MORE“4” “2”DAY
     deaths: 05 FEBRUARY 1597 v. 5.40
1583 Antony Deynan
— Bonaventure of Miyako
— Cosmas Takeya
— Francis Blanco
— Francis of Nagasaki
1544 Francis of Saint Michael
1578 Gabriel de Duisco
— Gaius Francis
1556 Gonzalo García OFM
1533 James Kisai SJ
— Joachim Saccachibara
— John Kisaka
1578 John Soan de Goto SJ
— Leo Karasumaru
1585 Louis Ibaraki
1567 Martín Loynaz de Aguirre OFM
— Matthias of Miyako
1551 Michael Kozaki
— Paul Ibaraki
1562 Paul Miki SJ
1563 Paul Suzuki
1545 Peter Baptist
— Peter Sukejiroo
1575 Philip of Jesus
1582 Thomas Kozaki
— Thomas Xico
Pius IX^ Crucified on 05 February 1597 in Nagasaki.

     Following their arrests by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, they had been taken to the public square of Meako to the city's principal temple. They each had a piece of their left ear cut off, and then paraded from city to city for weeks with a man shouting their crimes and encouraging their abuse. The priests and brothers were accused of preaching the outlawed faith of Christianity, the laity of supporting and aiding them. They were each repeatedly offered freedom if they would renounce Christianity. They each declined.
     They are crucified on 05 February 1597 at Tateyama (Hill of Wheat), Nagasaki, Japan. The Japanese style of crucifixion was to put iron clamps around the wrists, ankles and throat, a straddle piece was placed between the legs for weight support, and the person was pierced with a lance up through the left and right ribs toward the opposite shoulder
    They were beatified on 14 September 1627 by Pope Urban VIII [bap. 05 Apr 1568 – 29 Jul 1644].
    They were canonized on 08 June 1862 by Pope Pius IX [13 May 1792 – 07 Feb 1878]
— When the time for execution came two samurai guards stood at the foot of each of the crosses at either end of the line of prisoners. In one moment, following the Japanese method of crucifixion, each soldier plunged his steel-tipped bamboo spear into the victim’s breast, crossing over each other’s spear in the process. First, a guttural yell, then a sudden thrust, then the gush of blood. The heads of the victims sagged. The guards then moved on to the next cross.
      As the executions continued, an angry roar thundered through the crowd. When the gruesome task was completed, the Christian witnesses broke past the guards, and pressed toward the crosses, soaking pieces of cloth in the martyrs’ blood and tearing their clothing for relics. Terazawa finally stopped the onrush, ordering his guards to keep the crowd away.
     The bodies remained on the crosses all day, and in the night, a bishop led pilgrims to them, saying a prayer under each body. In death, Miki and his fellow martyrs continued to preach the good news of Christ: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).
      In a letter to his superior, Father Francis Calderon, a Jesuit missionary, wrote, “Although thirty-seven days have passed since they were crucified, we still have before our eyes . . . this holy display of the martyrs’ bodies, still on their crosses.” Father Calderon added:
      I can tell Your Reverence, that these deaths have been a special gift of Divine Providence to this church. Up to now our persecutor had not gone to the extreme of shedding Christian blood. Our teaching therefore had been mostly theoretical, without the corroborating evidence of dying for our Christian faith. But now, seeing by experience these remarkable and most extraordinary deaths, it is beyond belief how much our new Christians have been strengthened, how much encouragement they have received to do the same themselves.
      In 1598 an envoy from the Philippines was permitted by Hideyoshi to gather the last remains of the martyrs and their crosses. The Christians planted a tree in each of the holes in the ground left by the crosses, and in the center they built a big cross. Each year, pilgrims made their way to Nishizaka Hill, which they began calling Martyrs’ Hill. The plan to exterminate Christianity had backfired. That horrible instrument of execution, the cross, was bringing others closer to the Father.
      The story of the courage and faith of the twenty-six martyrs has been faithfully preserved among generations of Christians. In 1862, these martyrs were canonized by Pope Pius IX. Today, 400 years after their deaths, a church, museum and bronze monument stand atop Nishizaka Hill to commemorate the first twenty-six martyrs and all those faithful Christians who followed them. Pope John Paul II visited the site in 1981 and named it “Resurrection Hill.”

