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Friday, February 17, 2012

Shrine of Twenty-Six Martyrs Nagasaki

二十六聖人記念館

In Nagasaki we visited the Shrine of the Twenty-six Martyrs and the adjoining museum. The museum has an extensive, detailed collection of historical artifacts related to the introduction of Christianity in Japan.

Shrine of Twenty-Six Martyrs in Nagasaki


The outdoor sculpture was created by Yasutake Funakoshi in 1962. It depicts the twenty-six men who were crucified by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi on February 5, 1597, at the hill Nishizaka.

We became interested in the historical roots of Christian evangelization in Japan after watching the 1992 Taiga Drama, "King of Zipangu," which chronicled the life of Oda Nobunaga.

The drama was narrated by a Jesuit priest named Father Luis Frois, who came to Japan from Portugal. Apparently Nobunaga didn't mind the presence of the Jesuits, but Hideyoshi felt otherwise.

Shrine of Twenty-Six Martyrs Nagasaki Kyushu


According to the television drama, there was supposed to be a statue of Father Luis Frois near the shrine, but all we could find was a plaque. Maybe a statue had been there once, but not anymore.

We did, however, get to meet some cute cats on the grounds, and we always appreciate that.

Cat


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