The Jesuits In Japan Analysis

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The Jesuits in Japan: An Attempt at Christian Conversion During the sixteenth century, an order of Roman Catholic religious men called the Jesuits attempted to convert the country of Japan to Christianity. Their efforts to accomplish this goal were first sparked by the Age of Discovery, followed by the Counter-Reformation of 1545, and then by Francis Xavier’s meeting with an exiled samurai from Japan. The Jesuit mission began with Francis Xavier’s entrance to Japan in 1549 and saw two more important Jesuit missionaries, Father Cosme de Torres and Alessandro Valignano, continue his work over the next thirty years to preach the word of God in order to convert as many people as possible. Consequently, Christianity was ultimately banned in Japan …show more content…
The arrangement that came from the Treaty of Tordesillas eventually led to the accidental arrival of Portuguese settlers in Japan in 1543, when a storm drove their trading ship onto the island of Tanegashima, where they were shortly followed by members of the Jesuits in 1549. A dispute between the Portuguese and Spanish then occurred over the attribution of Japan, and because neither countries were permitted to colonize it, whichever country gained the exclusive right to spread Christianity in Japan meant that they would also have the exclusive right to trade with Japan (Higashibaba, 2001, p. 73). The right to trade with Japan was on the shoulders of the Jesuits, and they now had to form a Christian following in Japan before the Spanish-sponsored Franciscans could, leading to years of effort and dedication to the conversion of Japanese …show more content…
First, in 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi publicized his desire to ban Catholicism in Japan, which was put into effect by Tokugawa shogunate, the feudal Japanese military government, in 1614. Toyotomi Hideyoshi assumed power following the previous leader Oda Nobunaga and worked towards the goal of unifying Japan. Hideyoshi saw the Catholic Church in Japan as “not only a religion, but a political power intimately connected with the imperialistic expansion of Catholic countries like Portugal, Spain and other Western countries” (Manhattan, 1984, p. 97). He grew increasingly threatened by their activities and realized that Japanese Christian conversions would now have their loyalty lay with the Pope rather than with Japan which would result in them being “potentially disloyal to the Japanese civil rulers” (Manhattan, 1984, p. 97). Because Hideyoshi was so set on unifying Japan following years of civil war, these threats directly got in the way of his plans and led him to publicly condemn the Catholics, giving them 20 days to evacuate Japan. Christianity at this point was so deeply imbedded into Japanese society that it would take years to expel them. Following Hideyoshi’s death in 1598, Tokugawa Ieyasu succeeded ruling over Japan and became shogun, or military dictator, of the Tokugawa shogunate, and the country was now a unified “one state organization under a single military power” (Higashibaba,

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