heal our broken hearts.
You alone can wipe away the tears that well up inside us.
You alone can give us peace.
You alone can strengthen us to persevere.
Assure those who are discouraged that with you nothing is impossible.
Filled and invigorated by the Holy Spirit, may our love for one another be deepened.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
►Mary, Mother of Hope, pray for us.
◘ St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
◘ St. John Marie Vianney, pray for us.
◘ San Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.
◘ San Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.
◘ Blessed José María de Manila, pray for us.
◘ Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon, pray for us.#
►“Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon, pray for us.” – The “Samurai of Christ,” Justo Ukon Takayama, the Japan-born Manila Catholic who was “martyred” in Manila in 1615, brings up the rear in the litany of Saints invoked — to protect the Philippines.#
►In fulsome support of the “Cause of Canonization” of Blessed Takayama, Pope Francis imparts Apostolic Blessing to all “Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama.”
►“Dear Dr. de Pedro: His Holiness Pope Francis was pleased to receive your letter and copy of the papal brief of Pope Sixtus V to Justo Ukon Takayama written in 1590, and he has asked me to respond on his behalf.
“So too, he thanks you for the gift of a statue of Blessed Takayama.
“He appreciates the sentiments which prompted these thoughtful gestures.
“With the assurance of his prayers, the Holy Father willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing to you and all the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord.”
Dated July 25, 2019, the letter was signed by ✠ Archbishop Edgar Pena, Substitute for General Affairs, Vatican Secretariat of State.
Preparing for Papal Visit to Japan, Nov. 22-25, 2019
►As Pope Francis prepares to visit Japan, a mission field he had aspired to serve as a young Jesuit, the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama were anxious to let him know that Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585-1590) imparted his Apostolic Blessing to the ex-Daimyo Justo Ukon Takayama, after he was stripped of his feudal domain in Akashi (明石市) on the Seto Inland Sea west of Kobe, Japan. Pope Sixtus wrote: “Dear Son, Noble Sir: Hold fast to your Faith.” This Breve was found by Jesuit researchers in the Vatican Archives under ◘ Arch. Vat., Ann. 44, v. 29 ff. 437va-438v. Nr. 42.
The Latin text was included in the Takayama “Positio” — “Servus Dei, Justus Takayama Ukon: Materia Praeparata Pro Propositione Super Virtutibus Servi Dei Justi Takayama Ukon” (Manila: 1994) which Dr. de Pedro edited and submitted to the Jesuit General Postulator, Fr. Paolo Molinari, SJ. Within the year, Dom Justo Ukon Takayama (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila) was declared a “Servant of God.”
But, sending the Pope a mere xerographed copy of the Papal Breve was inelegant. So we printed the Breve ala Vatican parchment. We sent a framed parchment to Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio to Manila, imploring him to bring it to the attention of Pope Francis – so he will know that an earlier Pope had sought to shore up the resolve of the celebrated “Samurai of Christ” – now Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama.
An Altar-Image of Blessed Takayama for the Vatican
►At that time, we were waiting for clearance to ship to the Vatican an altar-statue of Blessed Takayama as a gift of the Manila-based “Via Lucis Pilgrim Group 112011” which was chaplained on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 2011 by then-Imus Bishop (now Cardinal) Luis Antonio Tagle. The Nuncio said, with the endorsement of this gift by Cardinal Tagle, he will inform the Pope.
The Vatican response was this letter of July 25, 2019.
Original Apostolic Blessi Deposited with RCAM Archives
We have deposited the original with the Archdiocesan Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila.
We are sharing individual print-outs of the Apostolic Blessing with ALL Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama.
“We are now learning the [Japanese] language like little children” – Childlikeness and learning within the context of the early modern Jesuit mission to Japan
Dr. Pia Maria Jolliffe The Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford
►Learning, education and inculturation were very important to the early modern Jesuit mission to Japan. From the beginning, the Jesuits admired the high level of education in Japan. The missionaries knew that they had to learn from Japan if they wanted the Japanese people to develop a real desire to learn from them.
St. Francis Xavier
After Francis Xavier [1506-1552] arrived with his companions on 15 August 1549 in Kagoshima, he lived for a while with a Japanese family and studied Japanese customs. Five letters sent by Xavier from Kagoshima to Rome have survived and have been confirmed as authentic. They are all dated 5 November 1549. Learning emerges as an important theme in all these letters. Xavier admired the Japanese people for their highly developed culture. So, he urged his Jesuit companions to adapt a humble approach to their missionary work:
“May it please God our Lord to grant us a knowledge of the language so that we can speak to them of the things of God, for we shall then, with his grace, favour, and assistance, produce much fruit. We are now like so many statues among them, since they speak and talk much about us, while we, not understanding their language, are mute. We are now learning the language like little children, and may it please God that we may imitate them in their simplicity and purity of mind. We are forced to employ the means and to dispose ourselves to be like them, both in learning the language and in imitating the simplicity of small and innocent children.” (Xavier 1992: 306)
This comparison between the learning Jesuit and little children is very interesting. Probably, Xavier thought of the evangelical simplicity and childlikeness: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18: 3-4)
The first elementary school for young children was opened in 1561 in Ōita. Another elementary school was opened in 1562 in Yokoseura. (Schilling 1931: 30)
Fr. Luis Frois, SJ
In the same year, 1562, Fr. Luís Fróis [1532-1597] arrived in Japan. It is quite likely that he had read Xavier’s letters during his novitiate in Goa.
