Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rough Timeline of Japan in the Years of Persecution

Since I'm reading Shusaku Endo's Silence, I thought it would be handy to work up a crude timeline of events concerning the Tokugawa Shogunate and Catholic Christianity in Japan. All dates are rough.

1467 Approximate beginning of Sengoku or Warring State Period

1543 First Portuguese ships in Japan

1549 St. Francis Xavier comes to Japan

1573 Approximate beginning of Azuchi-Momoyama phase of the Sengoku period: unification is beginning to take shape under Oda Nabunaga

1582 Oda Nabunaga dies; Toyotomi Hideyoshi takes over and continues conquest of dissident daimyo

1587 Hideyoshi issues decree banning Christianity, although it is only inconsistently and usually lightly enforced in order to maintain trade with Europe

Hideyoshi begins laying down plans to invade Ming China through Korea; the Koreans, despite the inconveniences of being a Chinese puppet state, are understandably not cooperative

1590 Hideyoshi allies with Tokugawa Ieyasu and forces him to move his center of operations to the backwater town of Edo, in modern-day Tokyo

1592 Japanese forces invade Korea; the Chinese Empire sends armies to recapture Pyongyang and Seoul

A ship carrying Korean prisoners is shipwrecked; one of the survivors is nursed to health in Kyoto by Christians, is converted, and takes the name Caius

1593 Having retaken Pyongyang, the Chinese army is decisively defeated at the Battle of Byeokjegwan, leaving Seoul in Japanese hands, and making the remaining army reluctant to take aggressive action; the Korean army has a major victory over the Japanese army at the Siege of Haengju; the Japanese eventually pull out of Seoul due to stalemate conditions that look increasingly unfavorable to them

Peace talks begin between the Ming dynasty and Hideyoshi; since the Ming Emperor is told that Japan is surrendering and Hideyoshi is told that China is surrendering, the talks break down completely

1597 Hideyoshi orders the crucifixion of the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan (including St. Paul Miki) in Nagasaki; the result is actually an increase in Catholic converts

Hideyoshi invades Korea again, an invasion that is less successful militarily, although more effective diplomatically; the overall result, however, is to begin the weakening of both the Ming dynasty in China and the Toyotomi clan in Japan

1598 Hideyoshi dies

1600 Tokugawa Ieyasu wins decisive victory over those opposing him at the Battle of Sekigahara

William Adams becomes first (known) Englishman in Japan after the Dutch vessel for which he was a pilot is shipwrecked; he is taken to Ieyasu, who takes him on as an advisor.

1603 Ieyasu becomes shogun, beginning the Tokugawa Shogunate

Edo (in modern-day Tokyo) becomes the seat of government.

1605 Ieyasu resigns and his son, Tokugawa Hidetada becomes shogun, although Ieyasu continues to control affairs

1606 Anti-Christian decrees are proclaimed.

1609 Cristóvão Ferreira enters Japan as a missionary

1610 Decree of expulsion for all Spanish and Portuguese missionaries

1613 The Eight Martyrs of Arima are killed

1614 Ieyasu and Hidetada expel all Christians and foreigners and ban Christianity; the diamyo Dom Justo Takayama and other Christians (including Bl. Caius of Korea) are also expelled

1616 Ieyasu dies

1619 The Fifty-Two Martyrs of Kyoto are killed

1622 St. Francix Xavier canonized by Gregory XV

The Great Martyrdom of Nagasaki: A very large number of Christian priests, missionaries, and laity are killed

1623 Hidetada resigns and his son, Tokugawa Iemitsu becomes shogun

1624 Bl. Caius of Korea and James Koichi are burned alive for Christian missionary activities

1627 Bl. Thomas Tsugi and companions are burned alive for Christian activities

1629 The Fifty-Five Martyrs of Yonezawa are killed by beheading

1632 Great Genna Martyrdom: 55 Catholics killed in Nagasaki

1633 Iemitsu issues decrees restricting overseas travel.

St. Jacobo Kyushei Gorobioye Tomonaga de Santa María is killed by the tsurushi (reverse hanging or pit) torture

