Scholarly article on topic 'The Dispersion of Jesuit Books Printed in Japan: Trends in Bibliographical Research and in Intellectual History'

The Dispersion of Jesuit Books Printed in Japan: Trends in Bibliographical Research and in Intellectual History Academic research paper on "Philosophy, ethics and religion"

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Academic research paper on topic "The Dispersion of Jesuit Books Printed in Japan: Trends in Bibliographical Research and in Intellectual History"


The Dispersion of Jesuit Books Printed in Japan: Trends in Bibliographical Research and in Intellectual History

Yoshimi Orii Keio University, Tokyo


This article introduces the recent bibliographical research on Kirishitan-ban, a series of books published by the Jesuit mission press in Japan in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Afterwards, the books were dispersed through political turmoil; some are still to be found scattered across the world. In addition, the study presents a textual comparison of some Kirishitan-ban with their European originals, in order to examine the compilation and translation policies of the Jesuits in Japan. Authors or editors sometimes manipulated or revised important sections, for instance omitting a statement on predestination or adding a discourse on the immortality of the soul, illustrating the Jesuits' strategy of balancing the Japanese and the European-Catholic intellectual climates of their time. Analyzing both the books and their contents will contribute to the study of the globalization of Jesuit intellectual history and library research.


Book history - translation - Kirishitan-ban - accommodation - Christianity in Japan -cultural history - language and mission - Luis de Granada - Alessandro Valignano, S.J. - Joannes Laures


From 1585 to 1620, members of the Society of Jesus travelled to Japan and published many books and tracts with a typographic machine brought with them

© ORII, 2015 | DOI 10.1163/22141332-00202002

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported (CC-BY-NC 4.0) License.

from Europe. These works may not have constituted a centralized Jesuit library as understood today, but they were used like one, kept in a printing house attached to the college (korejiyo) so that the missionaries could use them both for their own studies and to convert natives. Research into these publications, known as Kirishitan-ban} has recently garnered widespread recognition in Japan; in fact, even in high school textbooks the term is employed to refer to one of the first cultural exchanges between Japan and Europe.

Up to the present, scholars have primarily used these early Jesuit publications to study the history of Japanese printing and the Japanese language. A major topic for the former is the question of technological origins, a point vigorously debated by historians. Japanese typography began around the time of the introduction of the Society of Jesus's printing presses, which coincided with the arrival of printing in Japan from Korea.2 As far as historical Japanese linguistics is concerned, Jesuits contributed significantly through the multi-lingual works Vocabulario da lingoa de Iapam (1603-1604), Dictionarium Latino-lusitanicum ac Japonicum (1595), and Racuyoxu, a dictionary of Chinese and Japanese characters (1598).3 These publications are essential linguistic tools for identifying correct historical usage and for reading kanji [adapted Chinese logographic] characters. Recently, however, academics have begun to broaden their uses of these texts. Rather than focus on their significance to the Japanese

1 Kirishitan is the phonetic spelling of the Japanese pronunciation of Cristao, the Portuguese word for Christian. Ban means printing press or typesetting. The period from the time that Francis Xavier, S.J. (1506-1552) landed in Japan in 1549 until King John IV of Portugal (16041656, r. 1640-1646) received the final diplomatic document from the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1650 is known as the Christian Century, a term first coined by Charles Boxer in a book of that title (University of California Press, 1951), and in Japanese the history of this period is called Kirishitan-shi [Christian history]. In addition, the various phenomena that resulted from encounters with western culture during this period are called by such names as Kirishitan-ongaku [Christian music] and Kirishitan-bijutsu [Christian art].

2 For a recent summary of the history of this research, see Dan Koakimoto, "Kokatsujiban no engen o meguru shomondai" [Various Issues Surrounding the Origins of Kokatasuji-ban (Moveable Type)] in Kokusainihongaku [International Japanese Studies] 8 (2010): 221-37; in English, see Peter Kornicki, "Block-Printing in Seventeenth-Century Japan: Evidence from a Newly Discovered Medical Text," in Print Areas: Book History in India, eds. Swapan Chakravorty and Abhijit Gupta (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2004), 227-41.

3 Vocabulario da lingoa de Iapam com a declaragao em Portugues, feito por alguns padres, e irmaos da Companhia de Iesu (Nagasaki: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1603-1604); Ambrosius Calepinus, Dictionarium Latino Lusitanicum ac Japonicum ex Ambrosii Calepini volumine depromtum (Amakusa: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1595); and Racuyoxu: Collectio foliorum disjectorum: Lexicon Sinico-Japonicum et Japonico-Sinicum (Nagasaki: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1598).


language, scholars now regard the Jesuit Japanese books as part of a wider enterprise that accompanied the maritime expansion of the Iberian kingdoms. Research on comparative linguistics in the Spanish and Portuguese empires during the Jesuit missionary period is currently flourishing.4 Other noteworthy developments include the ongoing project to assemble a complete database of the Kirishitan-ban. This in turn has allowed for advances in research on the editorial policies by which texts were selected for translation, as well as on the climate that may have shaped such policies. Based on a philological analysis of several volumes from the Kirishitan-ban tradition, this article will first discuss the production and survival of Kirishitan-ban books before turning to an examination of the methods of compilation and translation employed by the Jesuits in Japan.

