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Tokugawa shogunate completely banned Christianity in Japan

By the late 1500s, the province of Nagasaki, Japan had been successfully Christianized by the foreign missionaries. This development destablized the country.

Passages below are truncated from the book Lukewarm Christian to Warrior for Christ: It’s Time to Prepare for Battle by Charles J. Pettitt.


Pix: Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, the unifier of Japan

On July 23, 1587, [Shogun] Toyotomi Hideyoshi issued an eleven point edict denouncing Christianity.

The following day he presented the Edict of Expulsion to the Jesuit missionaries.

In 1614, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu denounced the Christian faith again.

The Dutch and English fanned growing suspicions that Christian missionaries were actually the forerunners of Spanish colonization and planned to dominate the Far East. Ieyasu became more irritated by the discovery that some of Tokugawa’s own households were Christians.

On January 27, 1614, Ieyasu signed the second Christian Expulsion Edict which banned Christianity, expelled all Christians and foreigners, and banned Christians from practicing their religion.

On September 10, 1622, fifty-five Christians were publicly burned or beheaded in Nagasaki.

In early 1623, Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third Tokugawa Shogun, ordered fifty Christians burned at the stake in Edo, Japan.

In January, 1638, Tokugawa Iemitsu sent an army of 10,000 men to attack the [Christian] rebel stronghold at Hara Castle. […] By April, the 27,000 remaining Christian rebels were facing over 125,000 shogunate warriors.

Having taken the castle, the shogunate troops executed all Christian rebels who were still alive. Around 5,000 Christians chose to burn rather than surrender. In all, the entire 37,000 man garrison (men, women, & children) died as a result of the battle.

The end of the rebellion meant the official banning of the faith.

Extracted from pages 51-53 of Pettitt‘s book.



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11 thoughts on “Tokugawa shogunate completely banned Christianity in Japan

  1. it’s the way Christianity spread to none europeans society that give those that are not inflicted yet by it feel unease.. history already proven it.. christianity tend to be more political then spiritual.

    in the case of japan.. the original spiritual traditions is nature base.. known as kimi no michi(way of the god).. or much popularly known as shinto.. then the first foreign spiritual tradition came in the form of buddhism.. now till today budhism and shinto can co-exist for century.. how is that happen?.. but not with christianity.

    Actually it’s the idea of this religion that separate them.. christianity is all about salvation by accepting JC as the saviour.. if you dont you’re a sinner and an enemy that deserve to burn in hell fire.. while shinto tend to focus on human cooperation and coexistent with mother nature.. and budhism is very much about inner peace or enlightenment.. this two asian religion didn’t really emphasize on the things the eye can’t see.. like issue of life after death for example.

    and let’s not forget christianity is an ideology of the colonial master.. so it’s apart of the tool to conquer, although now the western world secularist somewhat manage to contain it’s influence.

    1. re: “now the western world secularist somewhat manage to contain it’s influence”

      What the western world is rejecting (the churches are emptying out in Europe), the Chinese sheeple are embracing.

      Like Hannah Yeoh – rejected for Australian PR – but made Selangor speaker.

      DAP’s evangelical leadership is the worst thing that can happen to the Chinese community here.

      1. not only for the chinese community but also for the whole country…& orang melayu have a most incomprehensible level of kesabaran. jaguh dunia, like u said below.

        sebagai muslim mereka mesti menghayati perintah Allah untuk amar makruf nahi munkar but they too much tolerance for munkar.

        May God bless the me-layu’s, bangsa yang sentiasa LAYU. This is a wake up call for u!

  2. Contrast to modern day Korea where the evangelical church had overtaken both Catholicism and Buddhism in number and fervour. Ancient temples are vandalised and their society, despite being mono racial, is seeing rifts in their cohesion.

    Not that i agree with beheadings and burnings though! (Tempting though it may be … But you can’t let THAT genie out of the bottle here)

  3. Ms H. Christianity was used in Africa and China to subdue the natives in the 19th century. The results we may see today !

  4. Rabbi Yosef, as Chief Rabbi, spoke for all of Judaism. The end-goal of Judaism, as Netanyahu, Perez and every Jew well knows, is a kabbalistic World Empire in which Jewish masters heap all the world’s riches for their pleasure and murder most Gentiles and every Christian. As the Talmud teaches, “The best of the Gentiles—kill!”

    But until the Gentile is killed, the best thing to do is to stamp out their hated New Testament. So Ovadia Yosef issued a ruling that, “All copies of the New Testament found in Israel shall be burned.”

    1. re: “On July 23, 1587, [Shogun] Toyotomi Hideyoshi issued an eleven point edict denouncing Christianity.
      The following day he presented the Edict of Expulsion to the Jesuit missionaries.”

      The Portuguese Jesuits and the Spanish sponsored mendicant- orders were in dispute against one another over who should be granted the right by the Roman Papacy to proselytize for Christianity in Japan. It was important because the result was intimately tied to the rights of commercial transactions for the patron country with Japan.

      Then the Protestant English and Holland also clashed with the Catholic Church for ascendance in Japan. The prosperity games of global economy were being played out by the superpowers of yesteryear.

  5. I downloaded and watched that old tv mini-series “Shogun” based on James Clavell’s novel some time ago. The shogunate never trusted the cunning and conniving Jesuit missionaries and told them to balik kampung in the end, I think. The fictitious Shogun, Toranaga was based on Tokugawa Ieyasu, grandfather of Tokugawa Iemitsu. Grandad to grandson – all mighty pissed with them Christian pendatangs.

    The heroine, Mariko-chan who was the wife of a badass samurai was a pain in the ass for her husband and refused to let him consummate their marriage. She however had no problem cooperating in “matters of the pillow” with the ang moh, Anjin-San (John Blackthorne, the Pilot).

    Skali masuk Kristiang, orang sendiri jadi low class tapi kalau dengan mat salleh tak tau mandi, no problem. :)

    1. re: “Grandad to grandson [shoguns] – all mighty pissed with them Christian pendatangs”

      Diorang kurang sabar. Dalam sifat bersabar ini, kaum Melayu jaguh dunia.

  6. The role of the missionaries in the colonisation of the region was also considerable in terms of cultural and political domination of the people. Although the missionaries’ task was to make people accept the Bible and its teachings, Christianity was turned into an ideology which could be used to convince people not to resist white domination. Religion was used to legitimate, sustain and even promote political tyranny and oppression, as well as in other instances for reasons of political liberation of the people. In the words of Charles Villa-Vicencio, religion has functioned both as the “opiate of the people” and a “source of the social renewal” (1989: 25). Bourdillon, on the other hand, maintains that “missionary Christianity cannot simply be identified with colonialism” (Bourdillon, 1990: 269). Regardless of claims that the missionaries regarded themselves as opposed to the colonial ideology, they were part of the colonial structure and brought with them religions, beliefs and practices which were alien to the area. In the words of Father Wolf Schmidt, “the early missionaries did not differentiate between their faith and their own culture”. ~Hilde Arntsen, Lecturer, Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo

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