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Please write a paper on the topic of persecution of Kirishitans in Japan.

Step 1: Watch the movie


. Do a research on its original author.

Step 2: Skim through the following article to learn about the missionary works and slavery in Asia.Article by James Morrison: JamesMorrisPhDThesis_Exrpt (see attached file below)

*This is a long paper. You are not expected to read the entire thing thoroughly. Browse through them and focus on a few chapters that seem to help you write this paper.

Step 3: Look up and take notes as to what was happening at Goa, Macau and Philippines in the 16th century.

Step 4: Write a paper by articulating on the following points. Please make sure your writing flows as a coherent piece of argument and do not attempt to answer each topic separately.

Identify and analyze the strategy the Portuguese & the Jesuits’ took to expand their influence in Asia. Feel free to research beyond the provided article.

Speculate and explain the main reason why Tokugawa bakufu eliminated Kirishitans from Japan.

What do you think Scorsese was trying to achieve through the movie


Formulate your opinion on the persecution of Kirishitans in Japan.

Example: “In Sugano’s observation, Yoritomo’s relentless attempt to eliminate potential rivals, including his own brothers, contributed to the short span of Minamoto shogun dynasty in the Kamakura period. (Sugano: p134)” “According some opinions in Wikipedia website, Shimabara was not a Christian uprising but an uprising of starving peasants against a harsh taxation policy.”

Chapter Two
Christianity and the Evolving Context of 16th
and 17th Century Japan
The earliest documented conversions to Christianity took place in the period
between the arrival of Francis Xavier (1506-1552CE)307 in 1549 and the last martyrdom of a
Christian missionary in Japan, Mancio Konishi (1600-1644CE) in 1644,308 a period known as
the Kirishitan Century. Traditionally English language scholarship on the period has focused
on southern Japan, especially Kyushu, however Christianity reached every corner of the
country. 309 Japan’s changing socio-political context was the most important factor
influencing, expanding, and restricting both the mission and conversion. The Kirishitan
Century traversed three periods of Japanese history, the end of the Muromachi Period
(Muromachi jidai が
, 1336-1573CE), the entirety of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period
Biographies include: Coleridge ed., The Life and Letters of St. Francis Xavier, 2 vols; Xavier,
Epistolae S. Francisci Xaverii aliaque eius scripta: ex integro refecta textibus, introductionibus, notis,
appendicibus auctua; Bartoli and Maffei, The Life of St. Francis Xavier: Apostle of the Indies and Japan; Cieslik,
Furanshisuko Zabieru: kibō no kiseki; Venn, The Missionary Life and Labours of Francis Xavier. Lacouture,
Jesuits: A Multibiography, 100-137.
For a brief chronology of the period, see: Kirishitan Bunkwa Kenkyu Kwai (Institute of Early
Japanese Christian Culture) ed., Chronology of Kirishitan (Early Christian Era in Japan).
Cieslik and Ã…Å’ta, Kirishitan, 85-108.
(Azuchi Momoyama jidai
, 1573-1603CE), and the beginning of the Edo
Period (1603-1868CE), 310 and consequently, also traversed Japan’s transformation from
medieval (Chūsei
) to early modern (Kinsei
).311 The mission was thereby subjected
to the shifting socio-political situation and governance associated with each period and the
transition between them. Crossing these contexts and time periods the Kirishitan Century
is often divided into two parts, a period of growth (1549-1614CE) and a period of
persecution and hiding which extends from 1614 beyond the end of the Kirishitan Century
until the re-emergence of the Kirishitan in 1865 and the end of persecution in 1873.312
This chapter describes the genesis of the Jesuit missions to Japan and the changing
Japanese political context within which the mission existed. It argues that the mission’s
success or failure was intimately tied to this changing political context. Moreover, the
chapter argues that the eventual turn of those in power against Christianity was the result
of cumulative factors including the Tokugawa bakufu’s consolidation of political power,
trade concerns, fear of colonization, and a series of seemingly random scandals. The chapter
concludes that anti-Kirishitan policy was part of a wider political shift through which the
Tokugawa bakufu, following their Oda and Toyotomi forbearers, attempted to control the
controllable and outlaw the uncontrollable elements of society.
Frédéric, “Historical and Artistic Periods,” 336.
Hall, Nagahara, and Yamamura, “Introduction,” 11; Ebisawa, Nanban bunka – Nichiō bunka kōshō,
2; Shimizu, Kirishitan kinseishi, 21.
Kataoka, Nihon Kirishitan junkyōshi, 3-4. Miyazaki Kentarō provides a similar model. Miyazaki,
Kakure Kirishitan: Orasho, 18-21; Miyazaki, “Roman Catholic Mission in Pre-Modern Japan,” 4-5.
The Arrival of the Jesuits in Japan
The Society of Jesus (Iezusukai
) emerged in what Jonathan Wright
terms a ‘new found frailty in Christendom’313 perhaps better described as a ‘shattering of
Christian unity’314 which followed the Sack of Rome in 1527, growing religious animosity,
the Reformation,315 and wider challenges and changes to traditional European systems of
knowledge. 316 Christianity as experienced by the Jesuit founders was complex, ‘local
environments routinely outflanked or complicated centralizing mandates’ 317 so that it
tolerated and encouraged a range of religious actors, and emphasized various
commitments and elements.318 Religious dissent and criticism were not exclusive to the
growing numbers of rebelling and persecuted Protestants in Europe, although they played
a central role in the creation of a divided Christendom.319 Rather, the Catholic laity also
demanded improvements to the clergy, sermons and other practices.320 Religious upheaval
was only one facet of the early 16th Century European context. Socio-political change was
spurred by Spain’s and Portugal’s emergence as new political, economic and military
powers, the discovery of the Americas which radically expanded the boundaries of the
Wright, The Jesuits: Missions, Myths and Histories, 14-15. Christopher Hollis notes that the division
of Christendom was not a new phenomenon, but had been developing long before the Reformation. Hollis, A
History of the Jesuits, 7.
Alden, The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond 15401750, 3.
Wright, The Jesuits, 14-15; Cieslik and Ã…Å’ta, Kirishitan, 5, 24-27.
Foss, The Founding of the Jesuits, 1540, 26-58.
Homza, “The religious milieu of the young Ignatius,” 13.
Ibid., 13-26.
Wright, The Jesuits, 18-19.
Homza, “The religious milieu of the young Ignatius,” 13.
known world, and naval developments which allowed the New and Old worlds to be easily
traversed.321 Globally, Christendom was further threatened by the rise of the Turks, and
associated risks to the sovereignty of Christian lands in the Mediterranean.322 The Church
responded with reforms following the Council of Trent (1545-1563), improvements to her
religious orders, the creation of new orders including the Jesuits, 323 and the dispatch of
missionaries around the world.324 The Jesuits’ founding moments took place in Paris on
August 15th, 1534, in the midst of these highly complicated theological and political
situations.325 The Order was officially recognized by the Church in Pope Paul II’s papal bull,
Regimini militantis ecclesiae, in 1540.326 In Europe, the Order evolved to combat heresy,
however, for the early Jesuits and many who followed, it was pilgrimage and the spread of
the faith to distant lands which was of central importance. 327 Although the Jesuits
developed as a unique religious order, they were firmly the product of 16th Century
Catholicism, monastic tradition, and interaction with Europe’s contemporaneous
theological-political context.328
Ibid.; Boxer, Four Centuries of Portuguese Expansion, 1415-1825: A Succinct Survey, 1-21; Cieslik
and Ã…Å’ta, Kirishitan, 28-31.
Alden, The Making of an Enterprise, 3; Foss, The Founding of the Jesuits, 3-25.
Alden, The Making of an Enterprise, 3; O’Malley, Saints or Devils Incarnate? Studies in Jesuit
History, 71-87.
Li, “Jesuit Missionaries and the Transmission of Christianity and European Knowledge in China,”
Wright, The Jesuits, 20-25.
This was revised in Pope Julius III’s Exposcit debitum (1550). O’Malley, Saints or Devils Incarnate?,
Laven, Mission to China: Matteo Ricci and the Jesuit Encounter with the East, 5.
Neill, A History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to AD 1707, 134; Moran, The Japanese and
the Jesuits, 21; O’Malley, The First Jesuits, 23-50. J. Michelle Molina notes that whilst the Jesuits had monastic
roots, the development of their tradition can also be viewed as a break from these roots. Molina, To Overcome
Oneself: The Jesuit Ethic and Spirit of Global Expansion, 1520-1767, 23-49.
The Jesuits reached India on May 6th, 1542, 329 following the establishment of
maritime relations with India by Vasco da Gama in 1498, the creation of the “State of India”
in 1505,330 and the establishment of the See of Goa by the Portuguese in 1534.331 In 1557,
Goa became an archbishopric and primatial See of the East Indies acting as the centre of
the Jesuits East Asian Mission, with the diocese of Funai エ
in Japan falling under its
remit from 1588.333 Following the Jesuit takeover of the administration of the College of
Goa in 1548, India became the Jesuit seat of learning in Asia.334 From this Indian base the
Jesuits followed the Portuguese throughout Asia, spreading to Malacca, Indochina,
Indonesia, the Maluku Islands and China.335 After capturing Malacca in 1511,336 the first
official Portuguese ambassadors travelled to China in 1517.337 Individual Portuguese traders
reached China as early as 1514, and although this led to successive attempts to open
permanent commercial and ecclesiastical relations with the mainland, these goals were not
achieved until the establishment of Macau
in 1557 and the permittance of Michele
Neill, A History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to AD 1707, 134; Borges, The Economics of
the Goa Jesuits, 1542-1759: An Explanation of Their Rise and Fall, 17.
Boxer, Portuguese India in the Mid-Seventeenth Century, 1.
Üçerler, “The Jesuit Enterprise in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Japan,” 42; Boxer, The
Christian Century in Japan, 2-6. On the Jesuits in Goa, see: Matsuda, Ã…Å’gon no Goa seisuiki: Ã…Å’a no setten o
tazunete, 12-79.
Modern day Ã…Å’ita
Üçerler, “The Jesuit Enterprise in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Japan,” 42.
Ibid., 43.
Boxer, Four Centuries of Portuguese Expansion, 40-41.
Ibid., 14; De Sá de Meneses, The Conquest of Malacca. Sar Desai, “The Portuguese Administration
in Malacca, 1511-1641,” 501-512.
Boxer, South China in the Sixteenth Century, xx.
Macau eventually served as the centre of the Jesuits’ East Asian mission. Souza, The Survival of
Empire: Portuguese Trade and Society in China and the South China Sea 1630-1754, 24; Brockey, Journey to
the East: The Jesuit Mission to China, 1579-1724, 35-41; Alden, The Making of an Enterprise, 528-551.
Ruggieri (C. Luó Míngjiān
, 1543-1607CE) to reside on the mainland in Zhàoqìng
ェ in 1582. 339 In comparison to India, Portuguese influence and power were weak in
Indonesia, Indochina and Malacca, and therefore traders and missionaries failed to have a
lasting impact.340 The difficulties faced by the Portuguese in these areas, alongside their
ability to act as middlemen in the facilitation of Sino-Japanese trade, which was officially
prohibited due to Wakō
ご (pirate) raids on China, contributed to a Portuguese focus on
Although the Portuguese had met Japanese aboard vessels in Malacca as early as
1511, and had interacted with them elsewhere in Asia, 342 interest in and knowledge of
Japan waned as establishing Sino-Portuguese relations took precedence.343 It was not until
the accidental Portuguese “discovery” of Japan in the early 1540s, that interest in the nation
increased.344 Portuguese interest in Japan seems to have been primarily rooted in trade,
Gregory, The West and China since 1500, 29-51; Laven, Mission to China, 3-19; Brockey, Journey
to the East, 27-41; Wills, Jr. “Relations with maritime Europeans, 1514-1662,” 336-345.
Boxer, Four Centuries of Portuguese Expansion, 40.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 7-8, 91-93.
