Shimabara Rebellion

19 03 2009

I`ve only recently learned that the Shimabara Rebellion of 1637 involved Catholics.  I had heard the name before but dismissed it as one of the many civil wars that were popular here, which didn’t interest me,  but now I want to know more.  If anyone knows of reliable sources such as websites and books please comment!  I have never been to that area and so had no idea that the statue of the rebel leader Amakusa Shiro looks like the photo Ive included as I’m not used to seeing warriors depicted wearing a cross.  For a much bigger version see here

200px-statue_of_amakusa_shiro_at_hara_castle


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8 responses

19 03 2009
OneofThem

Well, it’s not always a reliable source, but you could start with the rebellion’s Wikipedia article.

19 03 2009
Benedict

It’s really sad; although from a modern perspective, religious violence is nonsense, I think these Catholic rebels would have been more successful with Spanish help. And now, we have less than 1%; and even that small number is misunderstood, taken advantage of, or outright rejected and opposed because of its rigorous demands.

It makes me wonder what has happened to the souls of those Crusaders who killed in the name of Christ. Did they know any better? Were they sincere? Did it matter at all? I’d feel somewhat sad if those who indeed protected Christians and were otherwise good Christians themselves ended up in Hell because of a movement that became marred by secular politics and greed.

Kingdom of God indeed is not of this Earth. It’s not for those who would silently accept that they are nothing more than animals with no destiny.

On the other hand, Catholic teaching tells us that the Kingdom has two dimensions. The Earthly dimension acts as a herald to the Heavenly dimension. While one is imminent, the other is transcendent. The Shimabara Rebellion was likely concerned about Earthly things like taxes and such.

“Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s; Render to God what is God’s.”

19 03 2009
Aine

http://www.stolaf.edu/depts/asian-studies/projects/kakurekirishitan/shimabara.html

Pictures of the Shimabara Castle with historical information, and pictures of the church.

20 03 2009
jasmine tea

Take a look at this website, about the Amakusa Shiro Memorial Hall. I definitely want to go see it someday!

http://www.keikyo.com/museums/museums/kumamoto/amakusa_shiro/

Another striking thing about it was that he was only about 14 when he led the rebellion. But, as in many cultures back then, responsibility was something people had to accept earlier in life. This kid was no hikikomori.🙂

21 03 2009
anthonyopl

Benedict, I think your comments are left in the utmost of charity and commend you for them. However, I also think that you have been led to believe a false history of the Crusades. Please do not think ill of me for recommending the book “The Crusades” by Hilaire Belloc, a faithful Catholic and prominent, competent historian writing in the early 20th century.

The Crusades were, far from aiming to “wipe out non-Christians”, a desperate attempt to safeguard the lands and livelihood of Christians who had become victims of a ruthless Islamic invasion (particularly in the Holy Land and the Balkans, which have had their Christian heritage obliterated).

22 03 2009
Adam S.

The very violence of this age cannot be understood unless it is viewed through a religious framework. I have read much of the inner history of the 20th Century, as well as darker reflections on the 16th through 19th. None of the conspiracies, marauding, protests, and genocides unless we take into account man’s apostasy towards God (especially as regards sin, sovereignty, and sex) We must understand that sin and guilt have a very unique power, in that they demand of man activism as well as destruction.
I suspect that there were elements of this in the Shimabara Rebellion, just the same. Aristotle said that men support revolutions for reasons of their private lives. Sin is proof positive that misery loves company, and of the presence of God.(the object of sin is to burn, according to St. Paul) The perfections of God’s presence exaggerates either wretchedness or glory. As men deny the presence of God, the nearer he comes. The more tormented they will become until they finally break to one side or the other.
Christianity, even by doing nothing, shatters whatever comes in contact with it. “And whoever shall fall on this stone, shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” This blog does not approach things from a political angle, but I do. And I can tell you that Liberty does not exist outside of Christianity. No other religion is as hostile to the state as Christianity. (In fact, Socialism as an historical phenomenon has no meaning other than the denial of Christianity. )
It is natural that a government should turn on Christians, despite their best efforts to acclimate themselves. The miracle is that it did not happen sooner.
Christians do respond with defensive violence, as in the Crusades. These responses have always been defensive and coming at the end of periods of intense debate. But the way that we will convince people is what it always has been: examples of love. This is what will win over Japan to Christendom, how we may love with honor.
I found a competent link to a tour of the rebellion sites, for those stumbling across these comments. Perhaps it will be of some assistance.

http://www.stolaf.edu/depts/asian-studies/projects/kakurekirishitan/shimabarapics.html

1 04 2009
RonKudo

After extensive research for an epic Novel on the causes of the rebellion as a direct decendant of exiled and persecued Catholics during those dark times. What the “rebels” wanted was to be treated with human dignity and have a due measure of liberty and equality.
In 1637 a brutal, intolerant, military dictatorship had ruled Japan for hundred years. Which the rebels of Shimabara nearly over-through in less that a year. The Shogun at the time gave orders to wipe the rebel warriors of Shimabara and their families or “Clans” from the face of the earth.
The spirit of their democratic struggle lived on in the American Revolution which finnally suceeded in establishing a democracy so far unrivaled in history. If only the Shimabara rebels were able to do the same in 17th century Japan what a different World would exist.
Google the Corea Journal which was a first hand account to glean the truth of the nature of the revolt. By the way, my family still has to this day 17th century matching Samurai Armor of Portuguese design influence wih a faded, prominant gold cross on the front and back. The last armor belonging to a Catholic warrior from a battle long ago that history has nearly forgotten.

9 04 2009
DJ

I believe there is a video about the Catholic myrters (sp) of Japan available on eBay. Proabbly US format, though.

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