XXV. CHRISTIANITY AND FOREIGNERS.
IT seems now nearly certain that when Columbus set sail from Spain to discover a new continent, it was not America he was seeking; for of that he knew nothing. His quest was the land of Japan. Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler, had spent seventeen years (1275- 1292) at the court of the Tartar emperor, Kublai Khan, and while in Peking had heard of a land lying to the eastward called, in the language of the Chinese capital, Jipangŭ, from which our modern name, Japan, has been corrupted. Columbus was an ardent student of Polo's book, which had been published in 1298. He sailed westward across the Atlantic to find this kingdom of the sun-source. He discovered, not Japan, but an archipelago in America, on whose shores he eagerly inquired concerning Jipangŭ. The torch of modern discovery thus kindled by him was handed on by Vasco da Gama, and a host of brave Portuguese navigators, who drove their keels into the once unknown seas of the Orient, and came back to tell of densely populated empires enriched with the wealth that makes civilization possible, and of which Europe had scarcely heard. Their accounts fired the hearts of the zealous who longed to convert the heathen, aroused the cupidity of traders who thirsted for gold, and kindled the desire of monarchs to found empires in Asia.
As the Spaniards had founded an empire in America, Portugal was then nearing the zenith of her maritime glory. Mendez Pinto, a Portuguese adventurer, seems to have been the first European who landed on Japanese soil. On his return to Europe, he told so many wonderful stories that he was dubbed, by a pun on his Christian name, "the mendacious." His narrative was, however, as we now know, substantially correct. Pinto, while in China, had got on board a Chinese junk, commanded by a pirate. They were attacked by another corsair, their pilot was killed, and the vessel was driven off the coast by a storm. They made for the Liu Kiu Islands; but, unable to find a harbor, put to sea, and after twenty-three days beating about, sighted the island of Tané (Tanégashima, island of the seed), off the south of Kiushiu, and landed. The name of the island was significant. The arrival of those foreigners was the seed of troubles innumerable. The crop was priesteraft of the worst type, political intrigue, religious persecution, the Inquisition, the slave-trade, the propagation of Christianity by the sword, sedition, rebellion, and civil war. Its harvest was garnered in the blood of sixty thousand Japanese.
The native histories recount the first arrival of Europeans on Tanégashima in 1542, and note that year as the one in which fire-arms were first introduced. Pinto and his two companions were armed with arquebuses, which delighted this people, ever ready to accept whatever will tend to their advantage. They were even more impressed with the novel weapons than by the strangers. Pinto was invited by the Daimiō of Bungo to visit him, which he did. The natives began immediately to make guns and powder, the secret of which was taught them by their visitors. In a few years, as we know from Japanese history, fire-arms came into general use. To this day many country people call them "Tanégashima." Thus, in the beginning, hand-in-hand came foreigners, Christianity, and fire-arms. To many a native they are still each and equal members of a trinity of terrors, and one is a synonym of the other. Christianity to most of "the heathen" still means big guns and powder.
In those days commerce and piracy, war and religion, were closely united; and the sword and the cross were twin weapons, like the cimeter and the Koran of the Turks, by which the pious robbers of the most, Christian empires of Spain and Portugal went forth to conquer weak nations.
The pirate-trader who brought Pinto to Japan cleared twelve hundred per cent. on his cargo, and the three Portuguese returned, loaded with presents, to China. This new market attracted hundreds of Portuguese adventurers to Japan, who found a ready welcome at the hands of the impressible people. The daimiōs vied with each other in attracting the foreigners to their shores, their object being to obtain the weapons, and get the wealth which would increase their power, as the authority of the Ashikaga shōguns had before this time been cast off, and each chief was striving for local supremacy.
The missionary followed the merchant. Already the Portuguese priests and Franciscan friars were numerous in. India and the straits. A native of Satsuma named Anjiro, who, having killed a man, had fled to Pinto's boat, and was carried off by him, after the long sufferings of remorse reached Goa, becoming a convert to Christianity. Learning to read and write Portuguese, and having mastered the whole Christian doctrine, he became Xavier's interpreter. To the question whether the Japanese would be likely to accept Christianity, Anjiro answered - in words that seem fresh, pertinent, and to have been uttered but yesterday, so true are they still - that "his people would not immediately assent to what might be said to them, but they would investigate what I might affirm respecting religion by a multitude of questions, and, above all, by observing whether my conduct agreed with my words. This done, the king (daimiō), the nobility, and adult population would flock to Christ, being a nation which always follows reason as a guide." The words are recorded by Xavier himself.