Anesaki, History of Japanese Religion: With Special Reference to the Social and Moral Life of the
Nation, 240-241. During the Muromachi period (Muromachi jidai が 6 , 1336-1573), Japan had reestablished diplomatic relations with China, and established a large network of trade, piracy and overseas
settlements (Nihon machi )
or Nihonjin machi )
). Tanaka with Sakai,
“Japan’s Relations with Overseas Countries,” 159-178; Kawazoe and Hurst III, “Japan and East Asia,” 396-446;
Elisonas, “The Inseparable Trinity: Japan’s relations with China and Korea,” 235-330. On Nihonmachi, see:
Adachi, “Emigrants from Japan,” 77-78; Cieslik, Sekai o aruita Kirishitan, 164-166; Tashiro, “Chōsen ni akareta
Nihonjin machi,” 240-259; Matsuda, Ōgon no Goa seisuiki: Ōa no setten o tazunete, 160-222.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 14.
Portuguese traders first came to Japan accidentally in or around 1543. Boxer disputes traditional
accounts that suggest that Japan was discovered by Fernão Mendes Pinto (1509-1583) in 1542/1543 arguing
that other Portuguese likely visited before him. Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 14-27; Gonzagowski,
“The Subversion of Empire as Farce in Fernão Mendes Pinto’s Peregrinação,” 31-40; Wiessala, European
Studies in Asia: Contours of a Discipline, 62-63. For Pinto’s account, see: Mendes Pinto, Peregrinaçam de
and especially in their ability to facilitate and profit from trade between China and Japan.345
Traditionally, the Japanese desire for firearms and European knowledge have been
highlighted as two of the primary factors in the establishment of trade.346 However, whilst
it is true that there was a desire to procure firearms and European knowledge in Japan, to
conclude that this was the sole impetus behind Portuguese-Japanese trade relies on the
Orientalist assumption that the Japanese had little of “worth” to offer their “superior”
European trade partners. Conversely, the Portuguese ability to produce huge profits on the
trade of Japanese precious metals including silver, which at the time accounted for a third
of the world’s production, alongside the Jesuits’ successes, seems to have secured
Portuguese interest in the country.347 This interest was compounded by a strong Japanese
market for luxury goods including silk, deer skins, ivory and sandalwood,348 which would
create a highly profitable trade network for the Portuguese who held the monopoly on
European trade until the early 17th Century.349 Although Jesuit relations with Portuguese
Fernam Mendez Pinto; Mendez Pinto, The Voyages and Adventures of Ferdinand Mendez Pinto; Mendes Pinto,
The Travels of Mendes Pinto.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 7-8; Boxer, Four Centuries of Portuguese Expansion, 41.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 28-31.
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 5-6; Flynn and Giràldez, “Born
with a ‘Silver Spoon’: The Origin of World Trade in 1571,” 201-221; Boxer, “The Affair of the ‘Madre de Deus.’
A Chapter in the History of the Portuguese in Japan,” 9-11; Atwell, “International Bullion Flows and the Chinese
Economy circa 1530-1650,” 68-90. Xavier notes the potentially highly valuable trade of precious metals in his
November 5 1549 letter to Father Antonio Gomez written in Kagoshima, and encourages Gomez to spread
the word to Portuguese traders in Goa. His letter to Don Pedro de Silva, Commandant of Malacca written on
the same date makes similar comments. Coleridge ed., The Life and Letters of St. Francis Xavier, vol. 2, 270273, 279-281.
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 91-92; Cooper, “The Mechanics
of the Macao-Nagasaki Silk Trade,” 423-433.
Boxer, “The Affair of the ‘Madre de Deus.’ A Chapter in the History of the Portuguese in Japan,”
traders were not always harmonious, it was expanding Portuguese trade and not conquest
that made the opening of the mission possible. 350 In fact, the conversion of native
populations existed in a symbiotic relationship with the Portuguese and Spanish systems of
navigation, conquest, colonization, and trade.351
If Portuguese interests in Japan were motivated by trade, the Jesuit mission, at least
initially, was linked to Xavier’s disillusionment with his mission to South East Asia352 and
after meeting his eventual translator, Yajirō
,353 in 1547, his growing hope that the
Japanese could be converted.354 Nevertheless, the possibility of commencing both trade
and mission activities in Japan was directly linked to the division of the East and West Indies
Boxer, The Church Militant and Iberian Expansion, 1440-1770, 56. Several sources pertaining to
Portuguese-Japanese trade and relations during the period are included in: Takase, “Kirishitan jidai no Nichipo
gaikō ni okeru Iezusukai senkyōshi,” 51-109.
Takase, “A Igreja Cristã (Kirishitan) no Japão e os Poderes Unificadores Japoneses nos Séculos XVI
e XVII – Kirishitan to tōitsu kenryoku (shōzen),” 186.
Cary, A History of Christianity in Japan, vol. 1, 18-19.
Alternatively spelt
, also known as Anjirō
, Anger, Angier, Paulo de Santa Fé,
Paul and other variations. Yajirō was Japanese. After murdering a man, he fled Japan, meeting Xavier in
Malacca in 1547. A Shingon
Buddhist, he subsequently converted to Christianity. The Jesuits regarded
him as intellectually capable, due to his ability to grasp Christian concepts and learn Portuguese, and therefore
sought to learn about the Japanese religious environment from him, however, he was likely illiterate in
Japanese and uneducated. Scholars have argued that his death on a pirate raid and the use of pirate ships to
transport Xavier’s party to and from Japan, illustrate that Yajirō was a pirate. Elison, Deus Destroyed, 32;
Bartoli and Maffei, The Life of St. Francis Xavier, 299-312; Coleridge ed., The Life and Letters of St. Francis
Xavier, vol. 1, 417-422; Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 307; Xavier, Epistolae S. Francisci Xaverii, vol.
2, no. 79, 71; Cieslik, Sekai o aruita Kirishitan, 10-43; Ebisawa, Kirishitanshi no Kenkyū, 228-252.
Cary, A History of Christianity in Japan, vol. 1, 19-27. Yajirō’s conversations with Xavier alongside
reports from Portuguese merchants fomented this hope. In his first letter mentioning Japan written in Cochin
on January 21 , 1548, Xavier notes several times that he has been assured that a mission to Japan would be
more efficacious than his mission to India, and at several points links his hopes to Yajirō. In an account of
Japan drawn from Yajirō’s testimony and dispatched to Loyola, written in Cochin in January 1549, Xavier notes
religious similarities between Japanese religion and Catholicism, which doubtlessly also inspired his hopes of
gaining converts there. Coleridge ed., The Life and Letters of St. Francis Xavier, vol. 1, 417-421; Coleridge ed.,
The Life and Letters of St. Francis Xavier, vol. 2, 208-215. See also: Bartoli and Maffei, The Life of St. Francis
Xavier, 299-312; Yamato, “Kirishitan jidai saishoki ni okeru Kirisutokyō to Bukkyō no kōshō,” 109-139.
between Portugal and Spain.355 In 1493, Pope Alexander VI promulgated the papal bulls
Eximiae devotionis, Inter caetera and Dudum siquidem, collectively known as the Bulls of
Donation or the Alexandrine Bulls, which divided the Indies, and provided Portugal and
Spain with the rights to civil and religious administration over the lands they discovered.356
The nations formalized this agreement a year later with the Treaty of Tordesillas.357 The
merging of the crowns in 1580 complicated the situation, although Spain and Portugal’s
respective colonial empires continued to be governed separately. 358 Pope Gregory XIII’s
Supa specula (1576) created a diocese based in Macau that incorporated China and Japan,
and from 1585 to 1600 the Jesuits held exclusive rights to the mission allowing them to gain
a monopoly before other Orders entered the mission field.
Franciscans visited
intermittently before 1590, but did not establish a mission. 360 A Dominican came as
ambassador of the Spanish Philippines in 1592, a role which was taken over by the
Franciscans between 1593 and 1597.361 From 1598 to 1640, the Franciscans maintained a
Üçerler, “The Jesuit Enterprise in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Japan,” 41.
Ibid. For discussion, see: Hoffman, “Diplomacy and the Papal Donation 1493-1585,” 151-183;
Linden, “Alexander VI. And the Demarcation of the Maritime and Colonial Domains of Spain and Portugal,
1493-1494,” 1-20; Takase, “A Igreja Cristã (Kirishitan) no Japão e os Poderes Unificadores Japoneses nos
Séculos XVI e XVII – Kirishitan to tōitsu kenryoku (shōzen),” 187-188.
Üçerler, “The Jesuit Enterprise in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Japan,” 41.
Moran, The Japanese and the Jesuits, 46.
Miyazaki, “Roman Catholic Mission in Pre-Modern Japan,” 10-11; Wiest, “Learning from the
Missionary Past,” 194.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 160; Elison, Deus Destroyed, 80. Visits in 1582 and 1584 are
explored in: Willeke and Yanagiya, “Saisho no Furanshisuko kaishi no raichō,” 249-271. For an outline of
Franciscan visits between 1582 and 1590, see: Tsuzukibashi, Nihon Furanshisukokaishi nenpyō: hōgo hōyaku
shiryō ni motozuku shian, 7-8.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 160-171; Tsuzukibashi, Nihon Furanshisukokaishi nenpyō,
presence in Japan,362 the Dominicans and the Augustinians joined the mission field in 1601
and 1602 respectively.363 Despite the presence of other Orders, the Jesuits always remained
the most numerous in the mission field.364
In summation, although the birth of the mission stemmed from a combination of
Xavier’s disillusionment and hope, and was sustained by its success, its formation was
inextricably bound to European politics and the Vatican’s decisions. With the world divided
between Portugal and Spain the mission’s existence was also linked to Portuguese trade.
Ongoing Portuguese and missionary interest in Japan was driven by the Portuguese ability
to make large profits on this trade, their failures elsewhere in East Asia, and the mission’s
Sengoku Jidai
Richard Storry writes that the Muromachi Period was ‘marred by almost continuous
violence, amounting to full-scale civil war.’
Muromachi bakufu が
Nevertheless, the weakness of the
わエ (Muromachi shogunate) stemmed not from an inability to
gain possession of secular authority, but from its difficulty in exercising that authority.366
Tsuzukibashi, Nihon Furanshisukokaishi nenpyō, 20-81
Wilberforce, Dominican Missions and Martyrs in Japan, 3; Nawata Ward, Women Religious
Leaders in Japan’s Christian Century, 1549-1650, 6.
Miyazaki, “Roman Catholic Mission in Pre-Modern Japan,” 10-11.
Storry, A History of Modern Japan, 42.
Hall, “The Muromachi bakufu,” 175-177.
The Ōnin War (Ōnin no Ran パ
) which began in 1467 from a succession dispute,367
led to the opening of a period of civil war and uprisings known as Sengoku jidai. The period
ended following successive phases of pacification and unification, under Oda Nobunaga,368
Toyotomi Hideyoshi, 369 Tokugawa Ieyasu ニぽくキ (1542-1616CE)370 and their allies. 371
Sengoku jidai was marked by a collapsing Japanese political system; 372 the country was
ruled by approximately 120 locally autonomous daimyō, the majority of whom had only
recently emerged as political powers, many through gekokujō
(the supplanting of
lords by their vassals). 373 The bakufu わエ (shogunate) had provided the only effective
system of guaranteeing land rights and adjudicating disputes, but its decline spawned a
system without a superior authority, resulting in constant, widespread conflict between the
daimyō. 374 The collapse of traditional authority spurred not only the emergence of and
Varley, “Warfare in Japan 1467-1600,” 60; Yamada, Sengoku no Katsuryoku, 18; Berry, Hideyoshi,
Biographies include: Ã…Å’ta, The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga. Lamers, Japonius Tyrannus: The
Japanese Warlord Oda Nobunaga Reconsidered; Kanda, Oda Nobunaga; Kaneko, Oda Nobunaga “Tenkabuto”
no jitsuzō; Ikegami, Oda Nobunaga.