Overview of the Kirishitan-ban

For Jesuits based in Asia, printing religious texts onsite was a standard practice. For example, in 1577, Henrique Henriques, S.J. (1520-1600) used a movable-type press to publish a Tamil-language catechism, while stationed on the island of Goa.5 However, unlike the Roman alphabet, which consists of a relatively small set of characters, Japanese has a seemingly infinite number of kanji and hentaigana [cursive or statistically variant kana, or syllabic] characters. Accordingly, the Jesuits anticipated great difficulties in printing Japanese scripts. The first real attempt at printing texts for the Society's missionary work was Alessandro Valignano, S.J. (1539-1606), who arrived in Japan in 1579 as the order's visitor. Initially, Valignano planned to use only a Latin-alphabet typeset.6 He sent a Japanese delegation to Europe (the Tensho embassy, 1582-1590); he asked the scholars and their attendants to learn printing techniques and to purchase a press while there.7 This embassy exceeded Valignano's preliminary

4 A key example is the activities of the International Conference on Missionary Linguistics, founded in 2003, which is chiefly comprised of researchers from Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking Central and South America: [accessed January 4, 2015].

5 Henrique Henriques, Doctrina christam en lingua malavar (Kollam: Collegio do Salvador, 1578).

6 Alessandro Valignano and José Alvarez-Taladriz, Sumario de las cosas deJapón (1583); adiciones del sumario deJapón (1592), vol. 9 (Tokyo: Sophia University, 1954), 151.

7 This embassy has been studied in detail. Recent English-language publications include Derek Massarella, Japanese Travelers in Sixteenth-Century Europe: A Dialogue Concerning the Mission of the Japanese Ambassadors to the Roman Curia (1590), trans. Joseph F. Moran (Farnham, uk: Ashgate, 2012).


expectations. In addition to a printing press, the scholars also acquired metal printing dies of kanji characters and the kana syllabary, which would form the first mold. With this, they produced a book on washi, a Japanese paper made by hand. They presented the volume, the first of its kind, to Valignano in 1587. Valignano, in Cochin at the time, ordered these scholars to print more texts, practicing their techniques on other materials. They rejoined the Tensho embassy in 1590 and in the same year began printing operations in what is now Kazusa, on the southern edge of the Shimabara Peninsula (Nagasaki prefecture).

Meanwhile, trouble was brewing. Also in 1587, the second unifier of Japan, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598, regent 1585-1592), promulgated an edict expelling the missionaries. He could not banish them entirely, because they promoted trade with the Portuguese, but he expected them to act only as secular intermediaries. The Jesuits would face grave danger if Hideyoshi discovered their continued religious or educational activities. They decided to heighten the secrecy of their work, relocating the college and the printing operation to the main island of the Amakusa archipelago (now Kumamoto prefecture) in 1591. They believed themselves to be safe there, until 1596, when a Spanish sailor was shipwrecked off the coast of Tosa (now in Kochi prefecture) and had his cargo confiscated. Under questioning, he stated that the Iberian countries were planning to conquer Japan; the missionaries were merely the vanguard. Hideyoshi believed this and hardened his stance considerably, crucifying twenty-six missionaries and Japanese Christians the following year. This hostile climate forced the Jesuits to move once again. As a result of these upheavals, many Kirishitan-ban books were printed without reference to the place of publication. The situation calmed after Hideyoshi's death in 1598, and the missionaries established themselves in the port of Nagasaki, where the press continued to operate until the outbreak of the great persecution in 1614.8

That year, Hidetada Tokugawa (1579-1632), who in 1605 had become the second shogun of Japan, issued an order for the deportation of foreign missionaries at the behest of his father (who in reality continued to wield power).9 This

8 See the introductory page of Johannes Laures, Kirishitan Bunko: A Manual of Books and Documents on the Early Christian Mission in Japan, with Special Reference to the Principal Libraries in Japan and More Particularly to the Collection at Sophia University, Tokyo (Tokyo: Sophia University, 1940, 1941, rev. 1951, and rev. 1956). Electronic edition: [accessed January 4, 2015]. Also see the introductory page of Masayuki Toyoshima, ed., Kirishitan to Shuppan = Cristianismo y edición (Tokyo: Yagi Shoten, 2013), 1-19.

9 Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616) ruled with the title Oogosho, an honorific for a retired former shogun.

action gave greater significance to the "apostolate through books," to use a term familiar to scholars of Chinese Jesuit missions, than the missionaries had anticipated: Japanese versions of European catechisms and sermons became substitutes for live preaching.10 Indeed, Diogo de Mesquita, S.J. (1553-1614), who accompanied the Tensho embassy as mentor for the younger delegates, commented in 1613 on the positive effects of books in territories where priests were prohibited entry. The books became increasingly important after the 1614 expulsion, when missionaries were no longer welcome anywhere.n The situation deteriorated as the bakufu [Tokugawa shogunate] started to grant commercial monopolies to Protestant countries. European Catholics were no longer considered necessary even as cultural emissaries, and in fact were seen as an obstacle to consolidating a centralized feudal system. Consequently, the printing enterprise was unable to continue, the press was taken back to Macau, and the converts were left without support. Publishing was later restarted in the hope of resuming the mission, and in 1620, Joao Rodriguez's Arte breve da lingoa iapoa was published.12 This was the final publication of the original Jesuit printing press in Japan.