In 1549, the party of two Jesuits and two Japanese landed at Kagoshima, in Satsuma. Xavier, after studying the rudiments of the language, beyond which he never advanced, and making diligent use of the pictures of the Virgin and Child, soon left the capital of this war. like clan, for the city had not been favored with the commerce of the Portuguese; and, as the missionaries had not come to improve the material resources of the province, they were not warmly welcomed. He then went to Bungo and Nagato. Besides having an interpreter, though unable to preach, he used to read the Gospel of Matthew translated by Anjiro into Japanese, and Romanized. Though unable to understand much of it, he read it in public with great effect. There trade was flourishing and enriching the daimiōs, and he was warmly received by them. His next step was a journey to Kiōto. There, instead of the extraordinary richness of the sovereign's palace, which he had expected to see plated with gold on the roofs and ceilings, with tables of the same metal, and all the other wonders as related by Marco Polo, he found it but a city which wars and fires had rendered desolate, and almost uninhabitable, except as a camp. Here he employed the policy of austerity and poverty, his appearance being that of a beggar, though later he used wealth and great display in his ministrations, with marked effect. The mikado's (dairi) authority, he found, was merely nominal; the shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshitéru, ruled only over a few provinces around the capital. Every one's thoughts were of war, and battle was imminent. The very idea of an interview with the mikado was an absurdity, and one with the Kubo sama (shōgun) an impossibility, his temporary poverty not permitting him to make a present effectively large enough for the latter, and rendering him contemptible in the eyes of the people. He attempted to preach several times in the streets, but, not being master of the language, failed to secure attention, and after two weeks left the city disgusted. Not long after, having turned his attention to the furtherance of trade and diplomacy, he departed from Japan, disheartened by the realities of missionary work. He had, however, inspired others, who followed him, and their success was amazingly great. Within five years after Xavier visited Kiōto, seven churches were established in the vicinity of the city itself, while scores of Christian communities had sprung up in the south-west. In 1581, there were two hundred churches, and one hundred and fifty thousand native Christians. In Bungo, where Xavier won his way by costly gifts, as he did in Suwo by diplomacy; in Harima and Ōmura, the daimiōs themselves had professed the new faith, while Nobunaga, the hater of the Buddhists, openly favored the Christians, and gave them eligible sites upon which to build dwellings and churches. Ready to use any weapons against the bonzes, Nobunaga hoped to use the foreigners as a counterpoise to their arrogance.
In 1583, an embassy of four young noblemen was dispatched by the Christian daimiōs of Kiushiu to the pope, to declare themselves vassals of the Holy See. Eight years afterward, having had audience of Philip II. of Spain, and kissed the feet of the pope at Rome, they returned, bringing with them seventeen Jesuit missionaries - an important addition to the many Portuguese religious of that order already in Japan. Spanish mendicant friars from the Philippine Islsands, with Dominican and Augustans, also flocked into the country, preaching and zealously proselyting. The number of "Christians" at the time of the highest success of the missionaries in Japan was, according to their own figures, six hundred thousand - a number which I believe is no exaggeration, the quantity, not quality, being considered. The Japanese, less accurately, set down a total of two million nominal adherents to the Christian sects, large numerical statements in Japanese books being untrustworthy, and often worthless. Among their converts were several princes, and large numbers of lords and gentlemen in high official position, generals and captains in the army, and the admiral and officers of the Japanese fleets. Several of the la dies of the households of Hidōyoshi, Hidéyori, and Iyéyasŭ, besides influential women of noble blood in many provinces whose rulers were not Christians, added to their power, while at the seat of government the chief interpreter was a Jesuit father. Churches, chapels, and residences of the fathers were numbered by thousands, and in some provinces crosses and Christian shrines were as numerous as the kindred evidences of Buddhism had been before. The fathers and friars had traveled or preached from one end of the western half of Hondo to the other; northward in Echizen, Kaga, Echigo, and Ōshiu, and in the provinces of the Tōkaidō. They had also one church in Yedo.
