It might surprise you to learn that in the late 16th century, Japan nearly became a Christian nation.
We don’t normally do this, but my friend Cody discovered an excellent article on the history of Christian persecution in Japan that I felt I just needed to re-post. The article is a short read, considering that it spans from the first arrival of Jesuit missionaries in Japan until the ultimate crackdown and martyrdom of thousands in the early 17th century. Check it:
By Michael Lee
In January 1597, a small group of people were led to a hill in Nagasaki. It had been a long journey for them, for they’d been paraded as prisoners all the way from Kyoto, and their ears and noses had been mutilated. Ethnically, they were an interesting mix: four Spaniards, one Mexican, one Indo-Portuguese, and twenty Japanese, including three boys, the youngest aged only twelve. What they had in common was their faith: they were all Christians, a crime for which they would die.
According to tradition, they had numerous chances to recant their faith, but they refused. What followed was bloody: they were crucified, their sides were pierced with spears, and they were left to die on the crosses, becoming the first, but not last Christian martyrs in Japan.