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The Japanese Mission to Europe, 1582-1590

Michael Cooper

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ISBN 10: 1901903389 / ISBN 13: 9781901903386
Published by BRILL/Global Oriental, 2005
Used Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Japanese Mission to Europe, 1582-1590

Publisher: BRILL/Global Oriental

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

Edition: 0.

About this title


Following the pioneering work of Francis Xavier in establishing Christianity in Japan, his successor Alessandro Valignano, decided to send a legation to Europe representing the three Christian daimyo of Kyushu, southern Japan. It consisted of two Christian samurai boys who were chosen as legates, together with two teenage companions. The group set sail from Nagasaki in February 1582 and were to be away for eight years. The purpose of the mission was twofold: it would give Europeans the chance of seeing Japanese people at first hand and appreciating their culture, thereby publicising the work of the Catholic Church in Japan and so (it was hoped) increase much-needed financial support; and secondly on their return to Japan the envoys would give eyewitness reports of the splendours of Renaissance Europe, thus moderating Japanese notions about the outside world and foreign barbarians. The boys travelled through Portugal, Spain and Italy and were feted wherever they went. In Venice, the authorities even postponed the annual festival in honour of St Mark, the city's patron, so that the Japanese might view the spectacle. More importantly, the boys met Philip II of Spain several times, as well as Pope Gregory XIII and his successor Sixtus V. This is the first book-length study in English of the mission and provides important new insights into the work of the Jesuits in Japan and the nature of the legation's impact on late-sixteenth-century European perceptions of Japan.

About the Author:

Michael Cooper, former editor of the journal Monumenta Nipponica (1971-97), was awarded a doctorate at the University of Oxford with his thesis on João Rodrigues, a Jesuit missionary who worked in Japan and China from 1577-1633. His major works include They Came to Japan and Rodrigues the Interpreter. He has also written widely on the early Europeans in Japan. In the course of his work, he was honoured with the British MBE decoration and also the Ordem de Mérito from the Portuguese government. In 1999 he retired from Sophia University, Tokyo, and now lives in Hawaii.

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