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The Martyrs of Japan (日本の殉教者, Nihon no junkyōsha) were Christian missionaries and followers who were persecuted and executed, mostly during the Tokugawa shogunate period in the 17th century. More than 400 martyrs of Japan have been recognized with beatification by the Catholic Church, and 42 have been canonized as saints. Martyrs of Japan can be seen within the context of Christian colonialism and Christianization.
Christian missionaries arrived with Francis Xavier and the Jesuits in the 1540s and briefly flourished, with over 100,000 converts, including many daimyōs in Kyushu. The shogunate and imperial government at first supported the Catholic mission and the missionaries, thinking that they would reduce the power of the Buddhist monks, and help trade with Spain and Portugal. However, the Shogunate was also wary of colonialism, seeing that the Spanish had taken power in the Philippines, after converting the population. It soon met resistance from the highest office holders of Japan. (隠れキリシタン, kakure kirishitan), while others lost their lives. Only after the Meiji Restoration, was Christianity re-established in Japan.Emperor Ōgimachi issued edicts to ban Catholicism in 1565 and 1568, but to little effect. Beginning in 1587 with imperial regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi's ban on Jesuit missionaries, Christianity was repressed as a threat to national unity. While the Japanese view was that Christians were persecuted and executed for being more loyal to Jesus than the Shogunate, the Catholic Church viewed them as martyrs: As the persecution was aimed at Christians as a group, and as they could escape only by abjuring their faith, the Catholic Church regarded the acts as being in odium fidei ("in hatred of the faith"), a principal factor in martyrdom. After the Tokugawa shogunate banned Christianity in 1614, it ceased to exist publicly. Many Catholics went underground, becoming hidden Christians
The Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan (日本二十六聖人, Nihon Nijūroku Seijin) refers to a group of Christians who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597 at Nagasaki.
Through the promulgation of decree on martyrdom, these first Martyrs of Japan were beatified on 14 September 1627 by Pope Urban VIII. These saints were canonized saints on 8 June 1862 by Pope Pius IX.
Persecution continued sporadically and over a period of 15 years, between 1617 and 1632, 205 missionaries and native Christians were executed for their faith. Christian teaching disintegrated until the arrival of Western missionaries in the nineteenth century.
Through the promulgation of decree on martyrdom, these 205 Martyrs of Japan were venerated on 26 February 1866 and beatified on 7 May 1867, by Pope Pius IX.
Two Spanish Augustinians arrived in Japan in the later half of 1632 from Manila to evangelize the Japanese. Upon arrival, the Japanese authorities were notified by Chinese traders that gave them passage. They fled to mountains, where Dominican missionaries instructed them in the language of the country. As these two priests descended to the city, they were recognized and arrested during November 1632. On 11 December 1632, they were martyred for their faith.
Through the promulgation of decree on martyrdom, these two Augustinian Martyrs of Japan were venerated on 28 November 1988 and beatified on 23 April 1989, by Pope John Paul II.
The martyrdom continued on with a group of missionaries and natives that belonged to the Philippine Province of the Dominican Order, called the Holy Rosary Province.
Through the promulgation of decree on martyrdom, these 16 Martyrs of Japan were venerated on 11 October 1980 and beatified on 18 February 1981, by Pope John Paul II.They were later canonized saints on 18 October 1987, by Pope John Paul II.
These martyrs are additional religious priests and laity murdered for their faith between the years 1603 and 1639.
Through the promulgation of decree on martyrdom, these 188 Martyrs of Japan were venerated on 1 June 2007 and beatified on 24 November 2008, by Pope Benedict XVI.
Canonization, in its most exact historical sense, refers to a papal declaration that the Catholic faithful may venerate a particular deceased member of the church. Popes began making such decrees in the tenth century. Up to that point, the local bishops governed the veneration of holy men and women within their own dioceses; and there may have been, for any particular saint, no formal decree at all. In subsequent centuries, the procedures became increasingly regularized and the popes began restricting to themselves the right to declare someone a Catholic saint. In contemporary usage, the term is understood to refer to the act by which any Christian church declares that a person who has died is a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the list of recognized saints, called the "canon." Today, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion speak of "canonized" saints, in addition to the Roman Catholic Church.
In the Catholic Church, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints is the congregation of the Roman Curia that oversees the complex process that leads to the canonization of saints, passing through the steps of a declaration of "heroic virtues" and beatification. After preparing a case, including the approval of miracles, the case is presented to the Pope, who decides whether or not to proceed with beatification or canonization. This is one of nine Vatican Curial congregations.
The process of beatification and canonization has undergone various reforms in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. For current practice, as well as a discussion of similar processes in other churches, see the article on canonization. This article describes the process as it was before the promulgation of the Codex Iuris Canonici of 1983.