(Anthony Dainan; Anthony Deynan)
Son of a Chinese father and Japanese mother. Altar boy. Educated by the Jesuits in Nagasaki and the Franciscans in Osaka. Franciscan tertiary.      Born about 1583 at Nagasaki, Japan
(Bonaventure of Maeco; Bonaventure of Miako)
     Baptized as an infant, his mother died when he was a baby, and his step-mother sent him to be raised in a Buddhist monastery. When he was judged old enough, he was told about his background. To learn more, he visited the Franciscan convent at Kyoto. There he found a peace he had been looking for, and stayed to become a Franciscan tertiary. Catechist.
     Born at Kyoto, Japan
(Zaquira Tachegia)
     Sword maker. Convert to Christianity, brought into the faith by Jesuit missionaries. Lay Franciscan tertiary. Interpreter for the missionaries. Catechist for the Franciscans. Preached in Osaka.
     Born at Owari, Japan
     Studied at Salamanca, Spain. Franciscan friar. Evangelist in Mexico, Philippines, and Japan.
     Born at Monterey, Spanish Galacia.
FRANCIS of Nagasaki
(Francis of Miyako; Francis of Miako)
     Physician. Adult convert to Catholicism by Franciscan missionaries. Even before his conversion he carried a set of rosary beads. Franciscan tertiary. Catechist and preacher. Worked with the sick, treating them for free, and bringing religious teaching to those who were interested.
     Born at Miyako, Japan
FRANCIS of Saint Michael
     Franciscan layman. Missionary to Phillipines and Japan. Arrested in Osaka with Saint Peter Baptist in 1596.
     Born c.1544 at La Parilla, Spain (vear Valladolid)
GABRIEL de Duisco
     Convert, brought to the faith by Saint Gundisalvus García. Franciscan tertiary. Catechist. Born c.1578 at Ise, Japan
(Caius Francis)
     Japanese soldier. Convert. Franciscan tertiary. When soldiers came to arrest the friars, he insisted he was a Christian, too. They took him, as well.
     Born Japanese
Saint Gonzalo García GONZALO García OFM
(Gonsalo García; Gonsalvo Garzia; Gundisalvus García)
     His father was a Portugese immigrant, his mother an Indian convert. Lay catechist, working for the Jesuits. Successful businessman in Japan and Macao. Became a Franciscan lay brother in Manila in the Philippines in 1591. Returned to Japan with Saint Peter Baptist to act as interpreter. Stuttered when speaking Portuguese, but was flawless in Japanese when facing his judges.
     Born in 1556 of a Portuguese father and a Canarese mother in Bassein, East India. His early training was entrusted to the Jesuits, who brought him up in their college in Bassein Fort. At the age of twenty-four or twenty-five he went to Japan in the company of some Jesuit Fathers who were ordered, in 1580, to leave Bassein, and join their mission in the former country. He quickly acquired a knowledge of the language; and as he was of an amiable disposition he won the hearts of the people and did great service as a catechist for eight years. He then left this kind of work and betook himself to Alacao for trading purposes. His business soon flourished and branches were opened in different places. During his frequent visits to Manila he made the acquaintance of the Franciscans, and being drawn more and more towards them he finally joined the Seraphic Order as a lay brother.
      He sailed from the Philippine Islands with other companions in religion under Petrus Baptista, 26 May, 1592, on an embassy from the Spanish Governor to the Emperor of Japan. After working zealously for the glory of God for more than four years, the Emperor Taiko-Sama, suspecting the missionaries were aiming at the overthrow of his throne, ordered St. García and his companions to be guarded in their Convent at Miaco on 8 December, 1596. A few days afterwards, when they were singing vespers, they were apprehended and with their hands tied behind their backs were taken to prison. On 3 January, 1597, the extremities of the left ears of twenty-six confessors, St. García amongst the number, were cut off; but were with great respect collected by the Christians. On 5 February of the same year, the day of the martyrdom, St. García was the first to be extended on, and nailed to, the cross, which was then erected in the middle of those of his companions. Two lances piercing the body from one side to the other and passing through the heart, whilst the saint was singing the praises of God during the infliction of the torture, put an end to his sufferings and won for García the martyr's crown.

