Talk:Shimabara Rebellion

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Former good articleShimabara Rebellion was one of the Warfare good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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August 22, 2008Peer reviewReviewed
October 5, 2008Good article nomineeListed
May 25, 2015Good article reassessmentDelisted
Current status: Delisted good article


I have a question. Which chronology is right? I 've found this:

Oct. 24 Amakusa/Shimabara peasants' representatives convene a secret meeting on Yushima island (in modern Oyano Town); Amakusa Shiro is elected leader.

Oct. 25 Forceful uprising begins in Shimabara

Oct. 27 Forceful uprising begins in Amakusa

Dec.5 Amakusa-Shimabara forces link up and occupy Harajo castle on the Shimabara peninsula

Dec. 20 40,000 men of the Shogunte army attack Harajo area and are beaten back

Jan. 1 Shogunate army again fails in an assault on the castle. Their Supreme Commander Shigemasa Itakura is killed in the battle

Jan. 4 Nobutsuna Matsudaira assumes command of the Shogunate forces

Jan. 13 Dutch ships commence firing on the castle

Feb. 27 Shogunate forces again lay siege to the castle

Feb. 28 Harajo falls to Shogunate forces

Picture Accurate?[edit]

There is a picture of beheaded jizos. Is this statue-beheading really from the rebellion in question? There are beheaded buddhist statues all over the Japan from the Meiji period when there was considerable anti-Buddhist vandalism and violence (in the name of Shinto and the splitting of Shinto and Buddhism)...what is the source of this?


These may be the jizo statues located in one of the main temples of Shimabara City, which is where the sacking of the temples occurred in the riot shortly before the rebellion, as I understand it. However, historians have rightly pointed out that there were many periods of presecution of Buddhism in the area, which frequently led to the beheading of jizo. Beheaded jizo are scattered throughout the area, but many of them were not beheaded by Christians. So there is good reason to question this photo as long as its origin is not known.

On Chronologies[edit]

The chronology you have listed above is how the Japanese would write it according to the old calendar, which is about two months off from the modern one. April 11th is the actual date of the fall of Hara Castle according to the modern Gregorian calendar. The same day was the 28th day of the 2nd month according to the Japanese calendar of the time. Very often when the chronologies are translated straight from the Japanese the dates are not adjusted, which is terribly confusing to non-Japanese!


Based on this article in the NYTimes: The Jesuits were not really supporting the rebellion. So I have put a citation needed there Londenp 10:21, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps Prof. Neil Waters can come and fix up the article in the spirit of collaboration etc. - Tragic Baboon (banana receptacle) 12:04, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
He doesn't have to. He can still criticize and not contribute. --Jerome Potts 19:15, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
  • The Story seems to make its way around the globe.One of Germany's leading online magazins is featuring it as well (German). --Nemissimo II 12:31, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

The offending sentence from the article was (now deleted):

..the rebels themselves were backed by the foreign power of the Jesuits and the Roman Catholic Church.

which is in fact accurate, but ambiguous. The students at Middlebury took it to mean physical backing (troops, supplies, money, etc..) which is wrong - when the original author (I assume) meant it to mean the Jesuit's were "rooting" for the rebels to win (obviously). Just a case of poor writing on Wikipedia, but the facts were not wrong. With that said I support Prof. Neil Waters in not allowing Wikipedia, or any encyclopedia, to be cited by history students - professional historians don't cite encyclopedias. -- Stbalbach 05:19, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Exceedingly poorly worded. "Backed by" implies something much stronger than moral support; and even if read as Stbalbach would read it, is fatally unambiguous and unsourced. (No, it isn't obvious that the Jesuits would be in favor of it; the result was in fact disastrous for Christianity in Japan, and they may have foreseen the consequences of defeat.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:05, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
How is the removed sentence accurate if what you say is correct? The sentence asserts that the rebels were backed by the foreign power of the Jesuits. If the students at Middlebury took that to mean physical backing rather than "rooting for,", they have successfully mastered logical implications and the English language. There's no plausible argument that foreign power means "rooting for," rather than using actual power. What is power? 06:20, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
That is a good point. I didn't write it originally, and can only speculate on what the original author intended to mean - since we know it was poorly worded to begin with, we can't assume they used the word "power" correctly either (literally or analogous). I supposed we could look through the archives and track down who wrote it and try and find out. -- Stbalbach 15:17, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Professional historians don't cite general encyclopedias because you cannot plagiarize "common knowledge" -- which most authorities define as information you could find in a general encyclopedia. As long as you aren't quoting verbatim, you don't have to cite general encyclopedias. However, the question of whether Wikipedia is a bona-fide "general encyclopedia" is up for debate, both because its content isn't traditionally vetted, and because it covers some topics in much greater detail than a normal encyclopedia would. There is, therefore, no compelling reason why a ban on citing general encyclopedias should apply to Wikipedia as well. Solemnavalanche 23:07, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