Biographies include: Berry, Hideyoshi; Turnbull, Toyotomi Hideyoshi; Dening and Dening, The Life
of Toyotomi Hideyoshi; Kuwata, Toyotomi Hideyoshi kenkyū; Kuwata, Taikō Toyotomi Hideyoshi; Suzuki,
Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Biographies include: Sadler, Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Ieyasu; Sadler, The Maker of Modern
Japan: The Life of Tokugawa Ieyasu; Totman, Tokugawa Ieyasu: Shogun; Kuwata, Tokugawa Ieyasu; Yamaji,
Tokugawa Ieyasu, 2 vols; Futaki, Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Sengoku Jidai’s end date is debated, Yamada Kuniaki notes that some scholars date it to
Nobunaga’s ascension in 1573, whilst others use Nobunaga’s entry into Kyoto in 1568, Hideyoshi’s victory
over the Hōjō Clan (Hōjō shi
) in 1590, or the Siege of Osaka (Ã…Å’saka no Jin
) in 1615. Yamada,
Sengoku no Katsuryoku, 18; Hall, “The Muromachi bakufu,” 225. On the unification of the country see: Asao
and Susser, “The sixteenth-century unification,” 40-95; Hall, Nagahara, and Yamamura, “Introduction,” 7-10.
Elison, “Introduction: Japan in the Sixteenth Century,” 1.
Berry, Hideyoshi, 26. Yamada, Sengoku no Katsuryoku, 146-148; Matsuoka with Arnesen, “The
Sengoku Daimyo of Western Japan: The Case of Ōuchi,” 64-65; Hall, Nagahara, and Yamamura, “Introduction,”
9. On the daimyō of the period, see: Okuno, Sengoku Daimyō.
Hall, “Japan’s Sixteenth-Century Revolution,” 7, 16.
conflict between daimyō, but also the recurring resistance of the peasant classes, their
default on taxes and inter-domainal migration.375 Religious organizations also revolted, and
some held and administered their own provinces and militaries, notably the Jōdo Shinshū
sect Ikkō Ikki
. 376 The contextual elements associated with Sengoku
Jidai including political insecurity and conflict continued to inform the policy of leaders
during the subsequent periods of pacification and unification until the early Edo period.
Arriving in this context, the Jesuits’ fortunes could change overnight; they required
the protection of the daimyō in order to preach safely, but their progress risked destruction
following the potential capture of provinces by hostile forces or changes in policy at the
whim of their patrons.377 For example, daimyō Ōtomo Sōrin
baptized in 1578 held power over Bungo
, Higo
, parts of Hyūga )
, Buzen
, Chikuzen
and Iyo
after his baptism the Ã…Å’tomo clan (Ã…Å’tomo shi
, Chikugo
, however, less than thirteen weeks
) lost much of their land and power
following defeat to the Shimazu clan (Shimazu shi へ
).379 Similarly, the missionaries
Matsuoka with Arnesen, “The Sengoku Daimyo of Western Japan: The Case of Ōuchi,” 71-75; Berry,
Hideyoshi, 23-26. On the peasantry of the era, see: Yamada, Sengoku no Katsuryoku, 210-225.
Hall, “Japan’s Sixteenth-Century Revolution,” 11; Richmond Tsang, War and Faith: Ikkō Ikki in late
Muromachi Japan; Matsuo, “Sengokuki Kaga no chiiki kenryoku to Honganji shugoken,” in three parts, 29-39,
41-50, 51-57; Kanda, “Ikkō Ikki to Sōkoku Ikki wa ikani kanren suru ka,” 231-241; Kanda, “Kaga Ikkō Ikki no
hassei,” 1654-1672.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 42; Elison, Deus Destroyed, 21.
Biographies include: Laures, Kirishitan daimyō, 5-25; Takemoto, Ōtomo Sōrin; Toyama, Ōtomo
Sōrin; Hakusui, Ōtomo Sōrin: Kirishitan daimyō; Cieslik, Kirishitan shikō, 76-85; Yūki, Kirishitan ni natta daimyō,
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 21-25; Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 335-343; Cieslik, Kirishitan
shikō, 76-85.
were expelled from Kyoto by Emperor Ã…Å’gimachi
(1517-1593CE) in 1564, and could
only return after 1569. 380 A later example is that of Ã…Å’mura Yoshiaki
1615CE),381 successor to Kirishitan daimyō
, Ã…Å’mura Sumitada
(1533-1587CE).382 In 1606, Yoshiaki expelled the Jesuits from Ã…Å’mura domain (Ã…Å’mura han
),383 an area with a large Kirishitan population,384 reverting the domain to Buddhism
due to a dispute over the governance of Nagasaki
ぺ.385 Accordingly, in order to address
the high risk, volatile context in which they worked the missionaries required a widespread
base to reduce the risks associated with being attached to a single province or daimyō.386
In 1568, Oda Nobunaga entered Kyoto, leading to the instalment of Ashikaga
4 (1537-1597CE) as shogun (shōgun た人). 387 The championing of a
pretender by a daimyō was not uncommon during the period.388 Nevertheless, Nobunaga’s
subsequent seizure of political and military power, his defeat of Yoshiaki and his allies, and
his concentration and centralization of political power marked the first steps towards
Nosco, “Secrecy and Transmission of Tradition: Issues in the Study of the ‘Underground’
Christians,” 5.
For biographical information, see: Yūki, Kirishitan ni natta daimyō, 43-52.
For biographical information, see: Yūki, Kirishitan ni natta daimyō, 35-43.
Overviews on the Kirishitan Century in Ōmura are included in: Elisonas, “Christianity and the
Daimyo,” 323-331; Cieslik, Kirishitan shikō, 338-345; Yūki, Kirishitan ni natta daimyō, 35-53; Kataoka, Nagasaki
no Kirishitan, 18-22.
In 1574, Sumitada had decreed the complete conversion of his vassals and subjects, and the
destruction of Japanese religious institutions. Cabral, “Coppie d’une letter escripte du P. François Gabriel
Superieur de la Compagnie du nom de Iesus au Iappon,” 13-15; Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 327328.
Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 328; Lach and Van Kley, Asia in the Making of Europe, vol.
3, A Century of Advance, Book One, 172.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 21.
Fujiki with Elison, “The Political Posture of Oda Nobunaga,” 149.
Ibid., 149-150.
creating a unified Japan.389 By the time of his suicide following an assassination attempt in
1582, Nobunaga had extended influence over a third of the country. The total unification
and pacification of the country fell to his successor and former vassal, Hideyoshi, who
through a combination of conquest and diplomacy unified Japan by 1590.390 The mission
was ‘inseparably tied to the fates of the Country at War.’391 In other words, Japan’s sociopolitical context restricted the potential success of the early mission due to its inherent
insecurity, civil war, and changes in local and national leadership. The end of Sengoku
spurred the rise of a new political context in which the Jesuits and the Kirishitan would face
a new set of challenges. For Jurgis Elisonas (George Elison) these changes led to the end of
Jesuit freedom.392 Nevertheless, although the end of Sengoku marked the beginning of new
challenges, the mission’s progress, tied as it was to the context of a country at war, had only
ever been tentatively in the Jesuits’ control.
The Jesuits garnered favour with Nobunaga, and whilst his actions against Buddhist
insurgency and his persecution of Buddhism benefitted the missionaries in the short
Naohiro and Susser, “The sixteenth-century unification,” 40-95; Berry, Hideyoshi, 41-65.
Berry, Hideyoshi, 66-98.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 21.
Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 331.
term, 393 it also set the precedent for his successors’ anti-Christian policies. 394 Initially
Hideyoshi also tolerated Christianity, and following Nobunaga sought to limit the power of
the Buddhist priesthood. 395 However, on the 19th of the 6th month of Tenshō
(1587CE), Hideyoshi issued the Bateren tsuihō rei
,396 a decree ordering all
priests to leave within twenty days. Although this was not strenuously enforced due to
Hideyoshi’s preoccupation with completing the unification of Japan, it set a precedent for
the martyrdoms at Nagasaki in 1597 and the banning of Christianity by Ieyasu in 1612 and
1614.397 It is unlikely that the genesis of Hideyoshi’s policy was either the result of drunken
rage or a long term conspiracy against Christianity made impossible through the Jesuits’
role in essential Portuguese trade, as was asserted by contemporary Christian writers,
although the Jesuit role in trade did limit the degree to which the decree was enforced.398
Nor was it primarily the result of theological concerns, although the author (a former
Buddhist monk named Yakuin Zensō
, 1526-1600CE) declared Japan to be “the
Joan-Pau Rubiés notes that Nobunaga could use the Jesuits and Christianity to weaken the power
of Buddhism. Rubiés, “The Concept of Cultural Dialogue and the Jesuits Method of Accommodation: Between
Idolatry and Civilization,” 254. See also: Kitagawa, “Japanese Religion,” 321.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 2, 25-27; Fujiki with Elison, “The Political Posture of Oda Nobunaga,” 162163, 186, 190-191. On Nobunaga’s policy towards Buddhism, see: McMullin, Buddhism and the State in
Sixteenth-Century Japan.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 139. On Hideyoshi’s policy towards Buddhism, see:
McMullin, Buddhism and the State in Sixteenth-Century Japan, 236-263.
. Japanese text included in: Kataoka, Nihon Kirishitan junkyōshi, 6970; Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi, 266-267. English translations included in: Elison, Deus Destroyed, 115-116;
Elisonas, “Decree,” 168. Elison’s translation is found in edited form in: Andrea and Overfield eds., The Human
Record: Sources of Global History, Volume II: Since 1500, 119. Photographs of the handwritten text are
included in: Cieslik and Ã…Å’ta, Kirishitan, 190-191.
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 55-66.
Ross, A Vision Betrayed, 76; Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 150-154.
Land of the gods” in the first clause of the decree, this section served not to establish the
truth of theological claims, but to provide Hideyoshi with political legitimacy and external
authority.399 Rather, Hideyoshi’s policy was a pragmatic and rational response to an aspect
of society which potentially threatened the socio-political order he was attempting to
create.400 Fujita views this as relating to Hideyoshi’s “unwarranted” ‘suspicion of the Jesuits
possessing some covert plan to topple his government and take over the whole country’401
and the “misunderstanding” that Christianity was part of the European colonial scheme.402
Fujiwara similarly argues that Hideyoshi needed an external enemy in order to unite the
Japanese, and therefore sought to spread suspicions regarding Portugal.403 Nevertheless,
such conclusions which place Europe at the centre overlook the fact that his policy was
primarily concerned with internal affairs.404 Furthermore, construing Hideyoshi’s conduct
as grounded in unwarranted and irrational suspicion and misunderstanding is problematic.
That the Jesuits had political intentions was not a mere suspicion, it was grounded
firmly in their conduct. It is perhaps a step too far to assert that the cession of Nagasaki and
in 1580 and Urakami
in 1584 established the Jesuits as the holders of their
own domains, as these provinces can neither be described as colonies nor completely
Fujita, Japan’s Encounter with Christianity, 117-119.
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 58-59.
Fujita, Japan’s Encounter with Christianity, 120, 259.
Ibid., 260.
Fujiwara, Theology of Culture in a Japanese Context, 167.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 132.
independent from the daimyō with which they were temporally associated.405 However,
alongside their independent involvement in trade, the fortification and stockpiling of
weaponry and munitions in these provinces under Valignano406 and the targeting of the
politically powerful for conversion,407 established the Jesuits as a potential threat to the
political order. Although, the Portuguese and Spanish never drew up proposals to conquer
Japan,408 and Christianity was not imposed at ‘the point of the sword,’409 the Jesuit founders
instilled a combative spirit into the Order whose members would serve as the soldiers of
God. 410 The Jesuits’ militaristic attitudes are perhaps best illustrated in the actions of
Superior and Vice-Provincial, Gaspar Coelho (1530-1590CE),411 who not only met Hideyoshi
aboard his own ship adorned with artillery less than a week before the decree was
promulgated, but on several occasions had made failed requests for Iberian military
Pacheco, “The Founding of the Port of Nagasaki and its Cession to the Society of Jesus,” 312-323;
Hesselink, The Dream of a Christian Nagasaki: World Trade and the Clash of Cultures, 1560-1640, 52-57, 6668, 72; Kataoka, Nagasaki no Kirishitan, 29-32; Cieslik and Ã…Å’ta, Kirishitan, 77-79.