The Kirishitan-ban books that remained in Japan were objects of suspicion to the government, which took them to be religious icons. In 1626, Morinobu Mizuno (1577-1637) took up the office of Nagasaki bugyo [magistrate of Nagasaki]. He developed the policy known as efumi, which meant ordering people to step on images of Jesus or Mary in order to expose Christians and their supporters, and which he began to implement around 1628. Efumi spread to every dominion of the bakufu as a part of the shumon aratame [sectarian inspection] plan, especially after the 1637-1638 peasant riot in Shimabara-Amakusa, a region where many identified as Christians. The government considered mere possession of religious items (images, printed books, manuscripts, rosaries, and so on) to be heresy; it was thus only natural in this atmosphere of heightened tension for those suspected of dissent to dispose of questionable

10 A formal "Apostolate of the Press" did not exist until the nineteenth century, but the term has been employed to refer to Jesuit Chinese missions by Ad Dudink and Nicolas Standaert, "Apostolate through Books," in Handbook of Christianity in China: 635-1800, ed. Nicolas Standaert (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 600-31.

11 Diego Pacheco, "Diogo de Mesquita, S.J. and the Jesuit Mission Press," Monumenta Nipponica 26, no. 3/4 (1971), 431-43, here 441-42, and Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (arsi), Jap. Sin. 36, 27v.

12 Joao Rodrigues, Arte breve da lingoa iapoa da arte grande da me lingoa pera os que comegam a aprer os primeiros principios della (Macao: Collegio da Madre de Deos da Companhia de Iesu, 1620).

articles in any way possible.13 What Kirishitan-ban texts remain today thus largely survived by having been sent abroad, prior to or during the persecution. Many of the volumes were sent to the Jesuit curia in Rome, or to nobles who supported the missionary work, or were taken by missionaries or lay believers as they fled Japan. However, some Kirishitan-ban books remained in Japan during the shogunate. For example, in 1652, Masashige Inoue (1582-1662), the first officer of the shumon aratame, showed Olof Eriksson Willman (c.1620-1673), an employee of the Dutch East India Company, a copy of the 1595 Dictionarium Latino-Lusitanicum ac Japonicum}4 Moreover, a few handwritten copies of books remained in Japan, kept by generations of hidden believers; some of these were only rediscovered in the twentieth century.

Efforts to track down all the titles began with the Jesuit Johannes Laures (1891-1959), the creator of a comprehensive bibliography of the Kirishitan-ban, available at the Kirishitan Bunko Library (kbl) at Sophia University in Tokyo. He stated that the existence of thirty-five such books printed during this period was confirmed, and he referred to over seventy more reported (by hearsay) as dispersed around the world.15 According to Mesquita, the number of copies of a single edition was in the range of 1,300-1,500.1® Thus, the survival rate is extremely low, especially considering the fact that some of the books had multiple editions. Because of this history of dispersal, the corpus currently verified in Japan (mostly owned by universities or nonprofit foundations) comprises only nineteen volumes of sixteen separate titles. Owing to their scarcity,

13 For a recent study on the inspection plan at the end of eighteenth century, see Yuko Shimizu, "Uragami Ichiban Kuzure ni okeru Nagasaki Bugyo sho no Kirishitan kyosho rui shushu wo megutte" in Meiji Gakuin Kirisutokyo Kenkyujo Kiyo [Bulletin of the Institute for Christian Studies, Meiji Gakuin University] 46 (2013), 131-60. Shimizu gives the following translation for her title: "Revisiting the Yasokyososho and Christian Self-consciousness Based on the 'Confiscation' of Christian Books during the Urakami Ichiban Kuzure," at

14 Catharina Blomberg, The Journal of Olof Eriksson Willman: From His Voyage to the Dutch East Indies and Japan, 1648-1654 (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 44. See here footnote 3 for bibliographical information on the Dictionarium.

15 Laures, Kirishitan Bunko. When referencing books of the Kirishitan-ban, it is customary to note the category number (1 to 35) in Laures' bibliography. Accordingly, the notation used in this paper will be (Laures no. 1), (Laures no. 2), and so forth.

16 Mesquita reported a printing of 1,300 copies of Contemptus Mundi (Laures no. 32) and 1,500 copies of Confessionarios (Laures no. 19). See Pacheco, "Diogo de Mesquita, S.J.," 441; Toshi Arai, "Kirishitan ban kokujitai no inkou ni tsuite" [On the Japanese Script Versions of the Kirishitan-ban], Biburia tenri toshokan ho [Biblia: Bulletin of the Tenri Central Library] 6 (1957-1959): 44. See also arsi,Jap. Sin. 36, 27v; 13-II, 294'.

