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Influence Of The Jesuits During The Sengoku Period

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Jesuit influence during the Sengoku Period During the mid-15th century, Japan entered one of its bloodiest civil wars in its history. It was a time of social upheaval combined with political uprising due to constant military conquest. This drastic phase in Japan’s history is known as the Sengoku Period or Japan’s Warring State era. During the Sengoku Period, Japan also entered the international stage through European countries. Nations such as Portugal and Spain came to Japan in the 1540sbrought their merchants with European goods to the mostly Buddhist nation. These trading merchants also eventually brought the Jesuits, missionaries of the Catholic Church. The Jesuits saw a great opportunity to spread their faith in Japan due to the…show more content…
Thus, Xavier developed three different methods to help spread his Catholic faith. The three methods were speaking to selected Japanese, the use of the Japanese language, and discipleship. Obviously, the first method involved direct communication with the daimyōs. Xavier’s goal was to educate the elites and hope that they would realize Catholicism was superior and see the shortcomings of their religion. In doing so, the daimyō’s followers would be easily swayed to join the Catholic Church. However, many of the Buddhist and Shinto clergy members were hesitant to denounce their faith. Instead, they often questioned and challenged Xavier, and in his letters recount his interaction with one of the clergy members “I have found him hesitant and unable to decide if our soul is immortal.” So Xavier quickly turned to his second method, using the Japanese language. Anjirō came with Xavier back to Japan, as he would help Xavier learn the most basic Japanese so he could recite the Bible. Although Xavier’s exposure to the language was brief, he was described as “[preaching] without an interpreter partly in Spanish, partly in Latin, partly in Portuguese, with a few Japanese words intermingled, and was understood by all as if he had spoken in the native language of each.” This allowed Xavier to express the most important doctrine within the Catholic faith, the Ten Commandments. In addition to having
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