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Amakusa Shiro and Japanese Christianity
Religion and Theology
Pages 5 (1255 words)
Christianity in Japan has a history spanning at least 100 years. As early as in 1549, Francis Xavier, had reached the Japanese land by a ship. It was in accompaniment with the Portugese traders that the Jesuit priests and missionaries reached the coasts of Japan during mid-16th century…
The poor peasants of Japan’s rural areas as well as the samurai feudal lords who wanted to have guns and profits from the traders, got attracted to Christianity that spread its wing slowly under the leadership of Jesuit missionaries. It was after Xavier spent two and half years spreading his message, and in 1580, the port of Nagasaki was gifted to the Jesuits that the ruler of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi condemned Christianity through an eleven point edict and banned conversions made under compulsion. But this decree was not strictly enforced.
But the Jesuits priests and missionaries were ordered to leave the country. This was a stage when Christianity in Japan went into hiding as cruel persecution of Christians became a routine. Many Christians had fled to the Japanese island of Amakusa but they were burdened with heavy taxes and often burned individually and in groups at stake by the rulers. It was at this juncture that a 16 year old youth, who was a Christian and a samurai, was chosen by a group of rebellious Christians to lead them in a revolt against the persecutors of Christian faith. Amakusa Shiro was to be called as the Japanese Messiah, later. He was a youth of great courage as is known from whatever historical facts that have been available about him.
It was at the age of eight that Amakusa started learning Japanese martial arts and warfare. It is reported that he used to teach religion to children in his leisure time. It was violating the laws that had banned Christianity that he preached his faith. The mythological accounts about his childhood say that he used to do magical tricks to lure the crowds to his preaching. ...
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