Within two months of its denouement, the tragic conflict between the Japanese hegemon Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his adopted successor Hidetsugi had been written up by the Jesuit missionary Luís Fróis. Within three years, the report was being disseminated across Europe in Italian, Latin, and German translations sponsored by the Society of Jesus. Closely in their train followed an English version in manuscript form that circulated among recusant Catholics. That manuscript is published here for the first time, as an annotated transcription. In the incisive translation process, the report was altered materially with an eye on rhetorical effectiveness in the cause of Jesuit propaganda. As a result, without doubt its literary quality improved and its dramatic impact increased. It is also beyond question that much of value as historical evidence was discarded, although enough remained to help clear up the “mystery” of Hidetsugi’s exile and suicide. The most aggressive of the cuts deleted Fróis’s entire final chapter, a unique source dealing with Hideyoshi’s grandiose building project in Fushimi. That chapter, translated for the first time from the Portuguese original into English, has been reinstated here.


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pp. 1-68
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