Kirishitan-ban books that circulate on the market have come to fetch high prices in Japan.17

On the other hand, the Kirishitan-ban are not particularly prized by Western libraries and bookstores, and are often difficult to identify. Despite the fact that the books use washi, are written in Japanese with a mixture of kanji and kana, and are bound in the traditional Japanese manner, the Kirishitan-ban are often categorized Western texts because they were printed on Western-style presses. An example is Fides no quio or Symbolo dafee (1611)—considered missing since it appeared on the market in 1921—which was identified in 2009 and printed in both a reproduction and a critical edition in 2011.18 In 1921, Ernest Goodrich Stillman (1881-1949) acquired the book at an auction in New York, where it was identified under the heading "First European printing press in Japan," and donated it to Harvard University.19 Stillman's gift was stored in the university's Houghton Library, which specializes in antique Western books. Harvard librarians filed the book as Symbolo da fee, which appears on its title page, rather than the Japanese title on its front cover: scholars searching for it as Hidesu no kyo were unable to trace it. Indeed, it was not easily recognizable even on sight as a Japanese book.20 Thus, the twofold nature of the Kirishitan-ban—they are neither fully European nor fully East Asian texts—has proved an obstacle to bibliographical research. In recent years, however, a more global approach to the study of Kirishitan-ban has advanced in a number of academic fields, which have improved scholars' knowledge of and access to these books.

17 For example, Doctrina Christiam (Laures no. 12) is listed in the twenty-eighth section of Printed Books and Manuscripts onJapan, Catalogue no. 483 (London: Maggs Bros., 1926) for the price of £150. While there is some disagreement as to the current value, this price is almost three times that of Guido Gualtieri's Relationi della venuta degli ambasciatori giaponesi (Rome: Francesco Zannetti, 1586) and Antonio Cardim's Fasciculus e Japponicis floribus, suo adhuc madentibus sanguine (Lisbon: Manoel da Silva, 1650), which are listed in the same section at £52 each. I thank Mr. Masaji Yagi for this information.

18 Luis de Granada (1504-1588), Symbolo dafee. Traduzido em lingoajem japonica por alguns padres e irmaos da nossa companhia (Nagasaki: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1611). A full-color reproduction of the copy with transliteration, English foreword, and Japanese and English introduction is found in Hidesu no kyo: Habado daigaku Hoton toshokan shozo [The Hidesu no kyo of Harvard University's Houghton Library], eds. Yoshimi Orii et al. (Tokyo: Yagi Shoten, 2011). The annotated version is published as Hidesu no kyo, ed. Yoshimi Orii (Tokyo: Kyobunkan, 2011).

19 Japanese Prints and Rare Japanese Books: Kakemono, Makemono, Netsuke, Surimono, etc. (New York: Walpole Galleries, 1921), 9. Italics are mine.

20 See the forward and introduction to the Hidesu no kyo: Habado daigaku Hoton toshokan shozo.

Kirishitan-ban Bibliographies: From Pagès (1859) to Toyoshima (2013)

At first, the Kirishitan-ban were regarded as a holistic publishing enterprise, as opposed to a series of unrelated individual texts, as was the case for twenty-one of the books that were included in the 1859 Bibliographie japonaise ou catalogue des ouvrages relatifs au Japon by Léon Pagès (1810-1887).21 Subsequently, the British diplomat and Japanologist Sir Ernest M. Satow (1843-1929) used data from surveys in Japan and Europe to produce the monograph The Jesuit Mission Press in Japan, 1591-1610, which confirmed the existence of seven of the texts included in Pagès's work and expanded the list by a further seven volumes.22 In a later publication, Satow added two more titles.23 Thus, only sixteen Kirishitan-ban books were positively identified at the beginning of the century, but this number rose to thirty-five when Laures published the first edition of Kirishitan Bunko: A Manual of Books and Documents on the Early Christian Mission in Japan in 1940.24 This was a more comprehensive inventory of the remnants of the Jesuit missions; Laures was not interested only in the Kirishitan-ban or in a mere list of publications. The manual included reference to a wide range of monographs, manuscripts, maps, and other materials related to the Christian mission in Japan from around the world. After Laures's death, the library of Tenri University (Nara prefecture) took on the bulk of the bibliographic research on the Kirishitan-ban and efforts were made to recover the relevant materials from antiquarian bookshops and add them to the library's collection as well as to update the inventory. Today, the electronic version of the manual is a database consisting of about fifteen thousand volumes, including both primary and secondary sources.25

The Laures Kirishitan Bunko Library database is an important resource, but it is incomplete. The most significant revision to date was published in 1973 in the form of a bibliography that included new findings on the scholarship of printing, based largely on the research of Makita Tominaga, director of the Tenri

21 Léon Pagès, Bibliographie japonaise ou catalogue des ouvrages relatifs au Japon (Paris: Benjamin Duprat, 1859).

22 Ernest M. Satow, The Jesuit Mission Press in Japan, 1591-1610 (London: privately printed, 1888).

23 Ernest M. Satow, "The Jesuit Mission Press in Japan," Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan 27 (1900): 1-58 (Reprint Tokyo: Yushodo Booksellers, 1964).

