Blessed Martyrs of Japan - 28th September

In the beginning of the XVII century there started in Japan one of the most harsh and bloody persecutions of the Church. Many were the numbers of martyrs amongst the members of the Augustinian Order for the Gospel. Augustinians from Japan, Spain, Portugal and Mexico, men and women, tertiaries, lay brothers and other faithful who, with their death, gave an example of the unity and universality of the Order. Hereunder is a chronological list of those, listed in bold print, who have already been declared saints by the Church.

1610: Fr. John Damarin and Fr. Francis de Osorio were martyred in the port of Nagasaki. Fr. Peter de Montejo died a prisoner on a Dutch ship before he was handed over to the Japanese. Lwiġi Michoa, an Augustinian brother was suffered martyrdom.

1617: Fr. Hernando of S. Giuseppe de Ayala* and a Japanese citizen Andrea Yoshida, president of the Confraternity of Brothers of Nagasaki, were beheaded.

1622: Fr. Peter de Zuñiga and the Japanese citizen Jonathan Hiroyama, the latter because he helped Fr. Peter, were burnt alive in a slow- burning fire.

1630: Also beheaded were Fr. John Shozuburo, the oblates Michael Kiuchi Tayemon, Peter Kuhieye, and Thomas Teral Kahioye, and the tertiaries Manico Seizayemon and Lorenzu Hachizo.

1632: Friars Bartholomew Gutiérrez, Vincent of S. Anton Simoens, Francis of Jesus Terrero, Martin of St. Nicholas Lumbreras, and Melchior of S. Wistin Sanchez were also burnt alive in a slow-burning fire.

1633: Fr. Francis de Graça Correia also suffered martyrdom.

1634: Madeline from Nagasaki, a tertiary Augustinian, gave herself up and was martyred.

1637: Thomas Jihyoe, known as Kintsuba and Michael of St. Joseph died after being tortured in the rack. In the same year many Augustinian tertiaries received their martyrdom in the same way as Kinsuba.

Pietro Bellini, o.s.a.

SICARDO, J., OSA., Christianidad del Japón, y dilatada persecución que padeció, Madrid 1698; JIMÉNEZ, M. OSA., Mártires agustinos del Japón, Valladolid 1868; LO JODICE, C., Gli undici martiri agostiniani del Giappone, Bologna 1904; SANTIAGO VELA, G. DE, OSA., Nuestros mártires del Japón, in archivo agustiniano 7 (1917) 10-29 e Mártires agustinos del Japón, ib, 17 (1922) 54072; *HARTMANN, A., OSA., The Augustinians in the  seventeenth century Japan, King City, Ontario 1965 (già in Augustiniana XIV-XV (1964-65); *RODRIGO, R., OAR., Fuentes sobre los misioneros agustinos recoletos martirizados en el Japón, Roma 1985; *ID., Vida y martirio de Martin de San Nicolás y Melchor de San Agustín, agustinos recoletos martirizados en Japón, Roma 1987; HARTMANN, A., OSA., The Augustinians in the Land of the Rising Sun, in AGUSTINOS II 801-826; PANEDAS, P., OAR., Mártires de Japón. Llamas de amor vivos, Zaragoza 1993; RUIZ DE MADINA, J., El martirologio de Japón, 1558-1873, Roma 1999.




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