Interesting Japanese Christians! — March 29, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Arima Harunobu

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Arima Harunobu

Arima Harunobu
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arima Harunobu (有馬晴信?, 1567-1612) Arima Harunobu was the second son and successor of Japanese daimyo Arima Yoshisada. Harunobu was born in the castle of Arima and controlled the Shimabara area of Hizen province. After Harunobu’s father’s death, he began the persecution of Christians in his region. With Ryūzōji Takanobu expanding into his domain, Harunobu turned to the help of the Jesuits. Due to this fact, Harunobu was baptized by Alessandro Valignano in 1579. Protasius was his baptismal name, and he took the name of John when he received confirmation. As a result of his Christianization, Harunobu now started getting supplies of weapons from the Portuguese, which strengthened that of the Arima clan. He also founded a seminary and training center for novices in his domain, where apart from the ordinary instructions given was also taught European style music, painting and sculpture and the manufacture of organs and watches.
In 1582 Harunobu teamed up with the Kyūshū Christian daimiyos Otomo Sorin and Omura Sumitada to send a Japanese embassy to the Pope in Rome, led by Valignano and represented by Mancio Ito.
In 1586, he had a vision in which there appeared to him two persons of celestial exterior, who thus spoke to him: “Know that on the lands over which you rule, the sign of Jesus is found; honor and love it much, for it is not the work of man.” Six months afterwards, it happened that a fervent Christian from the neighborhood of Arima sent his son to the woods for the purpose of cutting firewood. On his arrival the young man noticed a tree that was somewhat dried up; he split it in two, and found inserted in the middle of it a cross of a brown color and of a regular form. At the sight of this prodigy every one was struck with astonishment. As soon as Harunobu heard of this, he went himself to the place, and on seeing the cross he cried out: “Behold the sign of Jesus, that I was told was hidden in my dominions, and that was not made by the hand of man.” He then fell on his knees, and after having venerated it amidst many tears, he had it carried to Arima, where by his order it was formed in a magnificent crystal. This miraculous cross brought about the conversion of twenty thousand people.
When Toyotomi Hideyoshi expelled the Catholic fathers and outlawed the teaching of Christianity in 1587, the Arima domain became a refuge for many Christian missionaries and believers.

Portrait of Toyotomi Hideyoshi drawn in 1601

During the year of 1582, Harunobu ended up losing his important Shimabara Castle and was reduced to holding a thin strip of the peninsula. Harunobu in desperate stands, called for the help of the Shimazu clan, were currently in battle with the Ryūzōji. The Shimazu however assisted them by sending Shimazu Iehisa to Shimabara. During the year of 1584, the combined forced of the Arima and the Shimazu with over 3,000 troops, ended up defeating that of the Ryūzōji. The battle that they fought was known as the Battle of Okitanawate. During that battle, Ryūzōji Takanobu ended up getting killed. Afterwards, Shimazu Yoshihisa suggested the Arima renounce Christianity, but this was only refused by Harunobu.
After the latter invaded Kyūshū during the year of 1587, Harunobu allied with the likes of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. During the year of 1592, the allied force led some 2,000 men to Korea under Konishi Yukinaga. During the Battle of Sekigahara during the year of 1600, Harunobu supported Tokugawa Ieyasu, and thus didn’t lose any land during the end result of the battle.
During the year of 1609, Harunobu was tasked to scout out a potential trade center for Japanese, Chinese, and that of Western ships. When they arrived, many of the islanders attacked Harunobu’s men, and many ended up being killed. Later that same year, a trading ship Harunobu had sent to Champa was attacked by the Portuguese while stopping at Macau. Harunobu retaliated this the following year by attacking the Portuguese tradingship Madre de Deus coming to Nagasaki from Macau. Immediately follow this incident, the Okamotodaihachi Jiken resulted in Arima Harunobu’s death. A certain Okamoto Daihachi who is a servant of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s close advisor Honda Masazumi was sent to Harunobu to congratulate on his latest triumph again the Portuguese. Okamoto was apparently also a Christian and he was entertained by Arima Harunobu with a feast. During the banquet, Okamoto told Arima that through his influence upon his master, he can allow Arima to recover three gun(郡) territories that were lost to the Ryūzōji clan over the preceding years. Arima believed him and sent him many gold and silver to lobby for him in the Tokugawa government.
However, Okamoto pocketed the money but never did anything and when Arima Harunobu encountered Honda Masazumi during his obligatory visit to Edo, he learned that Honda Masazumi was unaware of Arima Harunobu’s dealings with Okamoto. Furious with Okamoto, Arima presented the case to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu immediately imprisoned Okamoto, further investigation revealed that Arima had various other dealings with Okamoto and they were involved in a conspiracy to assassinate the Bugyo of Nagasaki. In the end, Okamoto to sentenced to death by fire, while Arima was stripped of his holdings and exiled to province of Kai. When ordered by the Shogunate to committee suicide, Arima refused based upon his Christian principles and instead ordered his retainers to behead him.

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Saint Alphonsus Liguori (September 27, 1696 – August 1, 1787) was a Catholic Bishop, spiritual writer, theologian, and founder of the Redemptorists.

St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote of his death as follows:
The emperor had deposed and exiled him, in consequence of an odious intrigue concocted against him by his own son, named Michael. In his exile King John led a very penitent life, to repair all the bad example that he had given, and he desired nothing so much as to expiate by his death his past iniquities. God soon brought about the accomplishment of his desires. Prince Michael, not content with having thus humbled his father, and with seating himself on his throne, wished also to deprive him of life. He had him accused to the emperor of several supposed crimes. The latter, taking counsel only of the hatred that he bore him, condemned him without trial to be beheaded, and sent one hundred and fifty soldiers to carry out the sentence. It is the custom in Japan that when it is desired that a prince should die, the persons of his court defend him till death. But John begged his servants not to oppose his execution, and through affection for him they obeyed most reluctantly. Moreover, he made them swear not to open his body after death…. He then wrote to his unnatural son a letter full of tenderness, and asked his pardon should he ever have offended him. He afterwards had the Passion of Jesus Christ read to him, praying with tears that the many sins of his past life might be forgiven him. Having had a crucifix put before him, he went on his knees and calmly awaited the death-blow. The good Princess Justa, his wife, who was present, took the head of her husband between her hands and kissed it. Then she withdrew to her apartments, where she cut off her hair, indicating thereby that she renounced the world. The new king of Arima, the infamous parricide Michael, after having taken possession of all the goods of his father, declared war against the Christian religion….
His son Arima Naozumi married Tokugawa Ieyasu’s adopted daughter Kuni-hime and as a resulted inherited the land that was confiscated from his father.

 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Japanese historian Sukeno Kentaro gives the baptismal name and Harunobu’s later, confirmation name the other way around. First John, then Protasius.
    Sukeno Kentaro, “Shimabara no Ran,” Tokyo, Tode, 1967, p.20, p.34.

  2. I really enjoyed this post, especially the “examples in this post” portion which made it really easy for me to SEE what you were talking about without even having to leave the article. Thanks

  3. A good article Thank you!

  4. wow.. i’m very

    enjoy reading your post. great.

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