24 Laures, Kirishitan Bunko.

25 Among the texts kept in the library at Sophia University, see Luis de Cerqueira (1552-1614), Manuale ad Sacramenta Ecclesiœ ministranda. D. Ludovici Cerqueira Iaponensis Episcopi opera ad usum sui cleri ordinatum (Nagasaki: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1605).

library.26 In the forty years that followed, no comprehensive studies have confirmed, or presented updates on, the whereabouts of the Kirishitan-ban materials scattered around the world. One important development was the 1985 discovery of the Compendium manualis Navarri (1597) in the University of Santo Tomas in Manila by a group of antique-book dealers from Tokyo.27 This was a Kirishitan-ban title that had not been reported in any of the preceding bibliographies, and it raised the tally of confirmed titles from thirty-five to thirty-six. The book was added to the Laures kbl database in 2004, as was bibliographic information about the discovery. 28 Such individual finds are significant improvements to Laures's work, but more is needed. One continued problem with the database is that the location information on the Kirishitan-ban books identified in Laures's lifetime has not been revised following his death. Laures had searched in places like Manila, where confusion and turmoil would later erupt with the stationing of Japanese troops; thus it is likely that some texts were damaged or entirely lost because of conflict and looting. In addition, some books he included in his publications were held in private collections and can no longer be located as a result of the owners' deaths. Furthermore, because of language and identification issues, there is a possibility that Kirishitan-ban books are miscategorized in public libraries and archives in the West, thus rendering them invisible to the methods employed by Laures and his successors. Meanwhile, the Laures kbl database includes new research and information on annotated editions made available in recent years. In other words, new and old information are mixed together, rather than being comprehensively updated.

In a major step forward, Masayuki Toyoshima published a collection of scholarly papers on the Kirishitan-ban in 2013, including an up-to-date appendix identifying the collections in which these books are held.29 Toyoshima employed a different counting mdethod in an attempt to be as complete as possible. He tallied fragments separately, rather than grouping them together. Thus, according to Toyoshima's method, the total number of Kirishitan-ban books comes to forty-one, which includes the aforementioned fragment from

26 Makita Tominaga, Kirishitan-ban no kenkyu: Studies of Books Printed by the Jesuit Mission Press inJapan (Tenri: Tenri University Press, 1973).

27 Martin de Azpilcueta, Compendium manualis Navarri. Ad commodiorum usum tum con-fessariorum, tum poenitenitum confectum (Nagasaki: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1597).

28 = 9-i-i-i/first=22/numit=5/search= Compendium%2o/ [accessed January 4, 2015].

29 Masayuki Toyoshima, ed., Kirishitan to Shuppan = Cristianismo y edición (Tokyo: Yagi Shoten, 2013), Appendix, 1-10.

the Compendium manualis Navarri. Toyoshima's research will surely provide fundamental reference material that will help save Japan's Jesuit publications from being lost, or simply remaining undetectable, and will also maintain and develop bibliographical studies of these publications. His index includes items that were reported in historical materials (Jesuit correspondence, etc.) as having been printed, but which are as yet undiscovered, as well as texts that survive in the form of transcriptions. It can therefore be of great use in future bibliographic research, and a thorough revision of Laures's database using Toyoshima's classification method is accordingly in order. Although the Kirishitan-ban have hitherto been used primarily in research on the history of the Japanese language, with the support of the basic research outlined above, they are currently being studied in other academic fields, including various disciplines of history (e.g., religious history, the history of technology) and in non-Japanese linguistics. As a result, research on these treasures is becoming globalized.

Cultural History / Intellectual History

Many of the Japanese books that form part of the Kirishitan-ban collection are Japanese editions of religious texts widely read in Europe. One example is Dochiriina Kirishitan /Doctrina Christan (Laures nos. 8, 10, 22, 23), the Japanese translation of Marcos Jorge's Doctrina Christaa. This volume was first printed only in Japanese script, presumably (the title page is missing) in 1591 at Kazusa. It was reprinted in 1592 at Amakusa, this time with Latin letters to spell out the Japanese words, under the title Doctrina Christan. In 1600, both versions were revised and reprinted30 Another such book is Giyadopekadoru (Laures, no. 21), a Japanese translation of the definitive 1567 edition of Luis de Granada's Guia de pecadores.3i A third volume is Fides no doxi (Laures, no. 11) and Fides no quio

30 Marcos Jorge (1524-1571), Doctrina Christam ordenada a maneira de dialogo, pera ensinar os mininos (Lisbon: Correa, 1566) and Nippon no Iesus no companhia no superioryori christan ni soto no cotouari vo tagaino mondo no gotoqu xidai vo vacachi tamo doctrina [A Catechism Composed by the Superior of the Society of Jesus in Japan in which Matters Important to a Christian Are Arranged in the Form of Questions and Answers] (Amakusa: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1592 and Nagasaki: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1600).