The causes of this astonishingly rapid success of the Jesuits are to be sought in the mental soil which the missionaries found ready prepared for their seed. It was in the later days of the Ashikaga, when Xavier arrived in Japan. Centuries of misrule and anarchy had reduced the people, on whom the burdens of war fell, to the lowest depths of poverty and misery. The native religions then afforded little comfort or consolation to their adherents. Shintō had sunk to a myth almost utterly unknown to the people, and so overshadowed by Buddhism that only a few scholars knew its origin. Buddhism, having lost its vitalizing power, had degenerated into a commercial system of prayers and masses, in which salvation could be purchased only by the merit of the deeds and prayers of the priests. Nevertheless, its material and outward splendor were never greater. Gorgeous vestments, blazing lights, imposing processions, altars of dazzling magnificence, and a sensuous worship captivated the minds of the people, while indulgences were sold, and saints' days and holidays and festivals were multiplied.
The Japanese are an intensely imaginative people; and whatever appeals to the æsthetics of sense, or fires the imagination, leads the masses captive at the will of their religious leaders. The priests of Rome came with crucifixes in their hands, eloquence on their lips, and with rich dresses, impressive ceremonies, processions, and mysteries out-dazzled the scenic display of the Buddhists. They brought pictures, gilt crosses, and images, and erected gorgeous altars, which they used as illuminated texts for their sermons. They preached the doctrine of an immediate entrance into paradise after death to all believers, a doctrine which thrilled their hearers to an uncontrollable pitch of enthusiasm. Buddhism promises rest in heaven only after many transformations, births, and the repeated miseries of life and death, the very thought of which wearies the soul. The story of the Cross, made vivid by fervid eloquence, tears, and harrowing pictures and colored images, which bridged the gulf of remoteness, and made the act of Calvary near and intensely real, melted the hearts of the impressible natives. Furthermore, the transition from the religion of India to that of Rome was extremely easy. The very idols of Buddha served, after a little alteration with the chisel, for images of Christ. The Buddhist saints were easily transformed into the Twelve Apostles. The Cross took the place of the torii. It was emblazoned on the helmets and banners of the warriors, and embroidered on their breasts. The Japanese soldiers went forth to battle like Christian crusaders. In the roadside shrine Kuanon, the Goddess of Mercy, made way for the Virgin, the mother of God. Buddhism was beaten with its own weapons. Its own artillery was turned against it. Nearly all the Christian churches were native temples, sprinkled and purified. The same bell, whose boom had so often quivered the air announcing the orisons and matins of paganism, was again blessed and sprinkled, and called the same hearers to mass and confession; the same lavatory that fronted the temple served for holy-water or baptismal font; the same censer that swung before Amida could be refilled to waft Christian incense; the new convert could use unchanged his old beads, bells, candles, incense, and all the paraphernalia of his old faith in celebration of the new.
Almost every thing that is distinctive in the Roman form of Christianity is to be found in Buddhism: images, pictures, lights, altars, incense, vestments, masses, beads, wayside shrines, monasteries, nunneries, celibacy, fastinces, vigils, retreats, pilgrimages, mendicant vows, shorn heads, orders, habits, uniforms, nuns, convents, purgatory, saintly and priestly intercession, indulgences, works of supererogation, pope, archbishops, abbots, abbesses, monks, neophytes, relics and relicworship, exclusive burial-ground, etc., etc., etc.
