By Theodore Shoebat
The Catholic Church in Japan will be beatifying a Samurai warrior named Takayama Ukon who left the degenerate pagan religion of his country and became Catholic Christian. Ukon was a great warrior for the Faith, and fought against the pagans of Japan in valiant Holy War. As we read in one report on this story:
A Japanese samurai who gave up his status to follow Jesus will be beatified in a ceremony in Japan on 7 February.
The ceremony for the beatification of Justo Takayama Ukon (1552-1615), known as the “Samurai of Christ”, will take place in Osaka, Agenzia Fides reported.Pope Francis signed a decree for his beatification in January last year and the Japanese have been preparing for the event since then.
Born into a family of landowners, Ukon converted to Christianity at the age of 12 after coming into contact with Jesuit missionaries.
When shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi took power and banned the practice of Christianity, Ukon refused to follow the great feudal lords. As a result, he lost his properties, his position and his social status and was eventually forced into exile.
With 300 other Japanese Christians he fled to Manila where, just 40 days after his arrival, he fell ill and died on 4th February, 1615.
The ceremony for Ukon will be presided over by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and broadcast on live television in Japan.
The Japanese faithful proclaimed Ukon’s sanctity in the seventeenth century, but the isolationist policy of the country prevented the canonical investigators to collect evidence in order to certify his holiness, Ahenzia Fides said.
The Japanese bishops took up the cause in 1965.
Takayama Ukon, Japanese Samurai who used his army to advance and protect the Catholic Faith in Japan. What a holy and valorous man who is worthy of the emulation of all Christians whose hearts are on fire to fight for the Faith. I have written on the Catholic Samurai warriors in my most recent book, Christianity is Warfare, which you can purchase by clicking here. For this post, I will present the section from the book here:
This spirit of the Christian warrior was fully exemplified by some of the most unheard of, obscured and ignored warriors in history: the Christian Samurai, the Samurai that the world has forgotten.
These were Samurai who picked up their cross but never dropped their swords. They picked up the cross to partake in the cosmic battle against the forces of evil.
Christianity first came to Japan in 1549, when St. Francis Xavier arrived at the shores of Kagoshima. With the spreading of the Gospel came converts, and amongst these converts would be many warriors.
What is quite amazing is that even though these Samurai became Christian, they never rejected their warrior prowess, but instead used it for a different objective: the advancement of Christianity.
The reason for this is that the missionaries who introduced to them the Faith were Catholics who held onto to the same theology as the crusaders, the warriors of God who with the sword fought for God and the Divine Law against Muslims and pagans.
The theology of Holy War is deep within the Orthodox Christian Faith, and as it was zealously maintained amongst the crusaders, it would come to the Samurai, a people most enthusiastic to battle and who would have never rejected sacred combat.
They did not accept compromise with the false religions of Japan, but honored the words of the scribe when he told Christ: “there is one God, and there is no other but He.” (Mark 12:32) They maintained the exclusivity of the Christian spirit, and because of this, sparked a civil war within Japan between the Christians and the Buddhists, carrying out what Christ once declared:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)
With their zeal for Christ, they divided themselves from the heathens, and with their own swords did they advance the sword of Christ. They rejected the Buddha, and forever dedicated their bodies and their souls to fighting for Christ and His holy Law.
In 1567, an anonymous Christian Samurai executed one of the greatest acts of holy war in Christian history: he burned down the emperor Shomu’s Buddhist Todaiji temple in Nara, where a disgusting idol of the Buddha sat.
In 1578, the Samurai leader Otomo Sorin converted to Christianity and received baptism. Like the righteous kings of Christendom, he declared that his subjects ”would all have to become Christians and live with each other in brotherly love and concord.”
To fulfill this noble goal, he enacted a policy of Christian unity for his people, and so ordered that the false religions of Japan — Shintoism and Buddhism — would be outlawed in his lands, and ordered that their temples be destroyed and their idols shattered.
Antonio Koteda, another Christian Samurai who was of the land of Ikisuki, is said to have ”had no greater pleasure in the world than to see them pull down idols out of the temples and houses, and burn them and throw them in to the sea.”
Another Christian Samurai, Omura Sumitada, was a lord who also partook in the destruction of pagan idols in Japan.
According to Luis Frois, a Catholic missionary who evangelized in Japan at this time period:
“As Dom Barthlomeo had gone off to the wars, it so happened that he passed on the way of the idol called Marishiten, which is their god of battles. When they pass it, they bow and pay reverence to it, and the pagans who are on horseback dismount as a sign of respect. Now the idol had above it a cockerel. As the tono [lord, Omura Sumitada] came there with his squadron he had his men stopped and ordered them to take the idol and burn it together with the whole temple; and he took the cockerel and gave it a blow with the sword, saying to it, “Oh, how many times have you betrayed me!” And after everything had been burnt down, he had a very beautiful cross erected on the same spot, and after he and his men had paid very deep reverence to it, they continued on their ways to the wars.”
There was one Christian Samurai named Hosokawa Akiuji, who himself destroyed several pagan temples by setting them on fire. (All of this information on Christian samurai can be found in Stephen Turnbull, The Samurai and the Sacred, pp. 91-96)
Let us never forget these Samurai. The world wants us to solely focus on the pagan Samurai, but never the ones who realized the errors of their people, and fought to destroy paganism.
It is of every Christian to hate all that is against God. Solomon said,”The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13), and David beautifully wrote:
“Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord; am I not disgusted with your enemies?” (Psalm 139:21)
David also wrote: “Be angry, and do not sin.” (Psalm 4:4) What this means is that when we hate evil, we prevent ourselves from falling into sin. It is when we make humor out of evil, when we laugh at it and see it as just a choice or a silly thing that we fall into the very vice that we make fun of. “To do evil is like sport to a fool,” wrote the wise Solomon,”But a man of understanding has wisdom.” (Proverbs 10:23)
Never once in the Gospels do we ever read of Christ having fun. He never smiles nor laughs; He weeps and bitterly cries; His body drips with blood; He goes to war and into combat; He is a warrior and a monastic. It is in the somber presence of His Passion where we receive our strength and the zeal to pick up a whip and drive the thieves from His Church. As St. Catherine of Sienna once beautifully wrote:
“Let our hearts, our minds, and desires be lifted up with this Company of Bitterness, and let us go to the Temple of our soul, and there we shall know ourselves. Then the soul, recognizing itself not to be, will recognize the goodness of God towards it, who is He who is. Then the will shall be uplifted with zeal, and shall love what God loves and hates what God hates.” (Catherine of Siena, letter to Monna Colomba of Lucca)
Who then will enter into the somber presence of the Christian spirit, where earthly desires are cast aside, where the fires of the passions are extinguished, where the sword of Christ declares war against the hordes of the devil, and where the armies of God are always vigilant and preparing for holy combat and martyrdom?
Who but the Christian is the warrior superior to all warriors?