31 Luis de Granada, Guia de pecadores: en la qual se trata copiosamente de las grandes riquezas y hermosura de la Virtud: y del camino que se ha de Henar para alcangarla (Salamanca: Andrea de Portonariis, 1567); Luis de Granada, Giyadopekadoru (Nagasaki: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1599). For an English introduction and textual study of this work, see William J. Farge, TheJapanese Translations of the Jesuit Mission Press, 1590-1614: "De imitatione Christi' and "Guia de pecadores" (Lewiston, ny: Edwin Mellen, 2003).

(Laures, no. 33), translations of the first and fifth parts of Granada's Introducción del símbolo de la fe, respectively.32 Another incomplete translation is Spiritual xuguio (Laures, no. 30), a partial edition of Gaspar Loarte, S.J.'s Istruttione et avertimenti per meditar i misterii del rosario.33

These translations are notable because, to varying extents, they omit certain Christian doctrines that might provoke controversy or misunderstanding. Conversely, they include additional content, designed for a population not steeped in Christian traditions, to explain difficult concepts in terms friendlier to the Japanese. Thus a comparison of Kirishitan-ban books to their corresponding European-language source texts can provide insights into the prose-lytization strategies used by the Jesuits in foreign cultures34 The additions and omissions were not arbitrarily made by missionaries remote from church authorities, but were done after Valignano had received approval from the curia in Rome. That process was cumbersome, and the provincial wrote to Acquaviva in December 1584, requesting that it be streamlined. The rules of the Society of Jesus required that a book to be translated must first be sent to Rome, and that no translations could be printed without the permission of the superior general. Such a process, Valignano contended, was impractical for several reasons, including some specific to Japan. First, as the province had a great diversity of languages, translation was a necessity in all parts of the territory. Therefore, a general license should be granted. Second, he contended that

32 Luis de Granada, Introduction delsymbolo de lafe: en la qualse trata delas excelencias de la fe, y delos dos principales mysterios della, que son la creacion del mundo, y la redemp-cion delgenero humano (Salamanca: M. Gast, 1583-1585); Luis de Granada, Fides no doxi (Amakusa: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1592); Luis de Granada, Fides no quio (Nagasaki: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1611).

33 Gaspar Loarte, Istruttione et avertimenti per meditar i misterii del Rosario (Rome: Collegio del Gesu, 1573); Gaspar Loarte and Pedro Gomez, Spiritual xuguio no tameniyerabi atgu-muru xuquannno manual. Core Iesusno Companhia ni voite amitatguru mono nari. Superioresto, Ordinariono yuruxivo comuri (Nagasaki: Collegium Iaponicum Societatis Iesu, 1607.

34 "The activity of translation necessarily involves both decontextualizing and recontextual-izing. Something is always 'lost in translation.' However, the close examination of what is lost is one of the most effective ways of identifying differences between cultures. For this reason, the study of translation is or should be central to the practice of cultural history." Peter Burke, "Cultures of Translation in Early Modern Europe," in Cultural Translation in Early Modern Europe, eds. Peter Burke and R. Po-chia Hsia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 7-38, here 38. Though Burke simply states that in translation something is lost, this is arguably the same as saying something is added.

shipping the translated volumes to Rome for permission would be a waste of time, since no one there could read Japanese. He then argued that in order to accommodate the Japanese (whose traditional beliefs were quite foreign to any European), European books could not simply be translated, but must be modified by omitting or adding content. It would not be possible to screen books in Rome, as no one there was properly acquainted with the situation of Japan and thus able to understand what needed adaptation. For this reason, he argued that it would be preferable to delegate authority for granting licenses to the provincial of India and the vice-provincial of Japan.35 The superior general responded by conceding to the provincial the authority to license the translation of books for which permission to publish (either in Europe or elsewhere) had already been obtained. He also allowed the printing of texts after the completion of a screening of said writings by three Jesuits, overseen by the provincial. Furthermore, a statement apparently written by an assistant to Acquaviva granted permission to print revised books, provided that the revisions were to the improvement of the composition36 This raises a question: which specific topics were subject to omissions and additions?

Adaptations to the Japanese Context

In the beginning of the first volume of Guia de pecadores, Luis de Granada outlines a number of God-given qualities that inspire goodness, such as "gratitude for our creation" and "gratitude for the inestimable benefit of our redemption," which form the basis of his commentary on the Christian faith37 However, chapter 6, entitled, "The Sixth Motive that Obliges us to Practice the Virtue, namely the Inestimable Benefit of Predestination," has been completely omitted from the Japanese translation.38

35 Documenta Indica, vol. 13: 1583-1585, ed. Joseph Wicki (Rome: Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu, 1975), 714-15; Koichiro Takase, "Kirishitan jidai no bunka to gaiko [Culture and Diplomacy in the Kirishitan century]," in Toyoshima, Kirishitan to Shuppan, 51-75, 56-59.

36 Ibid. The statement was written in a different hand from the rest of the text.

37 Luis de Granada, Guía de pecadores, ed. Álvaro Huerga (Madrid: Fundación Universitaria Española, 1995), 75-79. This is an annotated version of the Salamanca version published in 1567 (see here footnote 31).