The methods which the foreign priests employed to propagate the new faith were not such as commend themselves to a candid mind. The first act of propagation was an act of Mariolatry. They brought with them the spirit of the Inquisition, then in full blast in Spain and Portugal, which they had used there for the reclamation of native and Dutch heretics. In Japan they began to attack most violently the character of the native bonzes, and to incite their converts to insult the gods, destroy the idols, and burn or desecrate the old shrines. They made plentiful use of the gold furnished liberally by the kings of Portugal and Spain, under the name of "alms." In two years and a half Xavier received one thousand doubloons (fifteen thousand dol- lars) for the support of his mission. This abundance of the foreign precious metal was noticed especially by the native rulers. In Kiushiu the daimiōs themselves became Christians, and they compelled their subjects to embrace their religion. The people of whole districts of country were ordered to become Christians, or to leave their land and the homes of their fathers, and go into banishment. The bonzes were exiled or killed; and fire and sword, as well as preaching, were employed as instruments of conversion. Furthermore, fictitious miracles were frequently got up to utilize the credulity of the superstitious in furthering the spread of the faith, glowing accounts of which may be found in Léon Pagés' "Histoire de la R. C." Not only do the native Japanese writers record these things as simple matter of fact, but the letters of the Jesuits themselves, and the books written by them, teem with instances of ferocious cruelty and pious fraud wrought in their behalf, or at their instigation. The following passages from the Jesuit Charlevoix's "Histoire du Christianisme an Japon" are translated by Dr. Walter Dixon in his "Japan:" "Sumitanda, King of Ōmura, who had become a Christian in 1562, declared open war against the devils [bonzes]. He dispatched some squadrons through his kingdom to ruin all the idols and temples without any regard to the bonzes' rage.". . . . "In 1577, the lord of the island of Amacusa [Amakusa] issued his proclamation, by which his subjects - whether bonzes or gentlemen, merchants or tradesmen - were required either to turn Christians, or to leave the country the very next day. They almost all submitted, and received baptism, so that in a short time there were more than twenty churches in the kingdom. God wrought miracles to confirm the faithful in their belief." The Daimiō of Takatsŭki, Settsu, "labored with a zeal truly apostolic to extirpate the idolaters out, of his states. He sent word that they should either receive the faith, or be gone immediately out of his country, for he would acknowledge none for his subjects but such as acknowledged the true God. The declaration obliged them all to accept instruction, which cut out work enough for all the fathers and missionaries at Meaco [Miako]."
The Daimiō of Bungō at one time, during war, destroyed a most prodigious and magnificent temple, with a colossal statue, burning three thousand monasteries to ashes, and razing the temples to the ground. The comment of the Jesuit writer on this is, "This ardent zeal of the prince is an evident instance of his faith and charity." This does not, however, sound like an echo of the song once heard above the Bethlehem hills, few echoes of which the Japanese have as yet heard.
As the different orders, Jesuits, Franciscans, and Augustinians, increased, they began to trench upon each other's parishes. This gave rise to quarrels, indecent squabbles, and mutual vituperation, at which the pagans sneered and the bonzes rejoiced. While the friars of these orders were rigorously excommunicating each other, thinking heathen were not favorably impressed with the new religion. Christiainty received her sorest wound in the house of her friends.
At this time, also, political and religious war was almost universal in Europe, and the quarrels of the various nationalities followed the buccaneers, pirates, traders, and missionaries to the distant seas of Japan. The Protestant, Dutch, and English stirred up the hatred and fear of the Japanese against the papists, and finally against each other. Spaniards and Portuguese blackened the character of the heretics, and as vigorously abused each other when it served their interest. All of which impelled the shrewd Japanese to contrive how to use them one against the other, in art which they still understand. All foreigners, but especially Portuguese, then were slave-traders, and thousands of Japanese were bought and sold and shipped to Macao, in China, and to the Philippines. The long civil wars, and the misery caused by them, and the expedition to Corea, had so impoverished the people that slaves became so cheap that even the Malay and negro servants of the Portuguese, speculated in the bodies of Japanese slaves who were bought and sold and transported. Hidéyoshi repeatedly issued decrees threatening with death these slave-traders, and even the purchasers. The sea-ports of Hirado and Nagasaki were the resort of the lowest class of adventurers from all European nations, and the result was a continual series of uproars, broils, and murders among the foreigners, requiring ever and anon the intervention of the native authorities to keep the peace. To the everlasting honor of some of the Jesuit bishops and priests be it said, they endeavored to do all they could to prevent the traffic in the bodies of men.
Such a picture of foreign influence and of Christianity, which is here drawn in mild colors, as the Japanese saw it, was not calculated to make a permanently favorable impression on the Japanese mind.
While Nobunaga lived, and the Jesuits basked in his favor, all was progress and victory. Hidéyoshi, though at first favorable to the new religion, issued, in 1587, a decree of banishment against the foreign missionaries. The Jesuits closed their churches and chapels, ceased to preach in public, but carried on their proselyting work in private as vigorously as ever, averaging ten thousand converts a year, until 1590. The Spanish mendicant friars, pouring in from the Philippines, openly defied the Japanese laws, preaching in their usual garb in public, and in their intemperate language. This aroused Hidéyoshi's attention, and his decree of expulsion was renewed. Some of the churches were burned. In 1596, six Franciscan, three Jesuit, and seventeen Japanese converts were taken to Nagasaki, and there crucified. Still the Jesuits resided in the country, giving out to the people that the Spaniards nourished the political designs against Japan, and that the decrees of expulsion had been directed against the priests of that nation, and that the late outburst of persecution was an explosion of zeal on the part of a few subordinate officials. Several of the generals of the army in Corea still openly professed the Christian faith.
