This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: ng activities to other parts of the country, especially to the
central provinces. Nobunaga showed himself to be quite well disposed
toward the Christian fathers, and on several occasions granted them per- 144 The Country Unified sonal interviews. One apparent reason for his cordiality was his hope that
the Jesuits might be useful in combating, at least doctrinally, those Buddhist sects of the capital region that opposed his advance to national
Hideyoshi was also friendly toward the Jesuits in his early years as military hegemon. He was keenly interested in foreign trade and, through
courtesies extended to the missionaries, sought to lure an ever greater
number of Portuguese ships to Japan. Hideyoshi also sent forth his own
trading vessels (known as vermilion seal ships from the documents of
authorization they carried bearing such seals) and Japanese traders were
seen during these years in ports of countries as distant as the Philippines,
Cambodia, and Siam.
Portuguese ships had in the beginning dropped anchor in various harbors on the northern and western coasts of Kyushu. More often than not,
they selected their ports of call on the basis of whether or not the local
daimyos were tolerant of or welcomed Christianity. Undoubtedly the conversion of a number of Kyushu daimyos to Christianity about this time
was motivated partly, if not entirely, by their desire to attract Portuguese
trade. One of the most prominent of the Christian daimyos was Òmura
Sumitada, who in 1570 opened the harbor of Nagasaki in his domain to
Portuguese commerce and ten years later ceded it as a territorial possession to be administered by the Jesuits.
By the late 1580s, when Hideyoshi carried his campaign of unification
to Kyushu, Nagasaki had been transformed from a small coastal village
into a flourishing port city with a high percentage of Christian converts
among its population. The future prospects of both Portuguese traders
and Jesuit missionaries in Japan were bright indeed. Then, in 1587, without warning or intimation, Hideyoshi declared the “nationalization” of
Nagasaki and ordered the Jesuit...
View Full Document
- Spring '13