Talk:Martyrs of Japan

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Christian daimyo, Portuguese and slave trading of Japanese women[edit]

Warnings [citation needed] and [dubious ] have been appended to the sentence ...

"A situation inflamed by their discovery that the Christian daimyo and Portuguese were engaging in the slave trading of Japanese women."

... in the section Christianity in Japan of the main article.

Miguel de Servet (talk) 02:51, 1 December 2008 (UTC) I removed the part about 500,000 women being sold into slave trade. The population of Edo at the time was only 1 million, and the next biggest centers (Osaka and Kyoto) were about 400,000. On top of that, the main armorers, such as Katsu and Ryoma had nothing do do with salve trade and everything to do with the navy.

I agree with this assessment. I have been searching all over the place, looking for something to substantiate this with, as I am interested in Japanese history and would greatly desire knowledge of any Portuguese-Japanese slave trade. It does seem that there were slaves being traded; however, not in the manner described here, and not in numbers this great. I have not been able to find any external substantiation of either the 500,000 figure, or of the practice of Japanese women being traded for gunpowder, or of Christian daimyo facilitating this trade. There seem to be two sources (and only two!) that are quoted to this effect. First off, the reference often cited contains the following quote:
"Japan would exchange a barrel of gunpowder for fifty slaves. (In this case it would be specified as white-skinned (light skinned) good–looking (pleasing to the eyes) young Japanese women/maidens) In the name of God, if Japan can be occupied/possessed I am sure the price can be increased."
Via Google, this is variously said to be a letter from the King of Portugal to the Pope. No further context is given nor parenthetical notations explained. Here are the sources cited for this quote:
  1. ^ Onizuka, Hideaki (2006). The Rosary of the Showa Emperor. Bainbridgebooks/Trans-Atlantic Publications. pp. 225. ISBN 4-88086-200-2. "Japan would exchange a barrel of gunpowder for fifty slaves. (In this case it would be specified as white-skinned (light skinned) good–looking (pleasing to the eyes) young Japanese women/maidens) In the name of God, if Japan can be occupied/possessed I am sure the price can be increased."
A quick Google reveals that it is very likely this quote was taken from a website that had already cited it. It is possible the original contributor to Wikipedia did not actually have access to the book in question, but simply copied and pasted the citation from the website: http://pavc.ne.jp/~ryu/english/articles/morisita_FEB.html
This book is actually in Japanese. The original title is: 天皇のロザリオ 上巻 日本キリスト教国化の策謀 by 鬼塚 英昭
From searching in Japanese Wikipedia, I could only find two citations from this book, one in an article about the author, the other in an article about Francis Xavier. Neither of these citations had any mention of slavery.
Furthermore, I have seen some search results that lead me to believe this book is some sort of Japanese analogue of the Da Vinci Code, seeking to create the idea of a Christian conspiracy to control Japan - e.g. interesting reading, but not necessarily to be taken seriously? Perhaps someone who is familiar with this book could enlighten us?
  1. Tokutomi, Soho (1998). History of Modern Japanese People: The Toyotomi Era. Bainbridgebooks/Trans-Atlantic Publications. pp. 337-387. ISBN 1-8916-960-5X.
In some Google searches, this showed up as either a source cited by Rosary of the Showa Emperor, or an alternative source for the above quote, word for word. I have been unable to find this source anywhere either by ISBN or by title.
It seems that the English wording we have here was originally translated from the Rosary of the Showa Emperor, which itself was citing the Tokutomi Soho work. It is not good practice to use intermediary sources and then cite the quotation of the original as though it were a direct reference instead of acknowledging where it was quoted. More so when the intermediary source is the one that has been translated from Japanese! Joren (talk) 17:47, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
In short, I am rather skeptical of these claims and the two sources in question. I tried to find substantiation, and could not. Hence, I am going to "be bold" and remove the claim. Please feel free to reinstate it if you are able to find reliable sources that support this claim. On another note, I would be very interested in learning about the Japanese-Portuguese slave trade, and the religious context thereof; if anyone can point me in the right direction, I'd be much obliged. In the future I may be inspired to contribute sources to this article if I can find some useful ones. Thanks, Joren (talk) 08:07, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Furthermore, I also have not found evidence of Hideyoshi's decision-making process having been influenced by the existence of slave trading, although it is entirely plausible and easy to believe that it could be true. It is true that Hideyoshi abolished slavery, although not comprehensively.Joren (talk) 08:12, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
The Slavery in Japan article had the following (somewhat uncyclopedic/OR) quote along with the reference, which illustrates the dubious nature of this claim rather well:
Nevertheless, despite obvious flaws of such claims (e.g. shipping 500,000 people in 40 years would make an average of 1000 people per month - a sheer impossibility, taking into account the relatively small number and capacity of European ships coming to Japan at the time. By comparison, the whole Spanish Armada mobilized for the invasion of England in 1589 consisted of 22 warships of the Spanish Royal Navy and 108 converted merchant vessels.'
Joren (talk) 08:26, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Follow-up - in every single case, this reference was added by a Wikipedia user Lucyintheskywithdada, apparently banned for sockpuppetry. Of course just because the user is banned doesn't mean that everything they contributed is wrong - however, I felt it was relevant to note that there was a single user behind this citation in multiple articles, who may have had a POV motivation. Sample diff Joren (talk) 17:32, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Tensho Embassy[edit]

Hmm...I dredged up on Google that the quote is said to have come from notes kept by the Tensho Embassy, a group of converts that journeyed to Europe from Japan. I Googled all over the place and was able to find no other indication anywhere that the Tenshō Embassy had anything to say about Japanese slaves coming to Europe... Anyhow, the notes kept by the Tensho Embassy are available in a manuscript called "De Missione Legatorum Iaponensium ad Romanam Curiam, Rebusque in Europa." If anyone wishes to look through the notes for any mention of slavery, that'd be the place to start. At first blush, I can't find any translations... :(

Joren (talk) 08:35, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

The Great Martyrdom of Nagasaki (1622)[edit]

This very long section is entirely based on a first-party source - the cited article in the Catholic Historical Review entirely depends on a pamphlet summarizing the letters of Jesuits and survivors of the persecution. There has been a "needs additional citations for verification" tag on the section for almost two years. I don't doubt much of the information is accurate, and probably impossible to obtain in other sources. However, it reads as decidely one-sided in the account, highlighting examples of particular faith and zeal among the martyred. Perhaps there wasn't a single person who recanted (and avoided martyrdom), perhaps the martyrs all either remained silent or "rejoiced for being able to die for Christ", but it doesn't seem appropriate to accept this version with no independent collaboration. Certainly it runs contrary to WP:THIRDPARTY.

This section is also far more detailed and lengthy than the other sections, but does not appear to be greater in importance.

I'm inclined to drastically cut this section back into a bland summary, or at least to try to render the tone more neutral, but I invite comments or suggestions first. I dislike removing material sourced by possibly the only possible source, however first-party it may be. I do note, also, that the earlier editors made some improvements on the cited material in terms of neutrality: the Dutch "reported to the Japanese" that Catholic priests were onboard, rather than "betrayed the fact", for example. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Grothmag (talkcontribs) 19:19, 9 November 2013 (UTC)