When the taikō died, affairs seemed to take a more favorable turn, but only for a few years. The Christians looked to Hidéyori for their friend and quasi-leader. The battle of Sékigahara, and the defeat of Hidéyori's following, blew their hopes to the winds; and the ignominious death of Ishida, Konishi, and Otani, the Christian generals who had witnessed a good confession both as warriors and as upholders of the faith in Corea and at home, drove their adherents to the verge of despair. Iyéyasŭ re-adjusted the feudal relations of his vassals in Kushiu; and as the taikō had also re-arranged the fiefs, the political status of the Christians was profoundly altered. The new daimiōs, carrying the policy of their predecessors as taught them by the Jesuits, but reversing its direction, began to persecute their Christian subjects, and to compel them to renounce their faith. The native converts resisted even to blood and the taking-up of arms. This was an entirely new thing under the Japanese sun. Hitherto the attitude of the peasantry to the Government had been one of passive obedience and slavish submission. The idea of armed rebellion among the farmers was something so wholly new that Iyéyasŭ suspected foreign instigation. Color was given to this idea by the fact that the foreigners still secretly or openly paid court to Hidéyori, and at the same time freely dispersed gold and gifts, in addition to religious comfort, to the persecuted. lyeéyasŭ became more vigilant as his suspicions increased, and, resolving to crush this spirit of independence and intimidate the foreign emissaries, met every outbreak with bloody reprisals. In 1606, an edict from Yedo forbade the exercise of the Christian religion, but an outward show of obedience warded off active persecu tion. In 1610, the Spanish friars again aroused the wrath of the Government by defying its commands, and exhorting the native converts to do likewise. It 1611, Iyéyasŭ obtained documentary proof of what he had long suspected, viz., the existence of a plot on the part of the native converts and the foreign emissaries to reduce Japan to the position of a subject state. The chief conspirator, Ōkubo, then Governor of Sado, to which place thousands of Christian exiles had been sent to work the mines, was to be made hereditary ruler by the foreigners. The names of the chief native and foreign conspirators were written down, with the usual seal of blood from the end of the middle finger of the ringleader. With this paper was found concealed, in an iron box in an old well, a vast hoard of gold and silver.
Iyéyasŭ now put forth strenuous measures to root out utterly what he believed to be a pestilent breeder of sedition and war. Fresh edicts were issued, and in 1614 twenty-two Franciscan, Dominican, and Augustinian friars, one hundred and seventeen Jesuits, and hundreds of native priests and catechists, were embarked by force on board junks, and sent out of the country.
In 1615, Iyéyasŭ pushed matters to an extreme with Hidéyori, who was then entertaining some Jesuit priests; and, calling out the troops of Kiushiu and the Kuantō, laid siege to the castle of Ōzaka. A battle of unusual ferocity and bloody slaughter raged, on the 9th of June, 1615, ending in the burning of the citadel, and the total defeat and death of Hidéyori and thousands of his followers. The Jesuit fathers say that one hundred thousand men perished in this brief war, of which vivid details are given in the "Histoire de la Religion Chrétienine." The Christian cause was now politically and irretrievably ruined. Hildredth remarks that Catholicisim in Japan "received its death-blow in that same year in which a few Puritan pilgrims landed at Plymouth to plant the obscure seeds of a new and still growing Protestant empire."
