A collection of manuscript government documents regarding the extermination of Christianity in Japan. [Japan]: 1673-1810. CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN.

The Extermination of Christianity in Japan

A collection of manuscript government documents regarding the extermination of Christianity in Japan. [Japan]: 1673-1810.

A fascinating and important series of government documents which fall into the general category of shumon aratame cho (“register of religious investigations”) which were kept, listing the names, ages, and relationship to the heads of households for individuals in villages and towns throughout Japan. Christianity was outlawed in Japan in 1612 but continued secretly, mostly in southwestern Japan, near Nagasaki. Following the Shimabara Rebellion of 1637-38, there were renewed efforts to exterminate Christianity on the Japanese mainland.

Registers, such as these, began to be compiled in the 1660s, which required all subjects to officially register with a Buddhist temple, and also that every year every head of household had to report to his village headman or equivalent official that no one in his family was a Christian. As each village headman or other local/regional official reported in, each domain totaled the figures, and recorded a total number of people in the domain. These registers have proven to be important and useful documents, quite akin to census reports.

1. Manuscript on paper entitled “Kirishitan sensaku shumon cho” [trans.: “Documents of an Investigation regarding Christianity and individual recantations”], 47 folding leaves, large 8vo (283 x 210 mm.), later wrappers, new stitching. Fujimaki Village, Yamanashi Prefecture: 1673.

2. Manuscript on paper entitled “Kirishitan sensaku shumon cho” [trans.: “Documents of an Investigation regarding Christianity and individual recantations”], 55 folding leaves, large 8vo (283 x 210 mm.), later wrappers, new stitching. Fujimaki and Shimogawara villages, Yamanashi Prefecture: 1675.

3. Manuscript on paper entitled “Kirishitan ruizoku cho” [trans.: “Investigation of Relatives of Christians”], 58 folding leaves, 8vo (295 x 194 mm.), orig. wrappers, stitched as issued. [Japan]: 1719-1808.

4. Manuscript on paper entitled “Fushimi omote kirishitan shumon aratame onshabun cho” [trans.: “Register death certificates of religious investigations in Fushimi omote [near Kyoto”], 8 folding leaves, 8vo (277 x 202 mm) later wrappers, new stitching. Fushimi omote: 1770-77.

5. Manuscript on paper entitled “Kirishitan shumon onsensaku...” [trans.: “Documents of an Investigation regarding Christianity and individual recantations [at indecipherable temple]”], 20 leaves, large 8vo (305 x 196 ,mm.). Various temples: 1810.

All these documents are very detailed with individual names and families listed. Servants are also included and occupations are given. These manuscripts can be approached in several ways, making them important resources for the study of Japan. Males whose ancestors had been Christian were suspect and investigated for at least six generations and females for four generations. The bodies of Christians were required to be cremated, not buried.

In excellent condition.

Price: $9,500.00

Item ID: 6416

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