38 This omission is also mentioned in a footnote in Yoshimi Orii, "Kirishitan kyougi no doukou" [Doctrinal tendencies of Kirishitan mission in Japan], Kirisutokyo shigaku [Journal of History of Christianity] 55 (2001): 110-30; see also Farge,Japanese Translations,


One possible reason for the omission could be the basic stance of the Jesuits regarding the question of predestination, itself based on Ignatius Loyola's understanding of the issue. In the Spiritual Exercises, Loyola added a list of rules, which included the following:

The Fourteenth. It is granted that there is much truth in the statement that no one can be saved without being predestined and without having faith and grace. Nevertheless great caution is necessary in our manner of speaking and teaching about all these matters.

The Fifteenth. We ought not to fall into a habit of speaking much about predestination. But if somehow the topic is brought up on occasions, it should be treated in such way that ordinary people do not fall into an error, as sometimes happens when they say: "It is already determined whether I shall be saved or damned, and this cannot now be changed by my doing good or evil." Through this they grow listless and neglect the works which lead to good and to the spiritual advancement of their souls.39

The term predestinatio was associated with the Calvinist doctrine denying the necessity of good works and emphasizing salvation by God's grace alone. In addition to this dangerous connotation, an ongoing controversy within the Catholic church provided other reasons to shy away from the term: a contentious debate over free will, grace, and predestination, which culminated in the Congregatio de auxiliis (1597-1607) between the Dominican Domingo Banez (1528-1604) and the Jesuit Luis de Molina (1535-1600). Whereas the Jesuits championed a theology of sufficient grace, the Dominicans thought the doctrine to be incompatible with God's omniscience and infinite mercy. The chapter in question was not in conflict with Catholic teaching, as the church had already sanctioned Granada's original book. Therefore, the omission is suggestive of just how sensitive the Jesuits were to the word predestinatio.

Valignano, who closely observed religions and factions among the Japanese, reported that the Buddhist sect Icoxo ("Ikko-shu" or sect of "Ikko [single-minded]," an antinomian offshoot of Pure Land Buddhism founded by Shinran (1173-1263) and spread widely through the efforts of Rennyo (1415-1499) was the most numerous of all branches of Buddhism. He concluded that its teachings resembled those of Martin Luther:

39 Ignatius of Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius: a Translation and Commentary, ed. George E. Ganss (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1992), n. 366-67.

In order to better obtain the grace of the Japanese and for the sect to be accepted more easily, it facilitated people's salvation and even came to say that exhorting the mercy and great love that Amida [Amitabha, the principal Buddha of the sect] and Shaka [the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, d. 5th century все] have for them, and that regardless of how much one sins, one remains purged and clean from every sin by provoking their [Amida and Shaka's] names and trusting firmly in them and their merits, without the need of doing other penitence nor other works, because with these deeds one would insult the penitence and works that they [Amida and Shaka] in turn did for saving humans. Therefore, they are properly teaching the doctrine of Luther.40

In this situation, it is only natural that translating and mentioning the theme of predestination in a Japanese edition could have evoked the /kko-Lutheran association among Japanese novices. Therefore, they may have decided to omit the whole chapter.

One can also find content in Kirishitan-ban books that does not appear in the source text. Fides no quio, for example, is not a direct translation of the original work. Parts of the text were altered, rewording the more philosophical and metaphysical content and adding ethical and psychological material, which resulted in a book that depicted a more eclectic, intellective soul. Chapter 29 of the Japanese translation has the title Anima interekichiiha no tai narabi ni tokuyou wo ronzuru koto [On the intellective soul and its bene-fit].4i This is the title of chapter 34 of the original book; however, only the first paragraph of the original section is translated. The six short paragraphs that immediately follow in Granada's text are omitted, as are the three

40 Alessandro Valignano, Sumario de las cosas de Japon (1583) Adiciones delSumario de Japon (1592), ed. José Luis Alvarez-Taladriz (Tokyo: Sophia University, 1954), 66-67. Francisco Cabral (1529-1609), the mission superior of Japan, also pointed out the similarity between the teaching of Icoxus and that of Luther, in a letter dated 1571 (arsi,Jap. Sin. 7-III, 29-30).

41 Modern Japanese translations of "soul" include rei, tamasii, reikon, etc. The Kirishitan-ban books, however, invariably borrow the Latin word anima and render it phonetically in the Japanese syllabary (anima). As there were no Japanese words for Christian concepts, missionaries in Japan resorted to Buddhist terminology to convey them. However, based on a proposal by Baltazar Gago, S.J. (c. 1520-1583), which he made after arriving in Japan in 1552, more than fifty technical terms, including anima, would remain untranslated on account of there being no equivalent word in Japanese. Georg Schurhammer, Das kirchliche Sprachproblem in der japanischen Jesuitenmission des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts: ein Stück Ritenfrage in Japan (Tokyo: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Natur und Völkerkunde Ostasiens, 1928), 55-75.

subsequent chapters (35, 36, and 37).42 Since potential Japanese readers would have had little background in Christian theology, the anonymous editors of the book must have given up on the author's Bible-based commentaries on the human soul, adding instead a philosophical disquisition on the intellective soul that spanned the same number of pages—around twenty percent (twenty folios) of the entire volume. This additional section was based on an Aristotelian epistemology, and set forth the view that the intellective soul, with which humans alone are endowed, is not affected by material and temporal changes. In other words, it is immaterial and spiritual, and consequently immortal. Many of the words used were transliterated philosophical terms (for example, horuma [form], materiya [matter], senchiido [sense], interekito [intellect], esupesie interijiiberu [intelligible species], etc.) The commentary here is very concise and does not incorporate the more complex and intricate arguments that were employed (for example) to study such concepts at the Jesuit college in Coimbra, including the operation of the agentive intellect in linking sensual awareness to intellectual awareness.43 The religious books and tracts of the Kirishitan-ban were not printed for specialists, but for ordinary believers.