Hesselink, The Dream of a Christian Nagasaki, 68-69; Takase, “Kirishitan senkyōshi no gunji
keikaku (jō),” 305-336; Takase, “Kirishitan senkyōshi no gunji keikaku (chū),” 429-463; Takase, “Kirishitan
senkyōshi no gunji keikaku (ge),” 433-466; Takase, “A Igreja Cristã (Kirishitan) no Japão e os Poderes
Unificadores Japoneses nos Séculos XVI e XVII – Kirishitan to tōitsu kenryoku (shōzen),” 193; Elisonas,
“Christianity and the Daimyo,” 330; Takahashi, Iezusukai no sekai senryaku, 107-108.
Fukatsu, “Nihonjin to Kirisutokyō – Kirishitan dendō no baai,” 6-7.
Boxer, The Church Militant and Iberian Expansion, 56. Rotem Kowner suggests that the Portuguese
were using a tactic of gradual take over saved for strong communities. This tactic included building commercial
ties, establishing evangelical activities, and interfering in local politics, and after securing a strong position
invasion. Kowner, From White to Yellow: The Japanese in European Racial Thought, 1300-1735, 110-111.
Boxer, Four Centuries of Portuguese Expansion, 37.
De Lucca, Jesuits and Fortifications: The Contribution of the Jesuits to Military Architecture in the
Baroque Age, 1-12; O’Malley, Saints or Devils Incarnate?, 39-40. See also the discussion of Jesuit founder
Ignatius Loyola’s (1491-1556) life in: Brodrick, The Origin of the Jesuits, 1-33.
Coelho succeeded Cabral in 1581, and oversaw the mission during Valignano’s absence from Japan
(1581-1590). Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 140-149.
intervention in Japan.412 He had furthermore promised to unite the Kirishitan daimyō in
Kyushu to support Hideyoshi during his invasion in early 1587, and to arrange the loan of
two Portuguese ships for the planned invasions of Korea and China.413 Following the 1587
decree, Coelho sought to unite the Kirishitan daimyō, and sent failed requests for soldiers
and arms to Manila, Macau and Goa in order to resist Hideyoshi’s policy.414 Hideyoshi did
not conceive that the Jesuits were acting as a fifth column,415 although there was certainly
a precedent for this.416 Rather the Jesuits’ actions identified them as a potential internal
political threat, which was exacerbated by the fact that they derived their authority from
Rome, and therefore fell outside of Hideyoshi’s potential control.417
Hideyoshi’s conception of the Kirishitan as a political threat is made clearer in his
“Notice”418 promulgated a day prior to the decree on the 18th of the 6th month of Tenshō 15.
This addressed a Japanese audience rather than the Jesuits and Portuguese as the decree
had done.419 Whereas the decree is reprinted in several sources, the notice exists only in
one. 420 The two principle themes therein are the proscription of forced conversions
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 114-115.
Ibid., 112-114.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 149; Elison, Deus Destroyed, 133-134.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 132.
Takase, “A Igreja Cristã (Kirishitan) no Japão e os Poderes Unificadores Japoneses nos Séculos XVI
e XVII – Kirishitan to tōitsu kenryoku (shōzen),” 192-193.
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 59.
Japanese text in: Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi, 268. English translation in: Elison, Deus Destroyed,
117-118; Elisonas, “Notice,” 166-168. Elison’s translation is found in edited form in: Andrea and Overfield eds.,
The Human Record: Sources of Global History, vol. 2, Since 1500, 118-119. Photographs of the handwritten
text are included in: Cieslik and Ã…Å’ta, Kirishitan, 190-191.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 117-118.
It was found in the Ise Jingū Bunko
き カ text the Goshuin Shishoku Kokaku ド
. Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi, 267.
‘elaborated into a general assertion of central authority’s control over the actions of feudal
subordinates’421 and the likening of the Kirishitan to the Ikkō Ikki.422 The Ikkō Ikki, a Jōdo
Shinshū Buddhist sect who were defeated by Nobunaga after a ten year war ending in 1580,
were a prominent Sengoku power ruling provinces and competing as an independent
faction in the Sengoku power struggles.423 The notice states that the Kirishitan rely more on
supplication to external elements than the Ikkō Ikki, and that the forced conversion of
retainers by Kirishitan daimyō is more undesirable and potentially more harmful than the
Ikkō Ikki establishment of temple precincts (the control of regions by monks connected to
a temple).424 In other words, the Kirishitan were more dangerous than the religious rebels
of recent memory. The need to bring control over the Kirishitan daimyō manifested itself in
the refusal of Takayama Ukon
(1552-1615CE)425 to apostatize426 on Hideyoshi’s
orders, an event that for several contemporaneous writers was understood to be the basis
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 119, 124-132.
Ibid., 119.
Ibid., 119-124; Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 361; Berry, Hideyoshi, 44, 46-47, 63-64.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 118; Andrea and Overfield eds., The Human Record: Sources of Global
History, vol. 2, 118-119.
Biographies include: Cieslik, Takayama Ukon shiwa; Ebisawa, Takayama Ukon; Cieslik, Kirishitan
shikō, 93-100; Yūki, Kirishitan ni natta daimyō, 142-168. A short description of his life is given in: Moffett, A
History of Christianity in Asia, vol. 2, 80-81.
In Japanese the term apostasy is Kikyō
or Haikyō
becoming a verb with the addition of
(Kikyō suru
or Haikyō suru
). During the Kirishitan Century and following periods
of persecution the terms korobu
(to fall down) and korobi
(falling down) were commonly used. The
Kōjien notes that korobu and korobi are specific terms referring to the conversion (apostasy) of Kirishitan.
According to the Kōjien the verb korobu means ‘a Kirishitan converts’ (‘
’), and
the noun or adjective korobi refers to the conversion of a Kirishitan to Buddhism as a result of the antiKirishitan persecutions (‘
’). Shinmura
ed., Kōjien, 1068. On Kikyō and Haikyō, see: Shinmura ed., Kōjien, 665, 2217.
of Hideyoshi’s policy.427 Consequently, Ukon was stripped of his domain and sent into exile,
repercussions he did not hesitate to accept. 428 According to George Elison all other
important Kirishitan daimyō had likely apostatized (at least externally), pledging their
allegiance to Hideyoshi over their religion shortly before the decree was promulgated. 429
Although a few continued to covertly follow Christianity and fund the mission, 430 their
apostasy reflected ‘the essential nature of the Christian daimyo: they pursued their own
interests first and their religion second.’ 431 Nevertheless, the existence of Christianity in
Japan was of little importance to Hideyoshi’s ruling; the notice restricted the conversion of
the wealthy and land owning classes432 who would be required to obtain official permission
to do so, and prohibited forced conversion. 433 This illustrates that at the centre of
Hideyoshi’s action was his desire to extend his power over the daimyō. Indeed, the lower
classes were of little concern and were therefore permitted to convert.434 Both the theme
of asserting authority over the daimyō and the analogy drawn between the Kirishitan and
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 145-146; Elison, Deus Destroyed, 124-126, 131; Cieslik,
Takayama Ukon shiwa, 210-219.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 146. Cieslik and Ebisawa explore the order of exile and its
repercussions for Ukon. Cieslik, Takayama Ukon shiwa, 210-385; Ebisawa, Takayama Ukon, 123-236.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 124.
Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 362-363.
Ibid., 365.
Specifically those who owned above 200 chō , and/or had an income of 2,000–3,000 kan .
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 118. Chō is a measurement of approximately 9917m (2.541 acres) of land, whereas
one kan is a measurement of currency equivalent to 1,000 copper coins. Inoue and Nakamura, Fukutake kogo
jiten, 355, 675; Tōdō, Matsumoto, Takeda, and Kanō eds., Kanjigen, 1055, 1510. A conversion table is included
in: Lu, Japan: A Documentary History, vol. 2, The Late Tokugawa Period to Present, Appendix, 1-2.
Elisonas, “Notice,” 166.
Item 1 of the Notice states that becoming a Kirishitan ‘shall be the free choice of the person
concerned.’ Elison, Deus Destroyed, 117-118.
the Ikkō Ikki confirm the policy’s grounding in the perceived socio-political threat posed by
the Jesuits and their converts.
Despite attempts developed by Valignano to pursue a policy through which the
Jesuits sought to ‘accommodate themselves to the Japanese way of doing things,’ 435
Hideyoshi’s decree and notice illustrate the Jesuits’ failure or perceived failure to acquiesce
to Japanese modes of thought and ways of doing things. A central theme in both the decree
and notice is the concept that the missionaries and their followers forced peasants to
become Christian.436 In the decree this is directly linked to the destruction of shrines and
temples, and the stirring up of the lower classes.437 The notice includes two injunctions,
originally posed as questions to Coelho shortly before the documents’ promulgation;438 a
ban on the trade of Japanese humans based on the Portuguese trade of Japanese slaves,439
and a ban on the trade and slaughter of cattle and horses for food.440 The Jesuits refrained
from using indigenous Japanese slaves, relying on Africans and non-Japanese Asians,441 and
even appear to have opposed the trade of Japanese slaves, however, their deferral to the
Portuguese and Japanese authorities to bring this trade to an end damaged Japanese-Jesuit
Moran, The Japanese and the Jesuits, 54. The policy of accommodation was known as
Accommodatio (Tekiō shugi パ
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 116-118.
Ibid., 116.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 145-147; Elison, Deus Destroyed, 115.
Boxer, “Muitsai in Macao,” 222-241; Seijas, Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico: From Chinos to Indians,
49-61; Kitahara, Porutogaru no shokuminchi keisei to Nihonjin dorei.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 118.
Kowner, From White to Yellow, 148-150; Borges, The Economics of the Goa Jesuits, 48.
relations.442 The Portuguese trade of Japanese slaves was so widespread that King Sebastian
I of Portugal (1554-1578CE) prohibited it in 1571 fearing it hindered the mission, although
his ruling doesn’t appear to have been enforced.443 In 1605, King Philip III of Spain and
Portugal (1578-1621CE) responded to criticisms of both the slave trade and its prohibition,
decreeing that the illegal taking of Japanese slaves remained prohibited whilst the trade of
those legally obtained was permissible. 444 African and Asian slaves were an important
resource that allowed the Jesuits to reduce their financial liabilities and constraints on their
low numbers of personnel. Despite the secular rulings and Jesuit Superior General (L.
Praepositus Generalis), Francis Borgia’s (1510-1572CE), 1569 decree demanding that the
Jesuits free all slaves kept by the Society, 445 the Japanese perceived the Jesuits to be
involved in the trade of not only foreign, but native slaves. According to the
contemporaneous Japanese source, the Kyūshū godōzaiki
they bought up several hundred Japanese (man or woman regardless) for the Black
Ships, where they were taken with iron shackles on arms and legs, and thrust down
into the bottom hold, with tortures exceeding those of hell.446
Moran, The Japanese and the Jesuits, 106-111. In 1590, Valignano argued that the Portuguese
bore no guilt for the slave trade; rather it was the Japanese who forced their countrymen onto the traders
with low prices and solicitations. Elisonas, “Notice,” 166-167.
Nelson, “Slavery in Medieval Japan,” 463.
Ibid., 464.
Borges, The Economics of the Goa Jesuits, 47-48.
Quoted in: Elison, Deus Destroyed, 125.
