An Account Of The Persecutions In Japan

Christianity was first introduced into the idolatrous empire of Japan by

some Portuguese missionaries in the year of our Lord 1552, and their

endeavours in making converts to the light of the gospel met with a

degree of success equal to their most sanguine wishes.

This continued till the year 1616, when the missionaries being accused

of having concerned themselves in politics, and formed a plan to subvert

the government, and dethrone the emperor, great jealousies subsisted

till 1622, when the court ordered a dreadful persecution to commence

against both foreign and native christians. Such was the rage of this

persecution, that, during the first four years, no less than 20,570

christians were massacred. The public profession of christianity was

prohibited under pain of death, and the churches were shut up by an

express edict.

Many who were informed against, as privately professing christianity,

suffered martyrdom with great heroism. The persecution continued many

years, when the remnant of the innumerable christians, with which Japan

abounded, to the number of 37,000 souls, retired to the town and castle

of Siniabara, in the island of Xinio, where they determined to make a

stand, to continue in their faith, and to defend themselves to the very

last extremity.

The Japanese army pursued the christians, and laid siege to the place.

The christians defended themselves with great bravery, and held out

against the besiegers for the space of three months, but were at length

compelled to surrender, when men, women and children, were

indiscriminately murdered; and christianity, in their martyrdoms,

entirely extirpated from Japan.

This event took place on the 12th of April, 1638, since which period no

christians but the Dutch are allowed to land in the empire, and even

they are obliged to conduct themselves with the greatest precaution, and

to carry on their commerce with the utmost circumspection.