Bl. Domingo Ibáñez de Erquicia is killed by the tsurushi torture

Cristóvão Ferreira is captured and subjected to the tsurushi torture; after six hours in the pit, he apostasizes; this is the event that sets off the story in Shusaku Endo's novel Silence

1634 St. Giorgano Ansalone is killed by the tsurushi torture

St. Magdalene of Nagasaki is killed after thirteen days of the tsurushi torture

1635 Iemitsu begins the policy of Sankin Kotai, requiring the daimyo to reside part of every other year in Edo, a move that will severely curtail the power of the daimyo by siphoning money from their treasuries that might otherwise be spent on armies

1637 Shimabara Rebellion near Nagasaki begins as a peasant uprising but from the beginning is backed by many Japanese Christians

St. Lorenzo Ruiz is killed by the tsurushi torture

St. Antonio Gonzalez dies in his cell after extended torture

1638 Shimabara Rebellion is crushed at Hara Castle, with 40000 peasants, a significant number of them Catholic, slaughtered; this leads to an increasingly strict persecution of Christians

1639 Iemitsu bans Portuguese ships from Japan; Sakoku, the National Seclusion Policy, begins

[The year in which the narrative of Shusaku Endo's Silence starts]

1651 Tokugawa Ietsuna becomes shogun

1657 The Meiriki Fire sweeps through Edo; tens of thousands are killed in the fire

1680 Tokugawa Tsunayoshi becomes shogun

1688 The Genroku Period begins, expanding and deepening Japanese theater and teahouse culture

1701 The 47 Ronin

1709 Tokugawa Ienobu becomes shogun

1713 Tokugawa Ietsugu becomes shogun

1716 Tokugawa Yoshimune becomes shogun

Kyoho economic reforms begin; ban on imported books is lifted

1745 Tokugawa Ieshige becomes shogun

1760 Tokugawa Ieharu becomes shogun

1782 Temme Famine begins, and will last until 1787; hundreds of thousands die

1787 Tokugawa Ienari becomes shogun

1837 Tokugawa Ieyoshi becomes shogun

1839 Crackdown on critics of the national seclusion policy

1853 Tokugawa Iesada becomes shogun

Commodore Matthew Perry sails into Bay of Edo with American warships demanding that Japan open its borders

1854 Kanawaga treaty: Matthew Perry returns and the period of Sakoku, or seclusion, ends

1858 Tokugawa Iemochi becomes shogun

Iemochi ends Sankin Kotai, requiring daimyo to reside alternate years in Edo

1862 The Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan are canonized by Pius IX

1864 Oura Tenshudo, the first Christian church in Japan dedicated to the Twenty-Six martyrs, is finished in Nagasaki

1865 The Kakure Kirishitan, or hidden Christians, are discovered, especially in and around the village of Urakami: Catholic life had not completely died in Japan despite the persecutions

1866 Tokugawa Yoshinobu becomes shogun

1867 The Two-Hundred Five Martyrs of Japan (including Bl. Caius of Korea and Bl. Thomas Tsugi) are beatified by Pius IX

1868 Tokugawa Shogunate comes to an end; Meiji period begins

1869 Urakami Yoban Kuzure: Thousands of Japanese Christians exiled from Japanese village of Urakami

1873 Ban on Christianity lifted; returning Japanese Catholics begin building Urakami Cathedral

1 comment:

  1. Timotheos2:10 PM

    Interestingly enough, it was the Jesuit missionaries that introduced the recipe for Tempura into Japan to help them navigate the fasting days (which is why that dish is almost always either fried vegetables or fish).

    In fact, the word tempura comes from the Latin quattuor anni tempora which are of course the traditional four fasting weeks of the year.

    I'm not too sure even how many Japanese are aware of this...


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