St. James Kisai JAMES KISAI SJ
(Diego Kisai; James Kizayemon)
     Raised Buddhist. Convert. Married layman, and father of one son. His wife returned to her Buddhist roots; the two separated, and placed their child with a Christian family. Worked as a layman with the Jesuits in Osaka, Japan, caring for guests in their residence. Catechist in Osaka. Arrested with Paul Miki. Jesuit novice coadjutor brother, joining the Society while imprisoned.
     Born 1533 in Okayama, Japan
     St James Kisai was born in 1533 of a non-Christian family, in the village of Hagaenura, near Mayama is Japan. Being a non­Christian he received his education from Buddhists. But when he came to know the teachings of Christ through Christian Missionaries he wanted to become a Catholic. He was given instruction about the Catholic faith and was baptized and was given the name James. He married a Buddhist convert Christian woman and had a son. His wife did not want to remain a Christian and decided to return to her former Buddhist belief. James tried his best to keep her from going back to her former religion. But he did not succeed in his mission. She left him and her son and went back to her family.
      James was helpless but God was preparing him for his future sufferings and martyrdom. James entrusted his son to a Christian family in order to bring him up in the Christian faith, and he got a job in one of the Jesuit Colleges.
      He was given different kinds of work to do. He did all this with faith and love. He was porter and looked after the guests. His faith was strengthened and he decided to join the Jesuits as a Coadjutor Brother. He started his novitiate in 1596 at the age of 63.
      During the 41 years after the coming of St Francis Xavier to Japan, Christianity experienced a rapid growth. Several political leaders had become converts. The Jesuit mission prospered. But the Chief of Japan Hideyashi, who was very favorable towards Christianity, later turned against them because the Buddhist leaders feared the increase of Christians. On 25 July 1587 he ordered all missionaries out of Japan. A few obeyed the edict and left the country; but most of them remained and went undercover so as to continue caring for their people, however, they were not free from persecution.
      A terrible persecution broke out in Japan. Many priests and religious were arrested and Br Novice James Kisai was one of them along with Scholastics Paul Miki and John Soan de Goto. They were taken to Nagasaki and kept in a prison. On 03 January 1597, the prisoners were led into the public square where sentence of death by crucifixion was passed upon them. On the following day the martyrs, with hands tied, were crowded into carriages for the six-hundred mile ride to Nagasaki. After four weary weeks the procession of carriages approached Nagasaki, and at a stop outside the city a Jesuit priest made contact with the three Jesuit prisoners, heard their confession and received the religious vows of Br James Kisai making him full member of the Society of Jesus.
      The following morning 05 February, after spending the night in the prison they were taken to the place of execution. They saw the crosses kept ready for them to be crucified. The prisoners embraced the crosses and willingly laying themselves on them, waited for their turn to be killed. At a given signal soldiers standing beneath each cross thrust two lances into each martyr's breast. Thus at the age of sixty four, on the day after his first profession Brother James became the first Japanese martyr along with Scholastics Paul Miki and John Soan de Goto.

(Joachim Sakachibara)
     Physician who treated the poor for free. Franciscan tertiary. Sometime cook for the Franciscans at Osaka. Catechist.
     Born at Osaka, Japan
(John Kimoia; John Kinuya)
     Layman. Silk-weaver. Convert. Franciscan tertiary.
     Born at Miyako, Japan
(John Soan of Goto; John Soan; John de Goto; John of Goto)
     Raised Christian. He and his family fled to Nagasaki to escape persecution on the Goto Islands. Studied with the Jesuits at Nagasaki and Shiki. Jesuits temporal-coadjutor. Catechist at Osaka, Japan.
     Born c.1578 in the Goto Islands, Japan
(Leo Carasuma)
     Younger brother of Saint Paul Ibaraki. Uncle of Saint Louis Ibaraki. A bonze (pagan priest) in his youth. Convert to Christianity, baptized by Japanese Jesuits in 1589. First Korean Franciscan tertiary. Chief catechist for the Franciscan friars, and threw himself into any task they gave him.
