- Historical event:
- 27 July 1549
- Saint Francis Xavier was the first Christian missionary who reached Japan. The local language was a huge barrier in the spread of Christianity, so St. Francis Xavier greatly relied on religious paintings.
The famous Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier reached Japan on this day in 1549.
Namely, he sailed from Lisbon back in 1541 on a long journey towards India with the aim of spreading the Christian faith. He preached in areas of present-day Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, and went even to the Far East.
St. Francis Xavier was the first Christian missionary who reached Japan. It was one of the most remote countries from Europe. In order to describe the time during which St. Francis Xavier arrived in Japan (1549), let us mention that a firearm was used in that country for the first time only the year before. Indeed, the Ottoman Empire was at that time ruled by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
The first Japanese to become a Christian was Anjiro, who later became Francis’s translator in Japan. The Japanese language was a huge barrier in the spread of Christianity, so St. Francis Xavier greatly relied on religious paintings. Approximately 100,000 Japanese people accepted Christianity, and some of them were members of the aristocracy.
However, Christians in Japan were later persecuted and killed, so they started retreating into secrecy. Today, several million Christians live in Japan. It is especially interesting that eight Prime Ministers of Japan were Christians (of which three Roman Catholics and five Protestants).