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The History of the Church 202 Martyr of the Rising Sun Thirty years after the passage of Francis Xavier, the church in Japan numbered at least 150,000 faithful in the Nagasaki area, with Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries arriving in ever greater numbers to help minister to the population. The central power of the country began to take offense at this state of affairs, under the counsel, most notably, of Dutch Protestant merchants desirous of eliminating their competition. Repression was implemented in two phases. At the end of the sixteenth century, the missionaries were expelled and their religion forbidden under penalty of death. Among the first martyrs was Paul Miki, the son of a samurai, who had entered the Society of Jesus and was crucified in 1597. He was the first native Japanese martyr. Forty years later, an immense rebellion of Catholic peasants broke out in the Shimabara peninsula, with the sack of Buddhist temples and massacre of their monks. It took an army of 100,000 men to quell the revolt, helped by the Dutch, who bombarded the Catholics from their ships. Following the last massacre, in 1638, Japan closed its borders to any European influence, remaining isolated for two centuries. The one exception to this was a trading post granted to the Dutch in the port of Nagasaki. Juan Carreño de Miranda (1614–1685) Franciscan Martyrs of Japan Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo ...


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