     Born in Owari, Korea
(Louis Ibarki)
     Nephew of Saint Paul Ibarak and Saint Leo Karasumaru. Altar boy for the Franciscan missionaries. Noted for maintaining his high spirits and encouraging all around him during the torture and forced march to Nasasaki.
      Born c.1585 in Owari, Japan
(Martin of the Ascension; Martin de Aguirre; Martin Loynaz of the Ascension)
     Studied in Alcala, Spain. Joined the Franciscans in 1586. Priest. Loved to sing. Missionary to Mexico. Missionary to Manila in the Philippines. Briefly served as missionary in Osaka, Japan.
     Born c.1567 at Guipuzcoa, Spain
MATTHIAS of Miyako
(Matthias of Meako)
     Franciscan tertiary. When the soldiers arrived to arrest Christians, they were looking for another Matthias who was not there. Saint Matthias offered himself as a Christian, and to save the other Matthias. The soldiers were happy to take him.
     Born Japanese
(Michael Cozaki)
     Father of Saint Thomas Kozaki. Bow maker and carpenter. Already a Christian with the Franciscans started their missionary work in his area. Worked with them as a catechist, and as a nurse in their hospital. Helped to build convents and churches in Kyoto and Osaka.
     Born c.1551 at Ise, Japan
(Yuanki; Yauniqui
     Member of a noble samuri family. Brother of Saint Leo Karasumaru. Ran a small sake brewery to support his family. Convert, brought to the faith by Jesuit missionaries. Franciscan lay tertiary. Worked with the missionaries in Kyoto as an interpreter, catechist and lay preacher near the Franciscan convent of Our Lady of the Angels. Always charitable to those even poorer than himself.
     Born in Owari, Japan
St. Paul Miki PAUL MIKI SJ
     Born wealthy, the son of the military leader Miki Handayu. Felt a call to religous life from his youth. Jesuit in 1580, educated at the Jesuit college at Azuchi and Takatsuki. Successful evangelist. When the political climate became hostile to Christianity, he decided to continue his ministry, was soon arrested. On his way to martydom, he and other imprisoned Christians were marched 600 miles so they could be abused by, and be a lesson to, their countrymen; they sang the Te Deum on the way. His last sermon was delivered from the cross.
     Born 1562 at Tsunokuni, Japan.
—     Paul Miki saw sparkling Nagasaki harbor coming into view. The 1000-km journey from the Japanese capital of Kyoto through the cold and snow was nearly over. It had taken almost one month. Now the crown of martyrdom would soon be his.
      Along the road, villagers jeered him and the twenty-three others who had been sentenced to die for their Christian beliefs. “Fools,” they shouted, “Renounce your faith.” Miki, who loved to preach, urged the people to believe in Jesus, the Savior who died for their sins so that they might live! Not all were insulting the prisoners, however. Fellow believers along the way blessed them, encouraged them, and prayed for them, giving them the strength and courage to continue on their journey.
      Miki thought how odd it was that he was to die so soon before his ordination as a priest. Now thirty-three years old, he had been a Jesuit brother for eleven joyful years, studying and internalizing the mysteries of the faith. Recognized as an eloquent speaker, his fervent discourses had led to many conversions. Yet he was never to celebrate Mass, never to raise the consecrated host in his own hands. Perhaps in heaven he would have that privilege.
      His thoughts on the journey often turned to his family. Miki had been born and raised in the Tsunokuni district near Kyoto in comfortable surroundings, the son of a brave soldier, Miki Handayu. A fellow Jesuit, Francis Xavier, had come to Japan in 1549, and his message of a loving triune God had pierced the souls of many Japanese. In 1568, when Paul was four years old, his parents converted to Christianity. Now there were hundreds of thousands of Christians in Japan, from poor peasants to feudal lords. Miki thought about how lovingly his parents had nurtured his faith. Educated in Jesuit schools, Miki never doubted his vocation.
     The seeds planted by Xavier flourished, but only when it suited the reigning Japanese ruler. The military leader Oda Nobunaga allowed the missionaries to preach because he wanted to challenge the power of the Buddhist monks and he was interested in foreign trade. When Nobunaga died in 1582, one of his generals, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, seized power. At first, Hideyoshi tolerated Christianity.
