countries spread their doctrine to other lands, that is not a plot of aggression; this fact is clear. However, once that doctrine begins to flourish, rebellious subjects ipso facto arise in the land; that also is the inevitable natural consequence.'22 Yet the unexpected arrival of this last missionary during the period of seclusion rekindledJapanese interest in western civilization. While the Christian religion and civilization were still condemned as evil and subversive, Arai Hakuseki became aware of the practical value of western sciences. Indeed, he became an ardent advocate of western learning, although he rejected Christianity. His report on Sidotti helped bring about a change of policy by the bakufu concerning the importation of Chinese books on western sciences written by the Jesuit missionaries.
Although the intensity of the anti-Christian persecution gradually abated after 1700, Japanese Christians were nevertheless discovered from time to time. Thus as late as the 1790s a kuzure occurred at Urakami in Nagasaki and another in the Amakusa area (in Higo Domain, now apart ofKumamoto Prefecture) in 1805, when over 5,000 underground Kirishitan were apprehended. It is indeed remarkable that in spite of complete isolation and persecution, the faith was kept and transmitted from generation to generation in the remote villages and fishing hamlets of Kyushu. It was here that the Kakure Kirishitan (Hidden Christians) re-emerged at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Was this article helpful?