After 23 years as a missionary in Japan, the mature Froís drafted in 1585 his Tratado, which is today considered the earliest systematic comparison of Japanese and European cultures. There is a whole chapter “Concerning children and their customs” which includes several observations concerning learning.
For example, distich 6 says:
“Among us, a four-year old child still does not know how to eat with his own hands; in Japan a three-year old already eats by himself using chopsticks.” (Fróis 2015: 84)
Or distich 8 says:
“Among us, one learns to read and write from secular teachers; in Japan, they all learn at the temple-schools of the Buddhist monks.” (Fróis 2015: 85)
Distich 9: “Our children learn first to read and then to write; in Japan they commence with writing and then learn to read.” (Fróis 2015: 86)
Distich 13: “Our children have little command and excellence in their manners; children in Japan are exceedingly thorough in their manners, so much that they are amazing.” (Fróis 2015: 87)
It is noteworthy how positively Fróis evaluates Japanese children. Compared to their European counterparts – the Portuguese children Fróis may have been familiar with – Japanese children seemed to the missionary well mannered, dexterous and relaxed when performing in the presence of others. This positive interpretation of Japanese customs and behaviour can be found throughout the Tratado.
Fr. Alessandro Valignano, Jesuit Superior General
Alessandro Valignano [1539-1606], the famous Visitador, also had a high opinion of the quality of learning in Japan. Like Fróis he noted how quickly Japanese children were learning:
“People are very able and of good understanding; and the children are very able to learn all our sciences and disciplines (…) and they learn to read and write in our language much easier and in less time than our children in Europe.” (Valignano 1899: 92)
Moreover, like Xavier, Valignano suggested that Jesuits need to develop a childlike approach towards their new life in Japan:
“However prudent and wise they may be, people find themselves in Japan like children and ignorant, in the kind of way that it is necessary for them to learn how to talk, how to sit down, how to walk, how to eat and to do a thousand other new things. These things seem at the beginning very strange and foolish, however, later they seem good.” (Valignano 1899: 110)
In this way, Valignano challenged generational power relations by acknowledging that mature Jesuits will find themselves “like children and ignorant” when learning to adapt themselves to Japanese culture.#
Fróis, Luís. 2015. The First European Description of Japan, 1585. A Critical English-language Edition ofStriking Contrasts in the Customs of Europe and Japanby Luís Fróis, S.J. London & New York: Routledge.
Schilling, Konrad. 1931. Das Schulwesen der Jesuiten in Japan (1551-1614). Münster: Druck der Regensbergschen Buchdruckerei.
Valignano, Alessandro. 1899. Monumenta Xaveriana. Ex autographis vel ex antiquioribus exemplis collecta. Matriti: Typis Augustini Avrial.
Xavier, Francis. 1992. The letters and instructions of Francis Xavier. Translated and introduced by M. Joseph Costelloe. St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources.#
►The most celebrated bronze of Dom Justo Ukon Takayama (高山右近), 1552-1615; beatified 2017), is the “Samurai of Christ” that stands as the centerpiece of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Park at Plaza Dilao, Paco, Manila. This was the work of the Japanese Catholic convert, Johannes Masaaki Nishimori, who trained in Italy and made his first sculpture there. Returning to Japan, he established the “Atelier Pisano.”
The Takayama statue at Plaza Dilao, inaugurated on Nov. 17, 1977, was actually the FOURTH bronze made by Nishimori.
The original was erected ● at the Shiroato Historical Park in Takatsuki City (Osaka Prefecture) in 1972.
Other Takayama “twins” are ● at Kojyo Park in Takaoka (Toyama Prefecture) – whose castle had been repaired by Lord Takayama while he was in the employ of the Maeda clan, and in ● Takamatsu – at the entrance of the Shodoshima Sonosho Catholic Church of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus.
►Then there’s the famous mounted Samurai-General.
►But a “new” one – not yet seen at Google/Images — is that sculpted by Yasutake Funakoshi (舟越 保武, 1912–2002), the Japanese artist who created the sculptures of the “Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan “ from 1958 to 1962, and later the “Hara-no-Jo “(原の城, Christian samurai).