Valignano banned cattle slaughter and placed restrictions upon their consumption
in 1583, however, it appears that this ruling was ignored by his successors.447 The notice’s
final two injunctions, therefore, appear to reflect the possibility that although the Jesuits
successfully adopted some of the outward manifestations of Japanese customs and modes
of thought, such as etiquette,448 the use of Japanese style architectural styles, and some
dietary requirements, 449 they failed on a fundamental level to acquiesce to Japanese
patterns of behaviour and understanding. Moreover, whilst the Jesuits sought and perhaps
failed to adequately change their behavioural patterns, they demanded that their converts
undergo a complete change in attitude both religiously and secularly.450 Simultaneously,
they conducted theological (and personal) attacks on the Japanese religions and their
adherents which they judged as heathen and pagan, 451 and demanded the Kirishitan
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 59-60; Matsuo, “Bunken ni miru Edo Jidai no gyūnikushoku ni tsuite,” 301-
Moran, The Japanese and the Jesuits, 134-135.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 58-60.
Ibid. 61.
Anesaki, “Japanese Criticisms and Refutations of Christianity in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth
Centuries,” 1; Cohen, The Japanese Translations of the Hebrew Bible, 18; Yamato, “Kirishitan jidai saishoki ni
okeru Kirisutokyō to Bukkyō no kōshō,” 121-139. One example is Cabral’s May 31 , 1575 letter which attacks
Buddhist priests (referred to by the Jesuits as bonzes, bonzos or bonzas) for their obstinacy, their misleading
of the people, and their greed. Cabral, “Coppie d’une letter escripte du P. François Gabriel Superieur de la
Compagnie du nom de Iesus au Iappon,” 6. In his first letter from Japan, dated November 11 , 1549, Xavier
similarly attacks the bonzes and nuns, noting their lust, promiscuity, lax rules, and use of abortion medication.
Later in a Letter to the Society in Europe (January 29 , 1552), Xavier describes the bonzes as the Jesuits’
greatest enemies. Coleridge ed., The Life and Letters of St. Francis Xavier, vol. 2, 238-240, 339. Anti-Buddhist
material was not limited to inter-Jesuit correspondence, the Jesuits also composed Japanese language antiBuddhist treatises. A pertinent example is the first part of Myōtei mondō 、
(1605) known as Buppō
no shidai ryaku nukigaki
. The text is reprinted in: Ebisawa, Buppō no shidai ryaku nukigaki,
103-112. An English summary of its contents are given in: Elison, Deus Destroyed, 442-443. See also: Baskind,
“ ‘The Matter of the Zen School’ Fukansai Habian’s Myōtei mondō and His Christian Polemic on Buddhism,”
daimyō dismantle these institutions in their domains. The Jesuits were thereby brought into
conflict with the Japanese religious and political systems. A situation that contributed to
Hideyoshi’s ruling. Accordingly, the decree’s fifth and final item states:
From now on all those who do not disturb Buddhism…may freely travel from the
Kirishitan Country and return.452
Despite all this, the Jesuits’ ability or inability to acquiesce to Japanese manners and
customs does not appear to be a prime factor in the decree’s genesis. The immediate cause
of the decree’s promulgation appears to be the potential, internal political threat posed by
Christianity and the desire to control the daimyō; however, it must also be understood as
the result of wider trends. Nobunaga had ‘established a pattern of aggressive national
rule’;453 many of his policies and the organizational pattern to which he adhered set the
precedent for the policies of his successors.454 As Elison notes, the Jesuits were unable to
accommodate to these organizational and political changes. 455 Moreover, Nobunaga’s
campaign against the Ikkō Ikki, marked the beginning of a religious policy which sought to
‘eliminate the threat which organized religion’s competing cadres of loyalty posed to the
Quoted in: Elison, Deus Destroyed, 116.
Berry, Hideyoshi, 67.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 83; Elison, “The Cross and the Sword: Patterns of Momoyama History,”
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 83
regime’456 foreshadowing Hideyoshi and Ieyasu’s anti-Kirishitan legislation.457 Hideyoshi’s
decree was formulated within the context of his own religious policy, through which the
activities of temples were restricted and their independence forfeited.458 On the other hand,
whilst the decree appears to be mostly concerned with internal affairs, it can also be viewed
alongside Hideyoshi’s moves to centralize the management of foreign trade and ban
piracy.459 In exercising control over Christianity, he ensured that the missionaries’ power to
influence trade was weakened and the government’s influence increased. Finally, the
decree can be understood in the context of pre-existent anti-Jesuit sentiment, which had
existed since the mission’s genesis due to their clashes with Buddhists, and is encapsulated
in the decree’s disdain at the Kirishitan led destruction of temples and shrines.460
Elizabeth Berry and Andrew Ross claim that Hideyoshi’s policy sought not to end
Christianity, but acted as a warning and an attempt to address potential issues.461 Contrary
to this, that Hideyoshi confiscated Jesuit property, closed Churches, took over the
administrative control of Nagasaki, Mogi and Urakami (against which fines were levied), and
ordered in a further decree the removal of Christian symbols from the armour and
equipment of Samurai,462 suggests his policy was intended to have wider effects than those
Elison, “The Cross and the Sword: Patterns of Momoyama History,” 69.
Ibid., 70-72.
McMullin, Buddhism and the State in Sixteenth-Century Japan, 238-241.
Berry, Hideyoshi, 133-135.
Kitagawa, Religion in Japanese History, 144; Elison, Deus Destroyed, 35-36, 116; Elisonas,
“Christianity and the Daimyo,” 309-310.
Berry, Hideyoshi, 226; Ross, A Vision Betrayed: The Jesuits in Japan and China, 1542-1742, 76.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan: 1549-1650, 149.
ascribed to it by Berry and Ross. Valignano’s letter sent from Macau on November 6th, 1588
to Philip I of Portugal (1527-1598CE) also attests to the large material losses inflicted upon
the Church through Hideyoshi’s legislation. 463 However, since he was seeking material
assistance for the mission his claims may have been exaggerated. Hideyoshi did not rescind
the decree464 and Valignano continued to fear an intensification of persecution465 pointing
to its potential continuing relevance and validity as law. A letter466 presented to Valignano
in 1591 in his capacity as the Viceroy of India’s ambassador, and drafted for Hideyoshi by
Buddhist priest, Saishō Jōtai
(1548-1607CE),467 condemned Christianity through
a comparison of the universality and plurality of East Asian concepts of the divine found in
the Three Teachings (Shinto, Confucianism, and Buddhism) with the particularity of
European concepts. 468 The letter threatened the expulsion of the Bateren
(Jesuits) should they seek to proselytize.470 It is clear, therefore, that the policy was not a
mere inconsequential blip in Hideyoshi’s career. The failure to forcibly exile the missionaries
Valignano, “Fr. A. Valignano S. J., Visitor, to Philip I, King of Portugal, Macao, November 6, 1588,”
Timon Screech notes that Bishop of Funai (1592-1598), Pedro Martins’s (1542-1598), claim that
Hideyoshi had apologized for his decrees in a personal conversation. Screech, “The English and the Control of
Christianity in the Early Edo Period,” 7.
Valignano, “Fr. A. Valignano S. J., Visitor, to Fr. Cl. Acquaviva S. J., General, Nagasaki, February 15,
1592,” 773.
Japanese version in: Kuwata, Toyotomi Hideyoshi kenkyū, 253-255. English translation in: Elisonas,
“Letter to the Viceroy of India,” 168-171.
Sometimes rendered Seishō Shōtai.
Elisonas, “Letter to the Viceroy of India,” 169-170.
Also written
Elisonas, “Letter to the Viceroy of India,” 171.
as outlined in the decree,471 continued Jesuit power in Nagasaki,472 and occasional Toyotomi
support for the missionaries,473 point to Hideyoshi’s pragmatism and the fact that he had
other more pressing focuses; Japan’s unification, war with Korea and his succession. 474
Moreover, it was not possible for the Jesuits to enter exile in accordance with the decree as
no ship was due to leave Japan within twenty days of its ratification.475 Once a ship was
ready for this purpose, Coelho persuaded Hideyoshi that the ship was unable to take so
many passengers.476 Fears that persecuting the missionaries would invite military action
against Japan may have also contributed to the lax enforcement of the decree.477 In any
case, whilst the legislation appears to have had short-term negative material consequences
on the Church, the 1591 Annual Letter of the Province of India claims that some 21,000
converts were made in Japan between October 1589 and October 1590,478 suggesting that
the legislation had little influence on conversion.
In 1596, a Spanish ship, the San Felipe, wrecked off the coast of Shikoku
Hideyoshi’s agent Mashita Nagamori
(1545-1615CE)480 and Tosa
The only to leave were three iruman
(P. irmãos – Jesuit brothers) who were sent to
Macau for ordination, however they later returned. Elison, Deus Destroyed, 133.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 149, 151.
Berry, Hideyoshi, 92-93.
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 59; Berry, Hideyoshi, 226-227;
Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 365.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 148; Elison, Deus Destroyed, 133.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 148; Elison, Deus Destroyed, 133.
Moffett, A History of Christianity in Asia, vol. 2, 81.
Martins, “Annual Letter of the Province of India by Fr. Pedro Martins S. J., Provincial, Goa,
November 30, 1591,” 711.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 136.
Including his title: Mashita Uemon no Jō Nagamori
Chōsokabe Motochika
(1539-1599CE) issued orders for the cargo to be
confiscated. 481 The chain of events which followed are marked by a series of JesuitFranciscans ‘aspersions, counter-claims and philippics’ 482 which have transmogrified
historical reality so that at times the events cannot be clearly reconstructed beyond
speculation.483 Jesuit accounts claimed that the ship’s pilot, Francisco de Olandía, had in
anger boasted to Mashita about Spanish conquest and colonization, and the dispatch of
missionaries as forerunners to invasion, which was subsequently reported to Hideyoshi.484
The Franciscans and Spaniards argued that the Portuguese and Jesuits disseminated such
rumours to Mashita prior to his interview of the pilot.485 Elison believes that the Franciscan
account is more likely to be true, but notes that this cannot be established with certainty.486
Other scholars have favoured the Portuguese-Jesuit account; Timon Screech for instance
argues that the building of an extravagant Franciscan Church in Kyoto was part of the
provocation for Hideyoshi’s response, 487 whereas Boxer argues that the Franciscans
exacerbated the situation by conducting themselves as if the 1587 decree did not exist.488
One thing is clear, as a result Hideyoshi crucified twenty-six men, now known as the
“Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan” (Nihon Nijūroku Seijin )
), on the 19th of the
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 136.
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 60. Some lengthy quotations of
primary sources are given in: Okada, Kirishitan Bateren, 105-114.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 138.
Ibid., 138-139.
Ibid., 139.
Screech, “The English and the Control of Christianity in the Early Edo Period,” 7.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 162.
12th month of Keichō
1 (1597) in Nagasaki, amongst whom were 6 Franciscans, 3
Jesuits and 17 lay converts.489 This marked the temporary end of Franciscan presence in
Japan, 490 but did not result in wide scale anti-Kirishitan persecution due to Hideyoshi’s
preoccupation with ongoing war in Korea and his succession.491 Nevertheless, it was the
first persecution ordered by the centralized government to be marked by the spilling of
Kirishitan and missionary blood. 492 It led to the humbling of the Jesuits; 493 25 fled the
country, and 120 churches were destroyed.494 The event marked the end of the first half of
the Kirishitan Century with a shift in context that changed the nature of the mission. Elison
[Japanese Christianity’s] problem after 1597 [was] no longer that of acceptance but
of survival.495
Yamamoto, Nijūroku Seijin junkyō shiwa; Matsuda, “Nihon Nijūroku Seijin no jinmei ni tsuite,” 339; Kataoka, “Saigo no michi,” 87-105; Uyttenbroeck and Schneider, The Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan:
Historical Background Authentic Biographical Stories; Nihon 26 Seijin Junkyō 400 Nensai in Kyōto Kinenshi
Henshū Iinkai ed., Michi ga Kyōto kara: Nihon 26 seijin junkyō 400 nensai in Kyōto. Refer also to the
contemporaneous record of Louis Fróis: Fróis, Relatione dela gloriosa morte di XXVI. Posti in croce per
comandamenta del Re di Giappone, alli 5. di Febraio 1597. de quali sei furno Religiosi di San Francesco, tre
della Compagnia di Giesù, et dicesette Christiani Giapponesi.
