Monday 6 February 2017

The Japanese connection

Today is the feast of Paolo Miki and companions, martyrs in Japan. Among the companions, there is also Gonsalo Garcia, born in Vasai (Bassein) near Mumbai around 1557. Educated by the Jesuits, he was taken by them to Japan where he learnt the language and became a popular catechist. He left the mission and became a trader. In the Philippines he got to know the Franciscans and became a lay brother. In Japan, once again, he preached for 4 years. In 1597 he was crucified along with Paolo Miki and others, including, Filiberto tells me, a Mexican Franciscan, 3 Japanese Jesuits and 17 Japanese laymen.

The Japanese connection with India is interesting. Francis Xavier was probably the first missionary to reach Japan, from India. The Collegio Sao Paulo in Old Goa - now only the ruins remain - was an international college housing many foreigners, including, if I am not mistaken, Japanese, Javanese, Malays and Burmese. [See Ricardo Cabral, The Development of Teacher Education in Portuguese Goa (1841-1961). New Delhi: Concept, 2009, pp. 5-6.]

But look at this gory piece of information that comes from, of all people, Amitav Ghosh! "Goa's Japanese slaves," http://amitavghosh.com/blog/?p=3496

We were saying this morning at table: unfortunately evangelization was mixed up with commerce and trade; which was probably why the British and others got on the side of the Shogun to poison his mind against the Portuguese and the Spanish. But that the Portuguese were dealing with slaves - ugh. The Jesuits were almost certainly doing evangelization + trade. Hopefully they were not among those involved in the slave trade.

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