      Yet Christianity was a religion of foreigners, very different from Buddhism or the native Shintoism, which enshrined numerous minor gods. Japan feared conquest by the West. What if these foreign missionaries came not to bring their God but their soldiers? When Christianity began to claim thousands of converts, Hideyoshi became nervous. In 1587, he issued an edict banning all the Jesuit missionaries. The edict was never fully enforced, however, and Miki and his missionary friends continued for a number of years to evangelize unobtrusively.
      Then, in the fall of 1596, a Spanish ship, the San Felipe, en route to Mexico from Manila, crashed into the coast of Japan. While Japanese officials confiscated the vessel’s cargo, an arrogant remark by the ship’s captain was interpreted to mean that missionaries intended to help in the conquest of Japan by Spain. Hideyoshi quickly ordered the arrest of several priests and laymen who had come to Japan from the Spanish Philippines to evangelize. Hideyoshi was firmly convinced that a public, gruesome blood bath would put an end to this religion of the West. Although a native, Miki was among those who would serve as Hideyoshi’s warning.
      On the day after Christmas in 1596, police came to the Jesuit residence in Osaka. Miki was taken, along with two of his novice brothers, John Soan De Goto and James Kisai. They were brought to a prison in Kyoto, where they were joined by six Franciscans and fifteen members of the Franciscan third order.
      A week later, the twenty-four prisoners were led into the public square where the sentence was pronounced: death by crucifixion. Miki’s heart soared. What an honor to imitate the Lord on the cross! Each man then stood by the samurai as a portion of his left ear was cut off. It was Miki’s turn, and the searing pain shot through his head. The first blood to be spilled for Christ.
      As the journey to Nagasaki wore on, Miki became increasingly impatient to be with the Lord. Each day of suffering only increased his longing for God. The words of Psalm 126 echoed in his mind: “He that goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, will come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Perhaps his death would sow the seeds of faith in his countrymen. Perhaps his cross would unite with the cross of Christ to bring others to the Father.
      At the last stop outside of Nagasaki, two Jesuit priests met the group to hear confessions. Miki poured out his heart. Two more prisoners had joined the group, arrested for trying to comfort the victims. In all, twenty-six would die.
      Entering Nagasaki was like coming home to the new Jerusalem. As the caravan entered the city, thousands of faithful Christians lined the streets to encourage the prisoners. Under a feudal lord, Baron Omura, Nagasaki had become a Christian town, with Jesuits running schools, churches, and homes for the poor, even as it flourished in its trade with the Europeans. If Hideyoshi had intended the crucifixions to discourage the Christians here, his plan was already having the opposite effect.
      The morning light of 05 February—the day of execution—was sharp and unforgivingly bright, like the spears that would soon pierce the prisoners’ hearts. Miki and the others were led up Nishizaka Hill, the final mass of land greeting Nagasaki Bay. The road to Omura divided the hill. One side of the road was scattered with human remains, where common criminals were executed; the other side was covered with new, green wheat. The government official in charge of the executions, Terazawa Hazaburo, had been persuaded by influential Portuguese to give the martyrs a more decent killing field than those of criminals. The wheat would serve as a carpet for their crosses.
      Lying on the ground were the instruments of death—twenty-six crosses, each one tailor-made for the martyrs. When the prisoners saw them, they burst into praise, singing Te Deum, the church’s traditional hymn of thanksgiving. Three children were among the group of prisoners—thirteen-year-olds Thomas Kozaki and Anthony Deynan, and twelve-year-old Louis Ibaraki—and they raced ahead of the others. The boys, who used to serve the friars at Mass, wanted to find the crosses that fit their small frames. One by one, on their knees, the martyrs embraced their crosses—their way to perfection and to the Father.
      The victims were fastened to the crosses with metal bands and ropes. Miki’s cross was too big for him, so the guards tied him to the wood with a piece of linen, stepping on his chest in the process. A missionary standing by protested, but Miki assured him: “Let him do his job, Father. It does not really hurt.”