Tsuzukibashi, Nihon Furanshisukokaishi nenpyō, 18-19.
Berry, Hideyoshi, 226-227; Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 365.
Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 365. Persecution on a local scale had existed since the
mission’s inception. Xavier’s Letter to the Society at Goa (July 1551) and Letter to the Society in Europe
(January 29 , 1552) for instance note that the bonzes in Kagoshima had persuaded the local daimyō, Shimazu
Takahisa へ 交 (1514-1571CE), to forbid conversion to Christianity under the punishment of death during
the first year of the mission. This was also influenced by the arrival of Portuguese traders in Hirado rather than
Kagoshima. Coleridge ed., The Life and Letters of St. Francis Xavier, vol. 2, 295-296, 335; Cieslik, Kirishitan shikō,
Berry, Hideyoshi, 227.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 170.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 140.
The Tokugawa
Following Hideyoshi’s death in 1598, the Franciscans returned to Japan,496 and antiKirishitan persecution continued sporadically. For example, between 1603 and 1609,
Kirishitan fled Higo where Katō Kiyomasa
(1561-1611CE) persecuted several
Kirishitan retainers following their refusal to apostatize.497 Under Kiyomasa, the Kirishitan
population in his domain dropped from 80,000 to 20,000. 498 Similarly, in 1609 three
Kirishitan were put to death on the island of Ikitsuki
as a warning and example to the
communities there.499 Whilst localized anti-Kirishitan persecution was permitted under the
rule of Tokugawa Ieyasu following his seizure and consolidation of power, 500 like his
predecessors he initially showed favour to the Jesuits, 501 and even permitted the
Dominicans and Augustinians to enter the mission field.502 He also gave the influential Jesuit
João Rodrigues a level of authority over the governance of Nagasaki, 503 although
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 170-171.
Kataoka, Nihon Kirishitan junkyōshi, 212-226.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 412, n. 59.
They were Gaspar Nishi
and his family. Turnbull, “The Veneration of the Martyrs of
Ikitsuki (1609-1545) by the Japanese Hidden Christians,” 301; Turnbull, The Kakure Kirishitan of Japan, 32-34;
Matsumoto, Ikitsuki no Kirishitan, 3; Cieslik, “Junkyōsha ichizoku Ikitsuki no Nishika,” 124-127; Nihon
Katorikku Shikyō Kyōgikai – Ressei Reppuku Tokubetsu Iinkai ed., Petoro Kibe to 187 Junkyōsha, 18-20.
For an account of Ieyasu’s rise to power, see: Sadler, Shogun; Sadler, The Maker of Modern Japan;
Totman, Tokugawa Ieyasu: Shogun; Totman, Politics in the Tokugawa Bakufu: 1600-1843, 8-31.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 179-183.
Hesselink, The Dream of a Christian Nagasaki, 16.
Elisonas, “Nagasaki: The Early Years of an Early Modern Japanese City,” 85.
Rodrigues’s position and the incorporation of Ōmura lands into the city in 1605 led to the
aforementioned breakdown in relations between the Jesuits and Ã…Å’mura Yoshiaki.504
The “resurgence” and strengthening of anti-Kirishitan policy under the retired
Ieyasu and his successor, Hidetada
ビ (1579-1632CE),505 who ruled from 1605-1623,506
followed a governmental scandal. Kirishitan daimyō Arima Harunobu
1612CE)507 bribed Okamoto Daihachi び
, a senior Kirishitan in the service of one of
Ieyasu’s councillors, in hopes of acquiring additional lands.508 To accomplish this Okamoto
provided Harunobu with forged documents.509 In 1612, the conspiracy was exposed, and
Okamoto was executed, but not before he could accuse Harunobu of conspiracy to murder
the Nagasaki bugyō
(administrator of Nagasaki).510 Harunobu forfeited his fief
and was executed. His son, Naozumi
(1586-1641CE),511 apostatized and was given
charge of his father’s domain in Hizen and the ensuing anti-Kirishitan persecutions there.512
Ibid.; Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 186; Cieslik, “Early Missionaries in Japan 7, Father Joao
Rodriguez (1561-1632): ‘The Interpreter,’” 10.
Biographies include: Kawai, Nidai Shōgun Tokugawa Hidetada: nintai suru bonjin no seikō
tetsugaku; Tobe, Tokugawa Hidetada, 2 vols; Fukuda, Tokugawa Hidetada: Gō ga sasaeta nidaime Shōgun;
Ōwada, Tokugawa Hidetada: “bonyō na nidaime” no kōseki.
Ieyasu retained much of his power in his role as Ōgosho ド
(retired Shogun). Frédéric,
“Tokugawa Hidetada,” 976.
For biographical details, see: Cieslik, Kirishitan shikō, 58-70; Yūki, Kirishitan ni natta daimyō, 5966, 94-97.
Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 366.
For biographical details, see: Yūki, Kirishitan ni natta daimyō, 66-72, 105-110.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 314-315, 328-330; Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi, 307;
Elisonas, “Christianity and the Daimyo,” 366-377. On the early persecutions in Arima, see: Kataoka, Nihon
Kirishitan junkyōshi, 187-194; Kanda, Shimabara no ran, 90-93. Nihon Katorikku Shikyō Kyōgikai – Ressei
Reppuku Tokubetsu Iinkai ed., Petoro Kibe to 187 Junkyōsha, 21-23.
With Harunobu’s execution and Naozumi’s apostasy, there were no prominent Kirishitan
daimyō left in Japan.513 During the fallout Ieyasu issued an injunction514 banning Christianity,
however, it was not enforced vigorously 515 and failed to specify the punishment for
practice. 516 The injunction also prohibited certain practices imported by the Portuguese
including smoking, and like Hideyoshi’s 1587 decree placed restrictions on animal
slaughter.517 The Kirishitan in Ieyasu’s service were made to apostatize or were exiled.518
The Franciscan Churches in Kansai and Kanto (Kantō
) were closed, but the Jesuit
institutions were spared due to the intercession of daimyō and Kyōto Shoshidai
(governor of Kyoto), Itakura Katsushige
The Okamoto incident was not the sole impetus behind the “resumption” of
persecution by the central government. The Jesuits were no longer the only group able to
act as intermediaries in Portuguese-Japanese trade; merchants had taken Japanese wives
and learnt Japanese, and a number of Japanese had acquired Portuguese skills. 520 The
importance of Portuguese trade had also declined. 521 The Dutch had arrived in 1600,
50, n. 1.
Boxer, “The Affair of the ‘Madre de Deus’ (A Chapter in the History of the Portuguese in Japan),”
Japanese text reprinted in: Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi, 307. Kataoka, Nihon Kirishitan junkyōshi,
187. Shimizu Hirokazu notes that according to the Tōshōgū Gojikki
きドお乱 (1843) anti-Kirishitan
legislation began in 1611, however no other sources refer to this, and it is generally agreed that Ieyasu’s first
piece of anti-Kirishitan legislation was the 1612 injunction. Shimizu, Kirishitan kinseishi, 97-98.
Screech, “The English and the Control of Christianity in the Early Edo Period,” 8.
Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi, 307.
Screech, “The English and the Control of Christianity in the Early Edo Period,” 8.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 315; Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi, 307; Kataoka, Nihon
Kirishitan junkyōshi, 185.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 317.
Ibid., 308.
although voyages were uncommon until their establishment of the Hirado ã‚“
trading post
in 1609.522 The ship that brought the Dutch in 1600 was piloted by an Englishman, William
Adams (1564-1620),523 who was instrumental in establishing Anglo-Japanese Trade through
the creation of the English East India Company trading station at Hirado in 1613.524 In 1609,
two Spanish ships travelling from the Philippines to Mexico were forced to stop in Japan.525
This resulted in the reestablishment of trade between the Spanish Philippines and Japan.526
The Japanese had also expanded their overseas trade efforts, through which tensions with
the Portuguese emerged. In 1608, a junk dispatched to Champa (Chanpakoku
/Chanpa Ã…Å’koku
) stopped at Macau in order to avoid the monsoon season.527
However, numerous brawls, disputes and skirmishes with the residents led the CaptainMajor of Macau, André Pessoa, and his forces to besiege the residences of the crew and the
Japanese residents who supported them, imprisoning those who surrendered, and killing
those who refused.528 Pessoa travelled to Japan the following year abroad the Madre de
Boxer, “The Affair of the ‘Madre de Deus’ (A Chapter in the History of the Portuguese in Japan),”
6-7, 39-42; MatsÅ«ra Shiryō Hakubutsukan ed., Shito Hirado – nenhyō to shidan -, 94-97; Goodman, Japan and
the Dutch 1600-1853, 9-10; Nagazumi “Orandajin ga mita Nihon” 338-355. On Dutch expansion in Asia prior
to their arrival in Japan, see: Cieslik and Ã…Å’ta, Kirishitan, 36-38.
Biographies include: Corr, Adams the Pilot: The Life and Times of Captain William Adams: 15641620; Farrington, The English Factory in Japan, 1613-1623, 2 vols.
Screech, “The English and the Control of Christianity in the Early Edo Period,” 4; Matsūra Shiryō
Hakubutsukan ed., Shito Hirado, 97-98; Hiradoshi Shihensan Iinkai ed., Daikōkaijidai no bōkenshatachi, 89130. On the establishment of the trading post, see: Saris, “The Voyage of Captaine Saris in the Cloave, to the
Ile of Japan,” 379.
Boxer, “The Affair of the ‘Madre de Deus’ (A Chapter in the History of the Portuguese in Japan),”
Ibid., 49.
Ibid., 37.
Ibid., 38; Kataoka, Nihon Kirishitan junkyōshi, 174-175.
Deus (also known as the Nossa Senhora da Graça). 529 Arima Harunobu requested
permission to seize the ship as revenge for the insult in Macau, however, Ieyasu did not
permit the attack until he was confirmed in the knowledge that the Dutch and Spanish could
supply Japan, should Portuguese trade cease as a result.530 Harunobu and his forces sank
the fleeing Madre de Deus on the 12th of the 12th month of Keichō 14 (1610), killing the
Captain-Major in the process.531 Following the event João Rodrigues was exiled to Macau.532
Trade relations were restored after a Macanese embassy in 1611, partially due to Ieyasu’s
realization that the Dutch and Spanish couldn’t fulfil Japan’s trade needs.533 Boxer believes
that the event’s repercussions ended with this resumption of trade,534 however, Ieyasu’s
ability to act against the Portuguese without severe repercussions, doubtlessly influenced
his decision to issue the injunction following the Okamoto incident in 1612. In 1611 and
1612, tensions with the Spanish also emerged following the arrival of Spanish navigator,
Sebastián Vizcaíno (1548-1624CE), who came to survey the Japanese coast. 535 Adams
warned that this was likely a reconnaissance mission for a future Spanish invasion.536 The
Boxer, “The Affair of the ‘Madre de Deus’ (A Chapter in the History of the Portuguese in Japan),”
Ibid., 48-49.
Ibid., 49-53. Pierre François-Xavier de Charlevoix’s account found in his Histoire du Japon (1754)
is included as an appendix to Boxer’s paper, see pages: 66-74.
Kataoka, Nihon Kirishitan junkyōshi, 178-180
Boxer, “The Affair of the ‘Madre de Deus’ (A Chapter in the History of the Portuguese in Japan),”
Ibid., 61. Letters from Japanese and Portuguese sources leading up to this resumption in trade are
translated in: Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 428-434.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 312.
situation was aggravated by Vizcaíno’s refusal to conform to Japanese etiquette, and his
petitions for the free entry of the Franciscans and the expulsion of the Dutch.537
By 1613, Adams (already a close confidant of Ieyasu) had filled the place left by
Rodrigues at court, helping to foster anti-Catholic opinions and fears of a potential Christian
fifth column.538 Meanwhile, Kirishitan scandals continued to rock the government. After the
death of bureaucrat and daimyō, Ōkubo Nagayasu
, in 1613, it came to light
that in his role overseeing gold and silver production he had falsified the accounts to
procure personal profit.539 Furthermore, he was accused of plotting with missionaries to
dispatch a force to aid Kirishitan against the bakufu. 540 Consequently, his sons were
executed or ordered to commit suicide, and a number of his relatives and associates
implicated in the crime were punished by extension.541 In the same year, a Kirishitan called
was caught illegally purchasing silver and was crucified for the crime.543
Ibid., 313.