The. exiled foreign friars, however, kept secretly returning, apparently desirous of the crown of martyrdom. Hidétada, the shōgun, now pronounced sentence of death against any foreign priest found in the country. Iyémitsō, his successor, restricted all foreign commerce to Nagasaki and Hirado; all Japanese were forbidden to leave the country on pain of death; and in 1624 all foreigners, except Dutch and Chinese, were banished from Japan, and an edict was issued commanding the destruction of all vessels beyond a certain diminutive size, and restricting the universal model in ship-building to that of the coasting junk. Fresh persecutions followed, many apostate lords and gentry now favoring the Government. Fire and sword were used to extirpate Christianity, and to paganize the same people who in their youth were Christianized by the same means. Thousands of the native converts fled to China, Formosa, and the Philippines. All over the empire, but especially it Ōzaka and in Kiushiu, the people were compelled to trample on the cross, or on a copper plate engraved with the representation of "the Christian criminal God." The Christians suffered all sorts of persecutions. They were wrapped in straw sacks, piled in heaps of living fuel, and set on fire. All the tortures that barbaric hatred or refined cruelty could invent were used to turn thousands of their fellow-men into carcasses and ashes. Yet few of the natives quailed, or renounced their faith. They calmly let the fire of wood cleft from the crosses before which they once prayed consume them, or walked cheerfully to the blood-pit, or were flung alive into the open grave about to be filled up. Mothers carried their babes at their bosoms, or their children in their arms to the fire, the sword, or the precipice's edge, rather than leave them behind to be educated in the pagan faith. If any one doubt the sincerity and fervor of the Christian converts of to-day, or the ability of the Japanese to accept a higher form of faith, or their willingness to suffer for what they believe, they have but to read the accounts preserved in English,Dutch, French, Latin, and Japanese, of various witnesses the tile fortitude of the Japanese Christians of the seventeenth century. The annals of the primitive Church furnish no instances of sacrifice or heroic constancy, in the Coliseum or the Roman arenas, that were not paralleled on the dry river-beds and execution-rounds of Japan.
Finally, in 1637, at Shimabara, the Christians rose by tens of thousands in arms, seized an old castle, repaired and fortified it, and raised the flag of rebellion. Armies from Kiushiu and the Kuantō, Composed mainly of veterans of Corea and Ōzaka, were sent by the shōgun to besiege it. Their commanders expected an easy victory, and sneered at the idea of having any difficulty in subduing these farmers and peasants. A siege of two months, by land and water, was, however, necessary to reduce the fortress, which was finally done with the aid of Dutch cannon, furnished under compulsion by the traders at Déshima. The intrepid garrison, after great slaughter, surrendered, and then the massacre of thirty-seven thousand Christians began, and was finished by the hurling of thousands more from the rock of Pappenberg, in Nagasaki harbor. Thousands more were banished to va rious provinces, or put to death by torture. Others escaped, and fled to the island of Formosa, joining their brethren already there. The edicts prohibiting the "evil sect" were now promulgated and published permanently all over the empire, and new ones commanded that, as long as the sun should shine, no foreigners should enter Japan, or natives leave it. 'The Dutch gained the privilege of a paltry trade and residence on the little fan-shaped island of Déshima (outer island), in front of Nagasaki. Here, under degrading restrictions and constant surveillance, lived a little company of less than twenty Hollanders, who were allowed one ship per annum to come from the Dutch East Indies and exchange commodities of Japan for those of Holland.
After nearly a hundred years of Christianity and foreign intercourse, the only apparent results of this contact with another religion and civilization were the adoption of gunpowder, and fire-arms as weapons, the use of tobacco, and the habit of smoking, the making of sponge-cake (still called Castira - the Japanese form of Castile), the naturalization into the language of a few foreign words, the introduction of new and strange forms of disease, among which the Japa nese count the scourge of the venereal virus, and the permanent addition to that catalogue of terrors which priest and magistrate in Asiatic countries ever hold as weapons to overawe the herd. For centuries the mention of that name would bate the breath, blanch the cheek, and smite with fear as with an earthquake shock. It was the synonym of sorcery, sedition, and all that was hostile to the purity of the home and the peace of society. All over the empire, in every city, town, village, and hamlet; by the roadside, ferry, or mountain pass; at every entrance to the capital, stood the public notice-boards, on which, with prohibitions against the great crimes that disturb the relations of society and government, was one tablet, written with a deeper brand of guilt, with a more hideous memory of blood, with a more awful terror of torture, than when the like superscription was affixed at the top of a cross that stood between two thieves on a little hill outside Jerusalem. Its daily and familiar sight startled ever and anon the peasant to clasp hands and utter a fresh prayer, the bonze to add new venom to his maledictions, the magistrate to shake his head, and to the mother a ready word to hush the crying of her fret ful babe. That name was Christ. So thoroughly was Christianity, or the "Jashiu mon" (corrupt sect), supposed to be eradicated before the end of the seventeenth century, that its existence was historical, remembered only as an awful scar on the national memory. No vestiges were supposed to be left of it, and no knowledge of its tenets was held, save by a very few scholars in Yedo, trained experts, who were kept, as a sort of spiritual blood-hounds, to scent out the adherents of the accursed creed.
