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The same penalties were extended to women and children,
and to the five neighbours on both sides of a convert's abode, unless
these became informers. Every feudal chief was forbidden to keep
Christians in his service, and the edict was promulgated with more
than usual severity, although its enforcement was deferred until the
next year on account of the obsequies of Ieyasu. This edict of 1616
differed from that issued by Ieyasu in 1614, since the latter did not
explicitly prescribe the death-penalty for converts refusing to
apostatize. But both agreed in indicating expulsion as the sole
manner of dealing with the foreign priests. It, is also noteworthy
that, just as the edict of Ieyasu was immediately preceded by
statements from Will Adams about the claim of Spain and Portugal to
absorb all non-Christian countries, so the edict of Hidetada had for
preface Cock's attribution of aggressive designs to the Spanish ships
at Kagoshima in conjunction with Christian converts. Not without
justice, therefore, have the English been charged with some share of
responsibility for the terrible things that ultimately befell the
propagandists and the professors of Christianity in Japan. As for the
shogun, Hidetada, and his advisers, it is probable that they did not
foresee much occasion for actual recourse to violence. They knew that
a great majority of the converts had joined the Christian Church at
the instance, or by the command, of their local rulers, and nothing
can have seemed less likely than that a creed thus lightly embraced
would be adhered to in defiance of torture and death. The foreign
propagandists also might have escaped all peril by obeying the
official edict and leaving Japan. They suffered because they defied
the laws of the land.

Some fifty of them happened to be in Nagasaki at the time of
Hidetada's edict. Several of these were apprehended and deported, but
a number returned almost immediately. This happened under the
jurisdiction of Omura, who had been specially charged with the duty
of sending away the bateren (padres). He seems to have concluded that
a striking example must be furnished, and he therefore ordered the
seizure and decapitation of two fathers, De l'Assumpcion and Machado.
The result completely falsified his calculations, for so far from
proving a deterrent, the fate of the two fathers appealed widely to
the people's sense of heroism. Multitudes flocked to the grave in
which the two coffins were buried. The sick were carried thither to
be restored to health, and the Christian converts derived new courage
from the example of these martyrs. Numerous conversions and numerous
returns of apostates took place everywhere.

While this enthusiasm was at its height, Navarette, vice-provincial
of the Dominicans, and Ayala, vice-provincial of the Augustins,
emerged from hiding, and robed in their full canonicals, commenced an
open propaganda, heralding their approach by a letter addressed to
Omura and couched in the most defiant terms. Thus challenged, Omura
was obliged to act promptly, especially as Navarette declared that he
(Navarette) did not recognize the Emperor of Japan but only the
Emperor of Heaven. The two fanatics were seized, conveyed secretly to
the island of Takashima, and there decapitated; their coffins being
weighted with big stones and sunk in the sea, so as to prevent a
repetition of the scenes witnessed at the tomb of the fathers
mentioned above. Thereupon, the newly elected superior of the
Dominicans at once sent three of his priests to preach in Omura's
territories, and two of them, having been seized, were cast into
prison where they remained for five years. Even more directly defiant
was the attitude of the next martyred priest, an old Franciscan monk,
Juan de Santa Martha. He had for three years suffered all the horrors
of a medieval Japanese prison, yet when it was proposed to release
him and deport him to New Spain, his answer was that, if released, he
would stay in Japan and preach there. He laid his head on the block
in August, 1618.

Throughout the next four years, however, no other foreign missionary
was capitally punished in Japan, though many arrived and continued
their propagandism. During that interval, also, there occurred
another incident calculated to fix upon the Christians still deeper
suspicion of political designs. In a Portuguese ship, captured by the
Dutch, a letter was found instigating Japanese converts to revolt,
and promising that, when the number of disaffected became sufficient,
men-of-war would be sent from Portugal to aid them. Another factor
tending to invest the converts with political potentialities was the
writing of pamphlets by apostates, attributing the zeal of foreign
propagandists solely to traitorous motives. Further, the Spanish and
Portuguese propagandists were indicted in a despatch addressed to the
second Tokugawa shogun, in 1620, by the admiral in command of the
British and Dutch fleet of defence, then cruising in Oriental waters.
The admiral unreservedly charged the friars with treacherous
machinations, and warned the shogun against the aggressive designs of
Philip of Spain.