I find it difficult to understand why a professional who makes his living by disseminating his knowledge would want put his effort to edit at a place like here. Everything you put in here become GFDL. You can't even quote it as your own work once you do that. That's fine for amateurs, but what incentive does the professional have for such a "collaboration"?-- 05:24, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

See Professional amateur for a good explanation of the phenomenon behind Wikipedia, and the relationship between amateurs and professionals. Also recommend this excellent article on how amateurs and professionals (historians) can collaborate and benefit all. -- Stbalbach 15:17, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
The Professional amateur article doesn't seem relevant here. It's about hobbyists (albeit ones doing high-quality work); User: was talking about professionals. 18:42, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
User:Stbalbach was talking about professional amateurs, not professionals, as being the phenomenon behind Wikipedia. -- Stbalbach 21:41, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
One incentive for a professional is that he or she can (and should!) cite his or her own published work in the article. 16:05, 24 February 2007 (UTC)Mike
That is against Wikipedia policy, it is considered self promotion. If your looking for a monetary incentive than Wikipedia is not the place. Articles written on Wikipedia get more exposure and readers than most published books because of the Google search factor. If you write a really good quality article it will in time reward you indirectly in any number of ways. -- Stbalbach 16:13, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
One should be careful when citing one's own work (and expect to have the contribution vetted) but it would be absurd to prevent experts from contributing from their own work. --17:04, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Interesting! So, if I'm understanding this correctly, Wikipedia policy would prohibit, let say, Noam Chomsky from adding to an article on Linguistics and citing one of his own peer-reviewed publications? That's much more stringent than scientific journals where authors frequently reference their prior work. No wonder it's hard to get professionals to contribute. 17:16, 24 February 2007 (UTC) Mike
This isn't the policy at all. From the conflict of interest guidelines:
You may cite your own publications just as you'd cite anyone else's, but make sure your material is relevant and that you're regarded as a reliable source for the purposes of Wikipedia. Be cautious about excessive citation of your own work, which may be seen as promotional or a conflict of interest. When in doubt, discuss on the talk page whether or not your citation is an appropriate one, and defer to the community's opinion.
Cmprince 19:17, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Sorry my mis-understanding, thanks for the correction. -- Stbalbach 20:17, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm a professional (not on Japan) and I work on Wikipedia because I like to correct other people – oops, scratch that; because I like to publicize worthwhile ideas. And correct people. And it's fun to explain things. People have all kinds of incentives besides self-aggrandizement. – Zaslav 09:50, 25 February 2007 (UTC)


"And yes, back at Wikipedia, the Jesuits are still credited as supporting the Shimabara Rebellion."

Why hasn't it been changed? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:22, 23 February 2007 (UTC).

Please quote from the article any concerns you have. -- Stbalbach 15:34, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Or to be clearer; it was changed almost as soon as the NYTimes article was published; we didn't catch it before that (which is what the Times means). One editor reverted, once, and was counter-reverted. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:29, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

You aren't finished yet. What kind of a nonsense sentence is this, in the first paragraph overall??

"Both areas had been under heavy Jesuit missionary activity during the previous Christian daimyo Konishi Yukinaga."

This is illiterate, and does nothing to clarify what Jesuit involvement may have been. How many Jesuits were even there? Mr. So 21:15, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

"We need to edit the new york times."

Why, because the NYT is wrong? No, sorry, Wikipedia is wrong and undoubtedly will be again - when one of the numbnuts students who uses it as a source (despite the clear indications that that it should not be used as such) decides to "correct" this entry. Ianbetteridge 22:41, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, the NYT is often wrong, thats why they have a 'corrections' department

Thought I would simply add that the NYT article and the phenomena of Wikipedia itself, call into question the concept of truth and knowledge. On the whole, it seems we are in the midst of a movement that is altering the way people seek truth and by doing so, we alter the truth itself. The idea of a collaborative internet Encyclopedia creates additional levels of responsibility and moral choice that do not exist with simply bound book encyclopedias. It is incredible, but always requires close attention.