So perfect was the work done, that the Government believed fully, as Europeans, and among them Mr. Lecky, who uses the example to strengthen his argument, that "persecution had extirpated Christianity in Japan." It was left to our day, since the recent opening of Japan, for them to discover that a mighty fire had been smoldering for over two centuries beneath the ashes of persecutions., As late as 1829, seven persons, six men and an old woman, were crucified in Ōzaka, on suspicion of being Christians and communicating with foreigners. When the French brethren of the Mission Apostolique, of Paris, came to Nagasaki in 1860, they found in the villages around them over ten thousand people who held the faith of their fathers of the seventeenth century.
A few interesting traces and relics of the century of Christianity and foreigners still exist in Japan. In the language the names of God (Deus), Holy Spirit (Espiritu Santo), Jesus (Yesu), and Christ (Kirishito) have remained. Castira is still the name of sponge-cake, so universally used, and the making of which was first taught by the men of Castile; and the Japanese having no l, change that letter into r. The Japanese have no word for bread; they use the Latin pan. The words taffel (table), Dontakŭ (Sunday), cuppŭ (cup), rauda (laudanum), yerikter (electricity), bouton (button), briki (tin), and many of the names of drugs and medicines, and rare metals and substances, terms in science, etc., and even some in common use, are but the Japanized forms of the Dutch words. I have seen "Weird Specifica" and "Voum Von Mitter" in large Roman letters, or in katagana, advertised on the hanging signs, of the drug-shops in every part of the country I have been in, from Kobé to near Niigata, and other travelers have noticed it nearly everywhere in Japan. It is the old or incorrect spelling of the name of some Dutch nostrum.
The natives speak of Christianity as the religion of the "Lord of Heaven." The destruction of the Christian churches, crosses, images, etc., was so thorough that the discovery of relies by modern seekers has been very rare. A few years ago, shortly after Perry's arrival, there was in Suruga a cave, to which the country people resorted in large numbers, on account of the great efficacy believed to reside in an image of the mother of Shaka (Buddha), with her infant in her arms. The idol was reputed to have healed many diseases. An educated samurai, who hated all foreigners and their ways and works, especially the " Jesus doctrine," happening to enter the cave, perceived in a moment that the image was a relic of the old Christian worship. It was nothing else than an image of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus. The samurai dashed it to pieces.
The attempts of the English and French to open a permanent trade with Japan are described in Hildredth's "Japan as It Was and Is." Captain John Saris, with the ships Clove, Thomas, and Hector, left England in April, 1611, with letters from the king, James I. of England, to the "emperor" (shōgun) of Japan. Landing at Hirado, he was well received, and established a factory in charge of Mr. Richard Cocks. With will Adams and seventeen of his company, Saris set out to see Iyéyasŭ, who was then living at the modern Shidzuōka. He touched at Hakata, traversed the Inland Sea, past Shimonoséki, to Ōzaka; thence by boat to Fushimi, thence by horse and palanquin to Sumpu (Shidzuōka). In the interview accorded the English captain, Iyéyasŭ invited him to visit his son, Hidétada, the ruling shōgun at Yedo. Saris went to Yedo, visiting, on his way, Kamakura and the great copper image of Dai Butsu, some of the Englishmen going inside of it and shouting in it for the fun of the thing. They also wrote their own names inside of it, as foreign tourists, visitors, and even personal friends of republican rulers do to this day, and as the natives have always done, to immortalize themselves. After a stay in Yedo, they touched at Uraga; thence returned to Sumpu, where a treaty, or privileges of trade, in eight articles, was signed and given to Saris. It bore the signature of Minamoto lyéyasŭ.
After a tour of three months, Saris arrived at Hirado again, having visited Kiōto, where he saw the splendid Christian churches and Jesuit colleges, on his way. After discouraging attempts to open a trade with Siam, Corea, and China, and hostilities having broken out between them and the Dutch, the English abandoned the project of permanent trade with Japan; and all subsequent attempts to reopen it failed.