This cumulative evidence dispelled the last doubts of the Japanese,
and a time of sharp suffering ensued for the fathers and their
converts. There were many shocking episodes. Among them may be
mentioned the case of Zufliga, son of the marquis of Villamanrica. He
visited Japan as a Dominican in 1618, but the governor of Nagasaki
persuaded him to withdraw. Yielding for the moment, he returned two
years later, accompanied by Father Flores. They travelled in a vessel
commanded by a Japanese Christian, and off Formosa she was overhauled
by an English warship, which took off the two priests and handed them
over to the Dutch at Hirado. There they were tortured and held in
prison for sixteen months, when an armed attempt made by some
Japanese Christians to rescue them precipitated their fate. By order
from Yedo, Zuniga, Flores, and the Japanese master of the vessel
which had carried them, were roasted to death in Nagasaki on August
19, 1622. Thus the measures adopted against the missionaries are seen
to have gradually increased in severity. The first two fathers put to
death, De l'Assumpcion and Machado, were beheaded in 1617, not by the
common executioner but by one of the principal officers of the
daimyo. The next two, Navarette and Ayala, were decapitated by the
executioner. Then, in 1618, Juan de Santa Martha was executed like a
common criminal, his body being dismembered and his head exposed.
Finally, in 1622, Zuniga and Flores were burned alive.

The same year was marked by the "great martyrdom" at Nagasaki, when
nine foreign priests went to the stake together with nineteen
Japanese converts. Apprehension of a foreign invasion seems to have
greatly troubled the shogun at this time. He had sent an envoy to
Europe who, after seven years abroad, returned on the eve of the
"great martyrdom," and made a report thoroughly unfavourable to
Christianity. Hidetada therefore refused to give audience to the
Philippine embassy in 1624, and ordered that all Spaniards should be
deported from Japan. It was further decreed that no Japanese
Christians should thenceforth be allowed to go to sea in search of
commerce, and that although non-Christians or men who had apostatized
might travel freely, they must not visit the Philippines.

Thus ended all intercourse between Japan and Spain. The two countries
had been on friendly terms for thirty-two years, and during that time
a widespread conviction that Christianity was an instrument of
Spanish aggression had been engendered. Iemitsu, son of Hidetada, now
ruled in Yedo, though Hidetada himself remained "the power behind the
throne." The year (1623) of the former's accession to the shogunate
had seen the re-issue of anti-Christian decrees and the martyrdom of
some five hundred Christians within the Tokugawa domains, whither the
tide of persecution now flowed for the first time. From that period
onwards official attempts to eradicate Christianity in Japan were
unceasing. Conspicuously active in this cause were two governors of
Nagasaki, by name Mizuno and Takenaka, and the feudal chief of
Shimabara, by name Matsukura. To this last is to be credited the
terrible device of throwing converts into the solfataras at Unzen,
and under him, also, the punishment of the "fosse" was resorted to.
It consisted in suspension by the feet, head downwards in a pit until
death ensued. By many this latter torture was heroically endured to
the end, but in the case of a few the pains proved unendurable.

It is on record that the menace of a Spanish invasion seemed so
imminent to Matsukura and Takenaka that they proposed an attack on
the Philippines so as to deprive the Spaniards of their base in the
East. This bold measure failed to obtain approval in Yedo. In
proportion as the Christian converts proved invincible, the severity
of the repressive measures increased. There are no accurate
statistics showing the number of victims. Some annalists allege that
two hundred and eighty thousand perished up to the year 1635, but
that figure is probably exaggerated, for the converts do not seem to
have aggregated more than three hundred thousand at any time, and it
is probable that a majority of these, having embraced the alien creed
for light reasons, discarded it readily under menace of destruction.
"Every opportunity was given for apostatizing and for escaping death.
Immunity could be secured by pointing out a fellow convert, and when
it is observed that among the seven or eight feudatories who embraced
Christianity only two or three died in that faith, we must conclude
that not a few cases of recanting occurred among the vassals.
Remarkable fortitude, however, is said to have been displayed."
Caron, one of the Dutch traders of Hirado, writing in 1636, says:

At first the believers in Christ were only beheaded and afterwards
attached to a cross, which was considered as a sufficiently heavy
punishment. But when many of them were seen to die with emotions of
joy and pleasure, some even to go singing to the place of execution;
and when although thirty and sometimes one hundred were put to death
at a time, and it was found that their numbers did not appear to
diminish, it was then determined to use every exertion to change
their joy into grief and their songs into tears and groans of misery.
To effect this they were tied to stakes and burned alive; were
broiled on wooden gridirons, and thousands were thus wretchedly
destroyed.



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