Ibid., 308-310, 312-313; Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 62;
Cieslik and Ã…Å’ta, Kirishitan, 196-197. Anti-Catholic sentiment amongst the English was mirrored by antiProtestant sentiment amongst the missionaries. Richard Cocks (1566-1624), the head of the British East India
Company in Hirado, for instance notes the spread of anti-English sentiment amongst Kirishitan converts by
the missionaries. Thompson ed., Diary of Richard Cocks, Cape-Merchant in the English Factory in Japan, 16151622, with Correspondence, vol. 1, 139-140.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 315-316.
Ibid., 316.
Guilt by association was based on the principals of enza
オ (extending complicity to family
members) and renza オ (extending complicity to a larger social group i.e. a village). Sansom, A History of
Japan, vol. 3, 1615-1867, 12-13; Henderson, “The Evolution of Tokugawa Law,” 223; Deal, Handbook to Life in
Medieval and Early Modern Japan, 102.
Sometimes romanised Jirobioye.
Kataoka, Nihon Kirishitan junkyōshi, 198; Murdoch with Yamagata, A History of Japan, vol. 2, 501,
n. 25.
Nagasaki bugyō, Hasegawa Fujihiro
ã‚· , 544 petitioned the bakufu noting the
dangers of Christianity with reference to the Okamoto and Jirobee incidents.545 The petition
alongside mass Kirishitan demonstrations during the persecutions in Arima seems ‘to have
disposed of any hesitations which Ieyasu may still have felt.’546
On the 19th day of the 12th month of Keichō 18 (1614), Ieyasu began preparing a new
law to expel the bateren. He summoned Konchiin SÅ«den
important bakufu documents, to Edo
, 547 who drafted
, and asked him to prepare the text, approving it
the next day and forwarding it to Hidetada for his seal.548 The result was the Bateren tsuihō
no fumi
also called the Hai Kirishitan bun
.549 It stated:
[The Kirishitan] recklessly desire to spread a pernicious doctrine, confound true
religion, change the governmental authority of this realm, and make it their own
possession…the Bateren, contravene the aforesaid governmental regimen, traduce
the Way of the Gods, calumniate the True Law, derange righteous and debase
Also known by his title Sahyōe む
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 316-317.
Ibid., 317; Ross, A Vision Betrayed, 1542-1742, 94.
Also known as Ishin Sūden ネべ .
Screech, “The English and the Control of Christianity in the Early Edo Period,” 8.
Japanese text in: Ikoku Nikki Kankōkai ed., Ikoku nikki: Konchiin Sūden gaikō monjō shūsei: Eiinbon,
33-34; Ebisawa ed., “Hai Kirishitan bun,” 419-421; Ebisawa, Cieslik, Doi, and Ōtsuka eds., Kirishitan sho: Haiya
sho, 451-452. English translation in: Elisonas, “Statement on the Expulsion of the Bateren,” 171-174. Screech
notes that the circulation of legal documents was uncommon, unlike traditional legal documents it was
written in the discursive language of kanbun
, and was accompanied by a framework of enforcement. As
such Screech argues that the edict offered a new statement of thinking, a manifesto. Screech, “The English
and the Control of Christianity in the Early Edo Period,” 9.
goodness…If they are not banned immediately, the state will be sure to suffer grief
in the future. Indeed, unless they are checked, those in charge of enforcing the
ordinances shall themselves become the targets of the punishment of Heaven. So
purge Japan of them! Expel them quickly without giving them an inch of land to
grasp, a foot of ground to stand on! And if any dare to resist these orders, they shall
be executed.550
Reflecting its authorship the majority of the text concerns Shinto, Confucianism and
Buddhism,551 and provides a theological justification for banning Christianity, making it the
enemy of both the state, and according to the text’s rhetoric, the mutually coexistent and
fundamentally unified Japanese religions (Sankyō ichiron
). 552 According to
Screech, the text’s theological concerns illustrate one of its prime functions, not the ban of
Christianity, but the provision of ‘a theorization of the sacred life of the state’553 with which
Christianity was incompatible. This theological theorization of nation (shinkoku shisō
プラ) was grounded in political concerns. It allowed the Tokugawa to:
Elisonas, “Statement on the Expulsion of the Bateren,” 173-174.
Elisonas argues that the edict resembles the argument produced for Hideyoshi by Saishō Jōtai in
his “Letter to the Viceroy of India” however whilst similarities exist (Jōtai and Sūden were contemporaries of
the same school), the concepts present in the edict had undergone a great deal of development. Elisonas,
“Statement on the Expulsion of the Bateren,” 172; Ebisawa, Kirishitan nanban bungaku nyūmon, 253-256.
Guillaume, “Misdirected Understandings: Narrative Matrices in the Japanese Politics of Alterity
Toward the West,” 99. On the use of sankyō ichiron in the text, see: Ebisawa, Kirishitan nanban bungaku
nyūmon, 253-256; Hazama, “Nihon oyobi Chūgoku ni okeru Iezusukai no fukyō hōsaku: Varinyāno no ‘Tekiō
Shugi’ o megutte,” 63-65.
Screech, “The English and the Control of Christianity in the Early Edo Period,” 9.
develop a more complete sense of belonging to a special, orderly, harmonious place,
unified under one ruler…[and] provided grounds on which a conception of a
centralized bureaucratic state…became possible, through the development of a
sense of within and without.554
Shinkoku shisō contrasted Japan’s relations with East Asia which were acceptable,
and her relations with Europe which were best controlled. 555 It served as a framework
through which the Other, and therefore Christianity could be understood.556 In affirming
Japan’s distinctiveness, it illustrated the need to defend this distinctiveness against
Christianity.557 Shinkoku shisō affirmed that lord-vassal relationships were divine because
the oaths of fealty were sworn before the gods and Buddhas.558 Foreign deities could not
be allowed to interfere in this divine covenant. 559 The development of such a concept
allowed the Tokugawa to achieve:
Guillaume, “Misdirected Understandings: Narrative Matrices in the Japanese Politics of Alterity
Toward the West,” 95-96.
Ibid., 96.
Ibid., 96-97.
Hur, Death and Social Order in Tokugawa Japan: Buddhism, Anti-Christianity, and the Danka
System, 41, 43-47.
Ibid., 41-42.
Ibid., 42.
a tightly knit, hierarchical social-religious-political organism, a form of “immanental
theocracy” supported by subservient ecclesiastical institutions.560
Shinkoku shisō placed Shinto, Buddhism and Confucianism at the centre of Japanese life,
but the edict which functioned as a more general means to centralize the control of religion,
marked only the genesis of its development. The edict captures a moment in the early
development of the Tokugawa’s use of shinkoku shisō, however, the creation of a “national
theology” is a later phenomenon that drew upon multiple factors including Ieyasu’s
instatement as a kami
. 561 The edict should be understood as part of a wider policy
developed by Ieyasu that sought to create a system by which religious, philosophical and
ethical systems upheld and cooperated with the ‘objective of establishing a hierarchically
controlled social political organism’562 whereas systems which did not, needed to be purged.
Whilst the edict was spurred by a series of scandals and functioned to control
religion through the ban of Christianity, it was motivated primarily by political concerns. The
Kirishitan scandals and growing tensions between Japan and the Iberian nations illustrated
to the bakufu that the bateren provided an alternative locus of power, which led their
followers to subvert central authority. This realization was fanned by Dutch and English
Kitagawa, On Understanding Japanese Religion, 77.
Williams, “Religion in Early Modern Japan,” 187; Gerhart, The Eyes of Power: Art and Early
Tokugawa Authority, 107-140; Totman, Politics in the Tokugawa Bakufu, 243-245; Lehmann, The Roots of
Modern Japan, 113-114; Boot, “The death of a shogun: deification in early modern Japan,” 144–166; Breen
and Teeuwen, A New History of Shinto, 52-65.
Kitagawa, On Understanding Japanese Religion, 77.
warnings of the Iberian threat, as well as the Spanish and Portuguese attempts to implicate
each other in such conspiracies.563 Unlike previous policy the edict functioned effectively,
leading to the Jesuits’ expulsion, the proscription of Christianity and its promulgation, and
the persecution and martyrdom of those who refused to comply.564 Like Hideyoshi’s policy,
the edict functioned as an internal policy attempting to bring control over a potentially
uncontrollable element of Japanese society, however, under Hidetada and Iemitsu く
(1604-1651CE)565 it developed as foreign policy also. Like their immediate predecessors,
the power of the Tokugawa was based on the tradition of warrior chieftains, which dictated
that rivals be destroyed until they could effectively control affairs and secure family
The edict was circulated in Kansai’s major cities in early 1614.567 Kansai’s churches
were destroyed and the resident Jesuits and Franciscans (31 in total) were sent to
Nagasaki. 568 Most Kirishitan in the area chose to apostatize. 569 The Jesuits, who were
required to provide a register of all staff in Kansai, provided a false account in order that
some might remain to covertly assist Kirishitan there.570 Apostates (korobi Kirishitan
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 310-312.
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 61-66; Boxer, The Christian
Century in Japan, 317.
Biographies include: Fujii, Tokugawa Iemitsu; Yamaoka, Tokugawa Iemitsu, 4 vols.
Totman, Politics in the Tokugawa Bakufu, 236.
Screech, “The English and the Control of Christianity in the Early Edo Period,” 9.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 319-320.
)571 were forced to produce certificates of temple registration (korobi Kirishitan
terauke shōmon
) as evidence of their conversion to Buddhism.572
The missionary personnel, both European and Japanese, were gathered in Nagasaki
alongside leading Kirishitan including Takayama Ukon, who had also received their
extradition orders.573 Prior to disembarking, the missionaries moved and reburied the dead,
and removed religious items from their institutions, which were repossessed by Japanese
officials in late 1614.574 Despite this, the authorities destroyed known Kirishitan gravesites
and confiscated religious items and artefacts.575 Most missionary personnel were exiled,
those who managed to remain hidden in Japan numbered 47, including 27 Jesuits, 576 7
Franciscans, 7 Dominicans, 1 Augustinian, and 5 secular clergy, almost 30% of their previous
number.577 Approximately 200578 native lay catechists (dōjuku
け)579 were able to remain
This term referred to ordinary believers who had apostatized. The terms korobi bateren
and korobi iruman
referred to apostate priests and brothers respectively. Shinmura
ed., Kōjien, 1068.
Tamamuro, “The Development of the Temple-Parishioner System,” 16.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 320.
Ibid., 327. Kataoka, Nihon Kirishitan junkyōshi, 203-211.
Tamamuro, “The Development of the Temple-Parishioner System,” 16-17.
18 were priests and 9 were iruman. Takase, Kirishitan jidai no bunka to shosō, 39.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 322, 327. Miyazaki’s numbers differ, he notes that 26 Jesuits,
6 Franciscans, 7 Dominicans, and 1 Augustinian remained in Japan. Over 350 were exiled including prominent
Kirishitan and their families. Miyazaki, “Roman Catholic Mission in Pre-Modern Japan,” 12.
Boxer states more than 100 remained behind, but also notes that figures are not given in any
sources. The calculation here is based on the number of lay catechists in 1612 (250) and the numbers who
were exiled in 1614, 15 to Manila and 50 to Macau. The figure is problematic, as the number of lay catechists
would have changed between 1612 and 1614. There would be increases through recruitment, but also
decreases through the pre-1614 persecutions. For instance, whilst there were 59 lay catechists in Arima in
1612, this number could have decreased through the persecutions there. Ross therefore argues that the
numbers of native missionary personnel who remained are unknown. For figures see: Boxer, The Christian
Century in Japan, 322, 327-328; Ross, A Vision Betrayed, 96.
