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Unformatted text preview: a group of missionaries and their followers and thus inaugurated some 166 The Flourishing of a Bourgeois Culture four decades of persecutions that led to the virtual extirpation of Christianity from Japan. One of the things that lay behind the 1597 incident
was an ugly rivalry between the Jesuit missionaries, supported by the Portuguese, and the Franciscans, who came to Japan in the company of the
Spanish (via Manila) in the 1580s. Whereas the Jesuits paid great attention to securing converts from among the ruling samurai class, the mendicant Franciscans devoted their efforts primarily to winning over the poor
and lowly. And while the Jesuits regarded themselves as an elite, the Franciscans took pride in flaunting their humility and self-imposed poverty.
In 1596, at the height of the Jesuit-Franciscan rivalry, a Spanish galleon was shipwrecked on Shikoku Island and its cargo confiscated by
Hideyoshi’s officials. Evidently the pilot of the galleon, angered by the
loss of the cargo, warned the Japanese officials that military conquest by
Spain would soon follow based on the spy work being done by the Franciscans in Japan. The Franciscan version of the story was that the Jesuits,
not the pilot, concocted the story about spying and conquest. In any case,
Hideyoshi promptly ordered the rounding up of Franciscan missionaries
for execution. Six missionaries of the central provinces were arrested and
they, along with twenty of their Japanese converts, were paraded to Nagasaki, where, early in 1597, they were crucified and became the first Christian martyrs in Japan.
Hideyoshi died in 1598 and Tokugawa Ieyasu withheld attacking
Christianity because of his desire to increase trade with the Europeans,
especially the Dutch and English, who arrived in Japan in 1600. But in
1614 the Tokugawa chieftain, possibly influenced by reports from the
Dutch and English Protestants that Catholic missionaries were engaged
in subversion, issued an edict strictly banning Christianity. Thereupon
began the period of mass persecutions that took the lives of some five to
six thousand European and Japanese Christians before it subsided about
The records will never enable u...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13