      The crosses were lifted and slid into holes in the ground, twenty-six stretching in a row from the bay to the road. The martyrs raised their eyes to heaven and sang, “Praise the Lord, ye children of the Lord.” The “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus” of the Mass echoed down the hill. Finally, one of the prisoners chanted the litany, “Jesus, Mary. Jesus, Mary.” The crowds of Christians joined in. Then, one by one, the men were approached and asked if they wanted to recant their faith in exchange for their lives. Each one loudly answered, “No.”
      Planted in front of Miki’s cross was the death sentence Hideyoshi had declared: “As these men came from the Philippines under the guise of ambassadors, and chose to stay in Kyoto preaching the Christian law which I have severely forbidden all these years, I come to decree that they be put to death, together with the Japanese that have accepted that law.” Fastened to his cross, Paul Miki gave his final defense in the form of a samurai farewell song:
      I did not come from the Philippines. I am a Japanese by birth, and a brother of the Society of Jesus. I have committed no crime. The only reason I am condemned to die is that I have taught the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am happy to die for such a cause and accept death as a great gift from my Lord. At this critical time, when you can rest assured that I will not try to deceive you, I want to stress and make it unmistakably clear that man can find no way to salvation other than the Christian way.
      The Christian law commands that we forgive our enemies and those who have wronged us. I must therefore say here that I forgive Hideyoshi and all who took a part in my death. I do not hate Hideyoshi. I would rather have him and all the Japanese become Christians.
      The guards listened, spellbound. Miki had shown he could remain a faithful Japanese, adhere to the samurai code of honor, and yet give glory to Christ. Looking to heaven, he said, “Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit. Come to meet me, ye saints of God.”

     Convert, baptized by the Jesuits in 1584. Franciscan tertiary. Catechist. In charge of Saint Joseph's hospital in Kyoto. Preached from the cross in his last minutes.
      Born 1563 at Owari, Japan
     Franciscan missionary to Mexico, the Philippines, and Japan. Noted for his work with lepers. Superior of the missionaries in Japan. Wonder worker. Reportedly seen celebrating Mass long after his death.
      Born 1545 at San Esteban del Valle, Avila, Spain
(Peter Sukejiro; Peter Xukexico; Peter Shukeshiko)
     Franciscan tertiary. Catechist. House servant and sacristan to the Franciscan missionaries. Arrested for his faith in Kyoto while ministering to imprisoned fellow Christians.
     Born Japanese
(Felipe de Jesus)
     Joined the Franciscans in his early teens, but left the Order after a year. Sailed to Manila in the Philippines to start an overseas trading buiness. Three years later the call to religious life returned, and on 22 May 1594 he joined the Franciscans in Manila. He was sent back to Mexico in 1596 to be ordained a bishop, but the ship was blown off course and wrecked on a reef on the coast of Japan. The locals impounded the cargo and imprisoned the crew. In order to keep the cargo from Philip's ship, the warlord Taikosama accused Philip and his crew of piracy and spying for the king of Spain preparatory to an invasion. Philip and several other Christians were placed under house arrest at Miako for several weeks, and then condemned to death.
     Born 1575 in Mexico
(Thomas Cozaki; Thomas Kasaki)
     Son of Saint Michael Kozaki. Altar boy. Raised Christian. Helped his father with his carpentry for the Franciscan missionaries, and then stayed at the convent they had built. His farewell letter to his mother, written from prison, has survived.
     Born c.1582 at Ise, Japan
     On the eve of his execution, thirteen-year-old Thomas Kozaki, who was to die with his father, wrote a farewell letter to his mother. Full of simple yet steadfast faith, the power of this letter, like the power of his cross, has not diminished over the years:
      Dear Mother: Dad and I are going to heaven. There we shall await you. Do not be discouraged even if all the priests are killed. Bear all sorrow for our Lord and do not forget you are now on the true road to heaven. You must not put my smaller brothers in pagan families. Educate them yourself. These are the dying wishes of father and son. Goodbye, Mother dear. Goodbye.
(Thomas Dauki; Thomas Dangi; Thomas Danki)
     Pharmacist with a violent disposition. Prayer and faith eventually mellowed him, and he became a kind-hearted Franciscan tertiary. When the Franciscans opened the convent of Our Lady of the Angels, Thomas moved his drug store next door to it. Catechist. Interpreter for the Franciscan missionaries.
     Born Japanese
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