For the landmark sculpture, he was awarded the “Takamura Kōtarō Prize “ (高村光太郎賞受賞). The Pope bestowed on the 1950 Catholic convert the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1964.
For the latter sculpture he received the Nakahara-Teijirō-Prize (中原悌二郎賞) in 1972.
Bronze by Yasutake Funakoshi
►In 1966 — four years after his work at the the “26 Martyrs’ Shrine” at Nagasaki was completed — Funakoshi made a bronze of Dom Justo Ucondono measuring 80 cm (31.5 inches). Funakoshi shows a pensive Takayama wearing, not a katana, but a crucifix. He seems to be past all worldly worries, with an eye cast — not on the current persecutions that befell him or the forthcoming exile to Manila that was his fate — but on the great beyond.#
’26 Martyrs’ Shrine’ at Nagasaki
►The bronze sculptures at the “26 Martyrs’ Shrine” in Nagasaki were created by Yasutake Funakoshi from 1958 to 1962.#
►🎼🎵🎶 •♫**• With lyrics by Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ, and music by Dom Joseph Bulan, SJ, it is the FIRST Takayama Tagalog hymn to reach us this year. •♫**• 🎶🎵🎶
“Mabunying Samurai” (Awit kay Justo Ukon Takayama) By Tim Ofrasio, SJ – Dom Bulan, SJ
►1. Sumikat na araw sa bukang liwayway
Nagsabog ng liwanag sa kalupaan
Justo Ukon Takayama, maginoong banal
Daimyo’t samurai na kahanga-hanga.
►2. Di nag-atubiling lahat ay talikdan
Mawala pati yaman, dangal ng ngalan,
Kanya mang iwanan bayang niliyag
Pagka-Kristiano niya’y tunay na ipahayag.
KORO: Nawa’y buong tapang din naming harapin
Lahat ng pagsubok sa buhay namin
Tulad ng halimbawang lingkod ng Ama
O dakilang Justo Ukon Takayama.
►3. Mistulang martir na nagbuwis ng buhay
Alang-alang kay Kristong tagapag-akay
Huwarang Samurai na matapang at tapat
Kay Kristong Hari gantimpala’y ganap.
KORO: Naway buong tapang din namin harapin
Lahat ng pagsubok sa buhay namin
Tulad ng halimbawang lingkod ng Ama.
O dakilang Justo Ukon Takayama. #
►The Jesuit Music Ministry (JMM) – an arm of Jesuit Communications Philippines (JesCom) directed by Fr. Emmanuel Alfonso, SJ — is a producer and publisher of music for use in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic church. It was established in response to Vatican II’s “Sacrosanctum Concilium” which urged the entire congregation to actively participate in the liturgy that includes singing. JMM songs are now sung in churches not only in the Philippines but throughout the world.
By 1965, JMM began composing songs in the Filipino idiom. Many well-remembered compositions followed throughout the 70’s, resulting in what could be called “classics” of Filipino Liturgical Music: “Ama Namin (Our Father),” “Ang Puso Ko’y Nagpupuri (Magnificat)” and “Pananagutan.” 1981 saw the release of “Himig Heswita,” an album celebrating 400 years since the arrival of the Jesuits in the Philippines.
JMM has built on this splendid track record since then.#
Lyrics by Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ
►The lyricist, Fr. Tim Ofrasio. SJ, writes: “I was requested by Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ, the renowned Jesuit composer — for lyrics for a proposed song for Blessed Takayama.
“I had no inspiration whatsoever, but still tried to research his life history. I prayed to him to help me write verses on his life and sacrifice. The inspiration I received was about the Jesus Christ as the true rising Sun, and the fidelity of this noble samurai to his Lord, the true rising Sun. I was also touched by Takayama’s willingness to turn his back from his lofty position and earthly honors in order to stand for his faith in Jesus Christ, to the point of leaving his homeland in order to remain faithful to his Lord.
“In this sense, he faced martyrdom, albeit unbloody, but nonetheless painful. Thus the lyrics of the hymn.”
Music by Dom Bulan, SJ
►The composer, Dom Joseph Bulan, SJ [Dom Bulan], writes: “It was really a fruit of collaboration since we received the request to come up with the hymn from Lester Mendiola of Jesuit Music Ministry. (It was actually one of your [Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro’s] emails where you attached some prayers and information about his life).
“I asked Fr. Tim if he could come up with the lyrics for the hymn, and he gladly came up with it.
“I was the one who wrote the music for the piece, and in the process solicited some suggestions from Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ (of the Jesuit Music Ministry, who has composed over 150 songs that are sung all over the world) and Fr. Arnel Aquino, SJ., Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, who has written 18 songs for the JMM, among them, “Pagsibol” and “Ito Ang Araw.”
