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Di Chiara was born in Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily. He entered Japan at a time when Christianity was strictly forbidden in an attempt to locate fellow priest Cristóvão Ferreira who had apostatized his Christian faith at the hands of torture by the Japanese authorities in 1633. Di Chiara was also tortured and eventually became an apostate as well. After the Shimabara Rebellion in 1638, he arrived on the island of Oshima and was immediately arrested in June 1643. He later married a Japanese woman, taking the name and samurai status of her late husband, Okamoto San'emon (Japanese: 岡本三右衛門), and lived in Japan until his death in 1685.
Di Chiara died on 24 August 1685 in Edo, at the age of 83.
In popular culture
Di Chiara was the historical basis for the lead character of Sebastião Rodrigues in the novel Silence by Shūsaku Endō. He was portrayed by David Lampson in the 1971 film version and by Andrew Garfield in the 2016 film version.