For the person that wrote the paragraph directly above this one- I would have to disagree with your assertion that "Thought I would simply add that the NYT article and the phenomena of Wikipedia itself, call into question the concept of truth and knowledge." The people criticizing Wikipedia, for the most part, say it is inaccurate in its facts not in its portrayal of reality, or truth. There is only one truth, yet many ways of looking at it. Incorrectly citing historical facts, is not truth- it is just plain false.

We need to edit the new york times.

Here is the article in question: Given how clearly it shows a fault in this article, as well as highlighting the good and bad of wikipedia's nature, this entire article should be sourced. Rapidly. ThuranX 01:11, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

wow. That's fast. I just read the article on NYT and it's already been mentioned here __earth (Talk) 03:27, 25 February 2007 (UTC)


Re: this NYT article

It is not clear that the Wikipedia article was incorrect. In all likelihood not only were "foreign" Jesuits present, there were Japanese converts ordained as Jesuit priests or in lay roles. For example, "In Japan, confrarias [communities] were established shortly after the Jesuits arrived; in the long years of persecution and isolation they functioned as underground cells of Japanese Christians, sustaining their faith, while their leaders acted as lay pastors …"[

Jesuits functioned in secular roles. "…the Society of Jesus would prove to be the main protagonists in ensuring the continuance of Portuguese interests in Japan. This was achieved both by means of their role in overseeing the commerce between Macau and Nagasaki, as well as by the fact that they were an indispensable element in the integration of Japan into the Portuguese Padroado in the East."

The Jesuit secular roles included technology transfer in fields such as printing and, notably, artillery. "…the Jesuits introduced …Western Style Artillery in the 1580’s. Projectile incendiary mortar shells rendered all previously constructed Japanese military fortifications obsolete.


The Shimabara Rebellion was the last major event in the rise and fall of Christianity in medieval Japan. Any Jesuits alive in Japan at the time of the last major rebellion almost certainly were with their flock and supported them with whatever resources they could. Whether Jesuits (or lay participants) smuggled in weapons or other materials from Macau during the months of the rebellion itself as opposed to long before is an open question, but clearly they had brought in weaponry and other material of war. Whether Jesuits were present in sufficient numbers and did enough to justify the statement that the rebels were "backed by the foreign power of the Jesuits and the Roman Catholic Church" depends on interpretation and is far from being an egregious error. The students at Middlebury perhaps deserve a recount. Fultonwilcox 15:48, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Changes posted without sources[edit]

Hello! I've made a lot of changes to the page today. Sources are forthcoming. In the meantime, if you feel compelled to revert, please make sure to bring it up for discussion first.

The Kakure Christians, incidentally, are a totally separate sect that spun off of the original underground Christians. They were so isolated from the other Christian communities and became so esoteric in their practices that they evolved into a different religion from what they started with. They were mostly located several hours north of the Shimabara area. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yazuzazu (talkcontribs) 04:45, 16 September 2007

Reworking in progress[edit]

Just thought I'd post here and indicate that I am presently in the process of translating content from the Japanese article on the rebellion, and also inserting sources where possible. This article really needs to be seriously reworked, and I'd like to do my part. -Tadakuni 02:03, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm almost done reworking the article. Anyone care to give it a preliminary review? -Tadakuni 03:25, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Shimabara vs. Shimbara[edit]

I have seen just about everywhere that Shimbara Rebellion and Shimabara Rebellion are used as synonyms in both 'historical' sites and commercial ones and was wondering if either spelling is correct or if one is preferred over the other...if both are correct, perhaps it would be helpful to add "(also Shimbara)" to clear things up. Katlover86 (talk) 04:49, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

There's no such thing as a "Shimbara Rebellion." The Japanese kana syllabary system spells the name of the place out as shi-ma-ba-ra. There is no kana for "m". However, sometimes you might see m's where they don't belong, but because it makes it easier to pronounce in English (I guess), for example Tanba is sometimes written as "Tamba" in English, even though this is incorrect and in Japanese it is spelled Ta-n-ba. If this was the case, the "Shimbara" you mention would have to be "Shinbara," and there's no such thing as the Shinbara Rebellion. I chalk it up to misspelling, is all. -Tadakuni (talk) 20:45, 14 August 2008 (UTC)


The infobox states "1900 killed, 11000 wounded" for the shogunate. Both numbers appear to be unsourced, and Shimabara Rebellion#Final push and fall mentions over 2000 killed on February 3, 1638 alone. My suspicion would be that the infobox is wrong, but I don't have a source to use in updating it. 16:59, 24 October 2016 (UTC)