►Among the Jesuit Music Ministry’s many choirs, it was “Tinig Barangka,” which recorded “Mabunying Samurai” under JMM Director Lester Mendiola. “Tinig Barangka” started singing during the 70’s under Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros, SJ, as the “Barangka Choir” and later changed into “Tinig Barangka.” Composed by professionals and students whose mission is to spread God’s love through the songs, the choir started singing in concerts of the 70’s like “Purihi’t Pasalamatan,” “Hesus na Aking Kapatid,” “Talinghaga” — which promoted Filipino liturgical music. “Tinig Barangka” has worked with numerous conductors and composers, including ● Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros, SJ, ● Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, ● Fr. Nemie Que, SJ, ● Fr. Fruto Ramirez, SJ, ● Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ, ● Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ, and ● Fr. Arnel Aquino, SJ. Today “Tinig Barangka” continues to usher out the quality standards of liturgical music with the passion of serving God and His people.
First Church Rendition
►On Saturday, June 29 – feast day of St. Peter & St. Paul — “Mabunying Samurai” will be sung for the first time at two related events — in Manila and in Wilmington, California: ◘ The installation of Blessed Takayama at the PLM University Chapel by Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, and ◘ The installation of Blessed Takayama at the St. Peter & Sr. Paul Catholic Church in Wilmington, California at 5 PM (California time) – by Rev. Fr. Hildebrand Garceau, O.Praem.#
►The beatification of Justo Takayama Ukon on 7 February 2017 in Osaka, Japan necessitates a special remembrance of Takayama’s special bond with the Jesuits in the Philippines.
First Boatload of Japanese Refugees Arrive in Manila
In 1614, when news of persecution launched by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in Japan had reached Manila, Fr. Valerio de Ledesma, provincial of the Philippines, offered refuge for the Jesuits in Japan. The Provincial also went around raising the interest of Manila citizens in order to stir up compassion toward the persecuted Church. By December, a group of [some 350] Japanese Catholics, including 15 catechists, and a community of beatas of around 14 to 16 sisters of the Religious of Meako with their mother superior, Julia Naito, and the households of Lord Justo Takayama of Sawa Castle and Lord Joan Naito of Yagi Castle (brother of the mother superior), arrived in Manila and was welcomed with veneration being part of the larger heroic Church in Japan.
“The reception given them was what one would expect from a city like Manila. When they arrived at the shore they were saluted by artillery from the fort and the nearby ramparts; nobility, citizens and religious accompanying them to the royal quarters where the Audiencia with its President, the Governor and Captain-General [Juan de Silva], awaited there. From there they went to the Cathedral where a solemn Te Deum was sung and from there to the houses and lodgings prepared for them.”
With them too were 22 Jesuits. They were then absorbed by the Philippine Province and distributed between College of Manila and San Miguel residence along the banks of Pasig. The exiled lay were assigned by the Spanish crown to the Jesuit parish of San Miguel.
Takayama and Naito belonged to the nobility. Their being Catholics afforded them removal from their noble ranks and positions as daimyos, giving up of their castles and kingdoms during the shogunate of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and eventually their expulsion from Japan by Tokugawa Ieyasu.
During the reading of the life of Justo Takayama in the beatification ceremony, it was mentioned that Tokugawa intended to avoid the possibility of martyrdom for the Christian samurais and thus sent them into exile.
Two months after arriving in Manila, on 3 February 1615, Takayama died of a “tropical illness.” He was given a state funeral by Governor de Silva and was buried at the altar area along with former superiors in the Jesuit church of Sta. Ana in Intramuros, the first stone church of the Jesuits in the Philippines, designed and patterned by Fr. Antonio Sedeño after Il Gesu in Rome.
Search for the Bones of Blessed Takayama
Four centuries after, an attempt to search for Takayama’s bones have been made. Due to the destruction of Sta. Ana church caused by earthquakes in the early 17th century, the eventual construction of a new church under the patronage of San Ignacio, and, ultimately, the expulsion of the Jesuits from all the Spanish dominions, including the Philippines in 1768, it became an elusive task to find it.
However, in 2012, an effort was made to search for Takayama’s bones in the Jesuit cemetery in Sacred Heart Novitiate by a group of Japanese representing the Catholic Bishops Conference of Japan led by Bishop Paul Yoshinao Otsuka of Kyoto, along with Bishop Francis Xavier Osamu Mizobe, SDB, Fr. Renzo de Luca, S.J. and Fr. Albert Fuyuki Hirabayashi, S.J, for a possibility that the human remains, including Takayama’s, from [Intramuros’] Sta. Ana church were re-interred in the first San Ignacio church of the pre-suppression period, and then to the second San Ignacio church, before all of its bones were finally transferred to Sacred Heart Novitiate cemetery.
Despite all these labors, Blessed Justo Takayama’s remains are yet to be found.#
►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 was 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.#