Will Adams, who was an English pilot, and the first of his nation in Japan, is spoken of frequently, and in no flattering terms, by the Jesuit fathers. He arrived in Japan in 1607, and lived in or near Yedo till he died, in 16-20. By the sheer force of a manly, honest character, this sturdy Briton, "who may have seen Shakspeare and Ben Jonson" and Queen Elizabeth, rose into favor with lyéyasŭ, and gained the regard of the people. His knowledge of ship-building, mathematics, and foreign affairs made him a very useful man. Although treated with honor and kindness, he was not allowed to leave Japan. He had a wife and daughter in England. He was made art officer, and given the revenues of the village of Hémi, in Sagami, near the modern Yokosŭka, where are situated the dry-docks, machine-shops, and ship-building house in which the modern war-vessels of the imperial navy are built and launched - a fitting location, so near the ground made classic by this exile from the greatest marine nation in the World. Will Adams had a son and daughter born to him in Japan, and there are still living Japanese who claim descent from him. One of the streets of Yedo was named after him, Anjin Chō (Pilot Street), and the people of that street still hold an annual celebration on the 15th of June in his honor, one of which I attended in 1873. When Adams died, he, and afterward his Japanese wife, were buried on the summit of one of the lovely hills overlooking the Bay of Yedo, Goldsborough Inlet, and the surrounding beautiful and classic landscape. Adams chose the spot himself. The people of Yedo erected memorial-stone lanterns at his tomb. Perry's fleet, in 1854, anchored within the very shadow of the Englisliman's sepulchre. In May, 1872, Mr. Walters, of Yokohama, after a study of Hildreth and some search, discovered the tomb, which others had sought for in vain. Two neat stone shafts, in the characteristic style of native monumental architecture, set on a stone pediment, mark the spot. I visited it, in company of the bonze in charge of the Shin shiu temple of the village, in July, 1873.
In Charlevoix's "Histoire du Christianisme an Japon," it is related that the Abbé Sidotti, an Italian priest, came to Manila, with the intention of landing in Japan, and once more attempting to regain Japan to Christianity. After several years' waiting, he persuaded the captain of a vessel to take him to Satsuma and set him ashore. This was done in 1709. He was arrested and sent to Yedo. There he was confined in a house in the city district, called Koishikawa, on the slope of a hill ever since called Kirishitan zaka (Christian slope), as the valley at the foot is called Kirishitan dané (Christian valley), and the place Kirishitan gui (Christian neighborhood). Here the censors, judges, scholars, and interpreters assembled, and for many days ex amined him, asking many questions and gaining much information concerning foreign countries. In another building near by, an old man and woman who had professed Christianity, and had been compelled to recant, were confined. After the abbé's arrival, exhorted by him, they again embraced their old faith. The abbé gave his name an Jean Baptiste. He made a cross of red paper, which he pasted on the wall of his room. He was kept prisoner, living for several years after his arrival, in Yedo, and probably died a natural death.
About ten years ago, the Rev. S. R. Brown. D.D., discovered a book called Sei Yō Ki Bun (Annals of Western Nations), in three volumes, written by the Japanese scholar who examined the abbé. The books contain a summary of the history and judicial proceedings in the case, and the information gained from the Italian. The whole narrative is of intensest interest. While in Tōkiō, in 1874, I endeavored to find the site of the Inquisition, and the martyr's tomb.
Tradition says that the abbé was buried on the opposite slope of the valley corresponding to that on which he lived, under an old pinetree, near a spring. Pushing my way through scrub bamboo along a narrow path scarcely perceptible for the undergrowth, I saw a nameless stone near a hollow, evidently left by a tree that had long since fallen and rotted away. A little run of water issued front a spring hard by. At the foot was a rude block of stone, with a hollow for water. Both were roughly hewn, and scarcely dressed with the chisel. Such stones in Japan mark the graves of those who die in disgrace, or unknown, or uncared for. This was all that was visible to remind the visitor of one whose heroic life deserved a nobler monument.
The influence of a century of Papal Christianity in Japan on the national ethics and character was nil. A careful examination has not revealed any trace of new principles of morals adopted by the Japanese from foreigners in the sixteenth, as has been gained in the nineteenth century, though the literary, scientific, and material gains were great. The Japanese mental constitution and moral character have been profoundly modified in turn by Buddhism and confucianism, but the successive waves of Christianism that passed over Japan left no sediment teeming with fertility, rather a barren waste like that which the river-floods leave in autumn. I should be glad to see these statements disproved. Let us hope that the Christianity of the present, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Russo-Greek, may work a profounder and more beneficent, revolution in faith and moral practice, and that only that kingdom may be established which is not of this world.