The term and the position were modelled on Buddhist positions such as jisha
and the young
helpers of Buddhist clergy. Nosco, “Secrecy and Transmission of Tradition: Issues in the Study of the
due to their ability to conceal themselves amongst the native population.580 Moreover, the
proscription meant that the remnant missionary personnel were unable to travel or preach
openly. 581 Some exiled Kirishitan and those fleeing later persecutions joined expatriate
Japanese communities in South East Asia causing alarm amongst officials who feared that
they may rally behind a former Toyotomi supporter or another form of opposition. 582
Internal exile also took place; 71 noble Kirishitan were banished to northern Japan, although
some moved voluntarily rather than apostatize. 583 The severity of persecution varied
according to domain. 584 In Kokura domain (Kokura han
arrested.585 However, some tozama daimyō
(1567-1636CE) in Sendai domain (Sendai han
) 2047 Kirishitan were
such as Date Masamune
) did not instate the law.587 Of the
martyrs for whom details are known 63 Japanese were martyred that year, however, such
a figure does not include those who died in prison or through torture, and therefore
represents an absolute minimum.588
‘Underground’ Christians,” 5-6; Moriwaki, “Kirishitan ‘dōjuku’ ron: ‘sei’ to ‘zoku’ ni ikita Nihonjin,” 246; Moran,
The Japanese and the Jesuits, 56; Kataoka, Nihon Kirishitan junkyōshi, 150-151.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 327.
Cieslik, “The Great Martyrdom in Edo 1623: Its causes, Course, Consequences,” 4.
Jansen, The Making of Modern Japan, 74.
Cieslik, “The Great Martyrdom in Edo 1623: Its causes, Course, Consequences,” 3; Ross, A Vision
Betrayed, 96.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 331.
Tamamuro, “The Development of the Temple-Parishioner System,” 16.
Tozama daimyō were those daimyō who had risen independently of Ieyasu. They retained some
independence. Tsuji and Bolitho, “Politics in the eighteenth century,” 430; Hesselink, Prisoners from Nambu:
Reality and Make-Believe in Seventeenth Century Japanese Diplomacy, 9; Totman, Politics in the Tokugawa
Bakufu, 33; Scalapino, Democracy and the Party Movement in Prewar Japan: The Failure of the First Attempt,
Persecution in Sendai didn’t begin until 1620. Takagi, Tōhoku no Kirishitan junkyōchi o yuku, 174;
Urakawa, Tōhoku Kirishitanshi, 114-222.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 334, 448.
In 1614, as a result of dissatisfaction amongst former Toyotomi vassals,589 an antiTokugawa coalition headed by Hideyoshi’s heir, Toyotomi Hideyori
伯 (1593-
1615CE), was formed.590 Daimyō defeated by Ieyasu when he unified the country in 1600
and numerous rōnin
(Ōsaka jō
and Kirishitan, amassed a force of 90,000 men at Osaka Castle
).591 The Kirishitan bore crosses and Christian insignia on their banners.592
Three Franciscans, two Jesuits, and two native clergy were also present. 593 Ieyasu
responded with a force of approximately 180,000 men, and a peace was negotiated in early
1615.594 Hideyori amassed his forces a second time.595 The rebellion was crushed in mid1615, and Hideyori committed suicide.596 The Siege of Osaka (Ã…Å’saka no Jin
) and
Ieyasu had denied giving Hideyori’s retainers court status, and then refused to allow the court to
intercede in this matter. Naohiro with Jansen, “Shogun and Tennō,” 261. Several letters recording the
downward spiral in Ieyasu and Hideyori’s relations, and Hideyori’s request of military assistance from Shimazu
Tadatsune へ ビペ (1576-1638CE, also known as Iehisa く ) are translated in Sources of Japanese Tradition,
Volume Two: 1600 to 2000, see: Boot “Account of Tokugawa,” 20-21; Boot “Letter from Honda Masazumi and
Konchiin Sūden to Katagiri Katsumoto,” 21-22; Boot “Letter from Toyotomi Hideyori to Shimazu Iehisa,” 22.
The Japanese texts of the respective documents are found in: Kuroita ed. Tokugawa jikki, vol. 1, 331-332;
Tōkyō Daigaku Shiryō Hensanjo ed., Dai Nihon shiryō, vol. 12, part 14, 457; Kagoshimaken Ishin Shiryō
Hensanjo ed., Kyūki zatsuroku, kōhen, vol. 4, 550.
Davis, Besieged: 100 Great Sieges from Jericho to Sarajevo, 125. On the events of the rebellion,
see: Turnbull, Osaka 1615: The Last Battle of the Samurai.
Davis, Besieged, 125. Streich, “Osaka Castle, Battle of (1614-1615),” 302.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 331.
Davis, Besieged, 125, 127; Streich, “Osaka Castle, Battle of (1614-1615),” 302.
Davis, Besieged, 127.
Ibid., 127-128; Streich, “Osaka Castle, Battle of (1614-1615),” 302; Murdoch with Yamagata, A
History of Japan, vol. 2, 550.
consequential rapid changes to legislation,597 gave a short respite to the Kirishitan, and all
but one clergyman present at the castle escaped.598
After the 1614 edict, anti-Kirishitan decrees were reissued successively on an almost
yearly basis.599 Following Ieyasu’s death, and likely influenced by the presence of priests at
the Siege of Osaka,600 Hidetada issued a decree (the nikō seigen rei
seigen rei
)601 in 1616, strengthening former anti-Kirishitan measures. Hiding or
assisting Kirishitan was made punishable under the penalty of death. 602 Hidetada’s decree
also banned foreigners from staying in major cities,603 prohibited the Kyushu daimyō from
conducting trade within their domains, 604 and confined foreign trade to Nagasaki and
Hirado.605 This illustrates an evolution in anti-Kirishitan policy, whereby it became not only
a matter of internal affairs, but also had an impact on and relation to trade and foreign
The rapid legislative changes of 1615 included Buke shohatto く事
, which regulated the
conduct of warriors and their households, Kinchū narabi ni kuge shohatto
, which
regulated the conduct of the emperor and nobility, and subordinated the Buddhist hierarchy to the court, and
the Ikkoku ichijō rei
, which reduced the number of castles to one per province. English
translations are found in: Boot “Code for the Warrior Households (Buke Shohatto),” 12-14; Boot “Code for the
Imperial Court and Court Nobility (Kinchū Narabi ni Kuge Shohatto),” 14-18. The Japanese texts are found in:
Tōkyō Daigaku Shiryō Hensanjo ed., Dai Nihon shiryō, vol. 12, part 22, 19-22, 161-164. On the Ikkoku ichijō rei,
see: Takayanagi, “Genna ikkoku ichijō rei,” 863-888; Mitchelhill, Castles of the Samuria: Power and Beauty, 67.
Boxer and Ross claim that all lived and could go free, however, Elison notes that native priest Tōan
Francisco was killed during the siege, and Murdoch argues that the reason the other priests lived was their
escape rather than the authorities’ leniency. Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 330-331; Ross, A Vision
Betrayed, 96; Elison, Deus Destroyed, 161; Murdoch with Yamagata, A History of Japan, vol. 2, 542, n. 18.
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 74.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 332.
Partial Japanese texts are included in: Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi, 315; Zhāng, “Tokugawa Ieyasu
no Sunpu gaikōtaiksei: Sunpu no kōsō ni tsuite,” 205. See also: Cieslik and Ōta, Kirishitan, 207-208.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 332; Kitagawa, Religion in Japanese History, 147; Ross, A
Vision Betrayed, 97.
Kamstra, “Kakure Kirishitan: The Hidden or Secret Christians of Nagasaki,” 141.
Jansen, The Making of Modern Japan, 78; Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi, 315.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 332.
relations.606 Whilst correspondence between Ieyasu and the Spanish Governor-General of
Manilla included references to Christianity, a legal framework seeking to control both trade
and the Kirishitan had not previously been formulated.607
The control and centralization of trade began under Hideyoshi who issued passes
) to those who wished to trade with Japan.608 The shuinsen
sought to limit piracy, and was adopted by Ieyasu in 1601 allowing the bakufu to directly
control all trade in Japan and limit the revenue of the Kyushu daimyō.609 Like Hideyoshi,
Ieyasu also employed bugyō
to administer Nagasaki. 610 Moreover, he took direct
control of Japan’s commercial centres.611 In 1604, he created the itowappu
Pancada), a system for the control of the trade of raw silk with the Portuguese, which
established fixed prices and gave Japanese merchants a monopoly to purchase raw silk.612
Through the inclusion of anti-Kirishitan injunctions in an edict on trade, Hidetada
extended the scope of both anti-Kirishitan and trade policies, which were to be henceforth
intimately linked.613 This illustrates the primary motivation of the bakufu’s anti-Kirishitan
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 70. On the control of trade
under the bakufu and its relation to anti-Kirishitan policy, see: Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi, 288-314.
Takekoshi, The Economic Aspects of the History of the Civilization of Japan, vol. 2, 109.
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 11-12; Ebisawa, Nihon
Kirishitanshi, 289.
Takekoshi, The Economic Aspects of the History of the Civilization of Japan, vol. 2, 12.
Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony, 11; Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi,
290; Nabemoto, “Edo Jidai shoki ni okeru ryōshu kenryoku to ‘Nagasaki Bugyō’ no kakusho: ‘Igirisu shōkanchō
nikki’ o chūshin ni shite,” 51-88.
Lehmann, The Roots of Modern Japan, 54.
Deal, Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan, 128; Totman, Early Modern Japan,
75; Ebisawa, Nihon Kirishitanshi, 290-296.
Shimizu, Kirishitan kinseishi, 127.
stance: control over all aspects of Japan. Despite all this, because persecution was carried
out on a domainal level its severity varied based on the choices of individual daimyō.614
Boxer argues that until 1618, a blind eye was generally turned toward anti-Kirishitan laws,615
a phenomenon that Ross describes as a ‘strange period of calm.’616 Persecution was mostly
confined to Arima as a continuation of the 1612 injunction and the ramifications of the
Okamoto incident.617 Nevertheless, martyrdoms continued and Hidetada’s strengthening of
the law resulted in the first bakufu ordered execution of foreign missionaries (representing
all the religious orders) in 1617.618
In 1618, a further scandal rocked the court, however, as with the San Felipe incident
historical truth is blurred by politicized and diverging accounts.619 Murayama Tōan
(1562-1619CE),620 the Nagasaki daikan
centre of a dispute when Suetsugu Heizo
う (governor of Nagasaki), became the
(1546-1630) accused him of corruption,
being a Kirishitan, and concealing Kirishitan.621 Evidence emerged that Tōan’s son, a priest,
had been present at the Siege of Osaka on the Toyotomi side where he was killed, and that
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 331.
Ibid., 332.
Ross, A Vision Betrayed, 96.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 332.
Elison, Deus Destroyed, 160.
Alternative spellings include:
, ガ, ガ.
Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 274, 333. Yosaburo Takekoshi provides a more detailed
account, however, it is at times confusing due to his failure to distinguish clearly between Heizo and relatives
of the same name. Takekoshi, The Economic Aspects of the History of the Civilization of Japan, vol. 2, 84, 185187. For greater clarity compare with: Elisonas, “Nagasaki: The Early Years of an Early Modern Japanese City,”
86; Elison, Deus Destroyed, 159-164.
Tōan himself had sent provisions to assist the anti-Tokugawa forces.622 Heizo also accused
Tōan of killing a family of 17 or 18 Japanese for refusing to allow him to have one of their
daughters.623 This reflected the trial’s general theme; Tōan’s corruption.624 Both men were
Kirishitan, but Heizo chose to apostatize.625 The court ruled in favour of Heizo who was
appointed daikan.626 Tōan and his family were executed in late 1619, whilst his eldest son,
Tokuan ニ ,627 was executed for concealing missionaries one month earlier.628 As a last
attempt to save himself, Tōan supplied the baku…
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