IustusTakayama Ukon (高山右近) or Dom Justo Takayama was a Japanese Catholic kirishitan daimyō and samurai who lived during the Sengoku period that witnessed anti-religious sentiment. Takayama had been baptized into the faith in 1564 when he was twelve, though over time neglected his faith due to his actions as a samurai. He would eventually rekindle his faith just after his coming-of-age ritual near the age of 20. He abandoned his status to devote himself to his faith and was exiled to Manila, where he lived a life of holiness until his death two months later.
The Japanese term Kirishitan, from Portuguese cristão, referred to Catholic Christians in Japanese and is used in Japanese texts as a historiographic term for Catholics in Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Saint Pedro Calungsod, also known as Peter Calungsod and Pedro Calonsor, was a Catholic Filipino migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist who, along with the Spanish Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672.
The Catholic Church in Japan is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the pope in Rome. In 2005, there were approximately 509,000 Catholics in Japan—just under 0.5% of the total population, and by 2014, there were around 440,000 Japanese Catholics. There are 16 dioceses, including three archdioceses, with 1589 priests and 848 parishes in the country. The bishops of the dioceses form the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan, the episcopal conference of the nation.
Stanley Francis Rother was an American Roman Catholic priest from Oklahoma who was murdered in Guatemala. Ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City in 1963, he held several parish assignments there until 1968 when he was assigned as a missionary priest to Guatemala where he was murdered in 1981 in his Guatemalan mission rectory.
The Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan were a group of Catholics who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597, at Nagasaki. Their martyrdom is especially significant in the history of the Catholic Church in Japan.
Devasahayam Pillai, is a beatified Indian layman of the Catholic Church. Born into a Hindu family in the 18th century, he converted to Catholicism and is considered a martyr of the Christian faith. Pillai was an official in the court of the King of Travancore, Maharaja Marthanda Varma, when he came under the influence of Dutch naval commander, Captain Eustachius De Lannoy, who instructed him in the Catholic faith. He is believed to have been killed by the Travancore state for upholding his Christian faith.
The Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum and Monument were built on Nishizaka Hill in Nagasaki, Japan in June 1962 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the canonization by the Roman Catholic Church of the Christians executed on the site on February 5, 1597. The 26 people, a mixture of 20 native Japanese Christians and six foreign priests had been arrested in Kyoto and Osaka on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the national ruler, for preaching Christianity. They were imprisoned, then later marched through the snow to Nagasaki, so that their execution might serve as a deterrent to Nagasaki's large Christian population. Hung up on 26 crosses with chains and ropes, the Christians were lanced to death in front of a large crowd on Nishizaka Hill. St Paul Miki is said to have preached to the crowd from his cross.
Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War is the name given by the Catholic Church to the people who were killed by Republicans during the Spanish Civil War because of their faith. More than 6,800 clergy and religious were killed in the Red Terror. As of June 2019, 1,915 Spanish martyrs have been beatified; 11 of them being Canonized. For some two thousand additional martyrs, the beatification process is underway.
Christian missionaries arrived with Francis Xavier and the Jesuits in the 1540s and briefly flourished, with over 100,000 converts, including many daimyōs in Kyushu. It soon met resistance from the highest office holders of Japan. Emperor Ogimachi issued edicts to ban Catholicism in 1565 and 1568, but to little effect. Beginning in 1587 with imperial regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi's ban on Jesuit missionaries, Christianity was repressed as a threat to national unity. After the Tokugawa shogunate banned Christianity in 1620 it ceased to exist publicly. Many Catholics went underground, becoming hidden Christians, while others lost their lives. Only after the Meiji Restoration was Christianity re-established in Japan.
Miguel de Carvalho. also known as Michael Carvalho, was a Roman Catholic missionary from Portugal. He was beatified in July 1867 by Pope Pius IX.
The Martyrs of Japan were Christian missionaries and followers who were persecuted and executed for their faith in Japan, mostly during the Tokugawa shogunate period in the 17th century.
The Martyrs of Japan were Christians who were persecuted for their faith in Japan, mostly during the 17th century.
Martín Lumbreras y Peralta, also known as Martín de San Nicolás, was a Roman Catholic missionary from Spain. He was beatified in April 1989 by Pope John Paul II.
The Martyrs of Natal were a group of 30 Brazilian Roman Catholic individuals – two of them priests – killed in northern Brazil in massacres that a large group of Dutch Calvinists led. One priest was a Brazilian Jesuit missionary, while the other priest was an evangelizer himself. The others were all lay Catholics, most of them anonymous members of the Church, some of them children.
Francisco Blanco was a Spanish Roman Catholic Franciscan missionary and martyr, one of the Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan. He is revered as a saint by the Catholic and other Christian churches, particularly in Japan.