Veils for Sale

28 11 2008

Also called a mantilla I never saw a woman wear one until I came to Japan.  In Tokyo only some women wear them but as you can see in the last post about the 18 martyrs beatification the closer to Nagasaki you get the more veils become common.   Then today while looking at an online Catholic store to see what they had for Christmas I looked at some of the other categories and came across the page selling mantillas.  So if you are curious how much such a thing costs and the variety they sell then take a look.

Most of them are made in Japan and several of the more expensive & fancy ones are made in France.  If you would like to buy one in person, not online, many churches have a small religious store located on or near the property that sells them.


188 Martyrs Beatification News Roundup

26 11 2008


photo from Kyushu Yomiuri


photo from Yomiuri online

Well the Prime Minister was in Peru on the day of the beatification so the question of him attending was avoided completely.  The national news on NHK at 7pm on Monday did have a quick mention of the events in Nagasaki on their news in brief segment.  That was the only tv news coverage I found of the beatification.  Other news shows may have mentioned the mass but I didn’t see anything more.

Online Japanese news sites did have coverage such as this article this article (with pics)  this article (with pics)  this article (with video)  and so on.

Online English sites had this article this article and this article Comparing the English and Japanese media it seems , as far as I can find on google, no mainstream English news sites covered the beatification while mainstream Japanese news sites did.

Someone who attended the mass already has a short video up on youtube.

188 martyrs ‘show the way for those who believe,’ Japanese bishops say

22 11 2008

.- In a press release this week the bishops of Japan pointed out that the 188 Japanese martyrs to be beatified “are not political militants, they did not fight against a regime that hindered religious freedom: they were men and women of profound and authentic faith, who show the way for those who believe. Their experience is an opportunity for reflection for us all.”

article here

St. Thérèse Relic Makes Space Flight

22 11 2008

NEW CANEY, Texas, NOV. 20, 2008 ( St. Thérèse wrote that she wanted to be a missionary on every continent simultaneously and reach the most remote islands — now her dream has extended to space flight.

The Carmelites gave the astronaut a relic of St. Thérèse for his flight.

Now, they report, she has traveled 5,735,643 miles around the earth for 14 days at 17,057 miles an hour. Meanwhile, the sisters commended the world to her intercession.

article here

I wonder how many other relics of saints have made the trip to space?

Vatican: 188 Japanese martyrs and a Cuban brother to be declared blessed

21 11 2008

.- Pope Benedict XVI has given the go-ahead for the beatification ceremonies of a group of 188 Japanese martyrs and the Cuban Br. Jose Olallo. The Japanese Catholics will be beatified on November 24 in Nagasaki and Br. Ollalo will be declared a Blessed on November 29 in Cuba.

article here

Fr. Kibe was tortured to death by being hung upside down with his head immersed in a pit filled with excrement and animal carcasses.

The beatification ceremony for Fr. Peter Kibe and his187 companions who were killed in Japan between 1603 and 1639, will take place at midday on Monday November 24 in the Nagasaki’s Big N Stadium.

I will be keeping an eye on the Japanese news to see what kind of coverage they give to this story, if any at all.


188 Martyrs News Video

21 11 2008

Japan revisits dark chapter in Christianity’s past

19 11 2008

article here

I will start with the title of the article.  It would be more accurate to say Japan revisiting dark chapter in Japan’s past I think.  My impression of the current title is that it gives the image of the Christians having a dark past or of having done something wrong.

The Catholic Church hopes the special ceremony for the Christians killed in the 17th century will generate more interest in the history of a religion that has so far failed to take root in a country dominated by Buddhism and Shinto.

As I feel I often write, or at least think to myself, Christianity has taken root in Japan in the little opportunity it has actually had to grow.  The roots are small yet strong however they are roots and they are there.

“We have a history of religious persecution that has no similar example in Japan nor in the world,” said Father Isao John Hashimoto of Nagasaki’s Catholic Centre, which is organising the event on November 24.

It is strange for this priest to say that the persecution of Christians in Japan is unique in the world as though Japan was the only country to ever treat Christians as they did.   

As many as 30,000 Christians are believed to have been martyred since the religion was banned by the government shortly after it was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese Jesuit priest Francis Xavier in 1549.

Yeah it is rather hard for a religion to stand a chance when so many followers are killed and then the country is basically isolated.  I wold like to point a finger at Buddhism and Shinto for not doing anything to stop the killing of the Christians as far as I know.  If Buddhism is a religion that respects all life so much, even a worm, then why didn’t they do more to stop the killing?  If anyone knows more about this, in particular the Buddhist and Shinto reaction to the killing of Christians at the time, I would really like to know. 

No government officials have been invited to the beatification — a public act of blessing martyrs who suffered persecution for their faith — not even Prime Minister Taro Aso, Japan’s first Christian leader.

I don’t know why Prime Minister Asowas not invited although he could still attend as a private citizen perhaps.   For a more in depth definition of blessed see this page.

Although the history of Christian persecution is not entirely unknown in Japan — helped by Shusaku Endo’s prize-winning novel “Silence” — public awareness remains relatively low, historians said.

Which historians said that?  I would like to see a survey or some kind of statistic other than a simple historians said that public awareness is low.  I know people can at least recognize a picture of St Francis Xavier as a painting of him or his name are fairly common questions on quiz shows I watch. 

Today there are an estimated one to two million Christians in Japan, including about half a million Catholics.

If you dig around on the Japanese Bishops’ site you can find stats that there are actually around half a million Japanese Catholics and half a million foreign ones.

“Interest is growing not so much among Catholics but more among others who like history and want to know more,” said local tourist official Toshikazu Yokoura.

Well I am one Catholic who is interested in history but who has yet to actually go to Nagasaki.  It is nice that non Christians have taken an interest in the Catholic history of the area  and maybe they will think of the religion as being a bit less foreign too. 

In a symbolic gesture of peace, the ceremony will take place beneath the spot where a US atomic bomb was dropped on August 9, 1945, killing 80,000 people.

I will have to do some research on this but I read that the beatification mass was being held in a stadium, not at the bomb memorial site.