However, even European theologians at the time were struggling with how to interpret and explain the idea of the soul and its immortality, so there was little hope that such concepts could be successfully conveyed to Japanese converts. To avoid both confusion and theoretical inconsistencies, the editors must have decided to abridge the content on the soul and its immortality, the theme of chapter 29, and present a concise summary from an anthropological (ethical) viewpoint, rather than from a philosophical (metaphysical) one.

The virtue of justice is characterized by the rewarding of the good and the punishment of the wicked, and so Deus is by no means unsparing when it comes to rewarding and punishing. However, when we look around the world today, it seems that few good people are rewarded, and few wicked people are punished, and this can be a cause for doubt. Is the virtue of justice not present in Deus? [...] In conclusion, this is evidence

42 Luis de Granada, Introducción del símbolo de lafe, ed. Álvaro Huerga (Madrid: Fundación Universitaria Española, 1996), 1:285-321. This is an annotated version of the Salamanca version (original version) published in 1583. As far as I can tell, the omissions made in the Japanese translation were not made in Luis de Granada's original book.

43 See Alison Simmons, "Jesuit Aristotelian Education: The De anima Commentaries," in The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, 1540-1773, eds. John W. O'Malley et al. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), 522-37.

for the existence of an immortal anima. If there is to be complete justice, then all punishments and rewards must ultimately be meted out, if not in this world, then in the next. If punishments and rewards are to be received in the next world, then it follows that humans must have an immortal anima. Thus, if you know Deus, then the immortal existence of the anima will be self-evident.44

[original ds

This method of explaining the immortality of the soul was not an invention of the Jesuits in Japan. Among their predecessors was the Italian Humanist Pietro Pomponazzi (1462-1525), who conducted a philological study of Aristotelian philosophy. He concluded that an Aristotelian approach could not prove the soul to be immortal, although Christianity taught that it was. Indeed, the Fifth Lateran Council in 1513 declared it to be official doctrine that the soul did not die.45 Therefore, when Pomponazzi's seminal work On the Immortality of the Soul (1516) was published, it was met with a barrage of criticism, and its author

44 Granada, Symbolo da fee, 86r. The original text uses a special ornamented type character for "Deus," but here "ds" is used instead for the sake of convenience.

45 "[S]ince [...] the ancient enemy of the human race, has dared to scatter and multiply in the Lord's field some extremely pernicious errors, which have always been rejected by the faithful, especially on the nature of the rational soul, with the claim that it is mortal, or only one among all human beings, and since some, playing the philosopher without due care, assert that this proposition is true at least according to philosophy, it is our desire to apply suitable remedies against this infection and, with the approval of the sacred council, we condemn and reject all those who insist that the intellectual soul is mortal, or that it is only one among all human beings, and those who suggest doubts on this topic. For the soul not only truly exists of itself and essentially as the form of the human body [...] but it is also immortal; and further, for the enormous number of bodies into which it is infused individually, it can and ought to be and is multiplied [...]. And since truth cannot contradict truth, we define that every statement contrary to the enlightened truth of the faith is totally false and we strictly forbid teaching otherwise to be permitted." http:// [accessed January 10, 2015].

was suspected of heresy46 However, in the same book, Pomponazzi states that while the position might not be the truth, it can nevertheless be considered a teaching that is conducive to social justice:

Therefore they have set up for the virtuous eternal rewards in another life, and for the vicious, eternal punishments, which frighten greatly. And the greater part of men, if they do good, do it more from fear of eternal punishment than from hope of eternal good, since punishments are better known to us than that eternal good[...]. [T]he lawgiver regarding the proneness of men to evil, intending the common good, has decreed that the soul is immortal, not caring for truth but only for righteousness, that he may lead men to virtue.

Nor is the statesman to be blamed. For just as the physician feigns many things to restore a sick man to health, so the statesman composes fables to keep the citizens in the right path. But in these fables, [...] there is, properly speaking, neither truth nor falsity. So also nurses bring their charges to what they know to benefit children. But if a man were healthy or of sound mind, neither physician nor nurse would need such fictions.47

The passage, claiming that teaching that the soul is immortal is socially valuable (as opposed to being intrinsically true) is remarkably similar to the addition in Fides no quio, which argued the point from a moral position. This addition may indicate that the editors of Fides no quio were aware of ideas espoused by Pomponazzi.

And so the learned men of old contemplated the nature of the anima and gave it various names. Some men named it the horizon [orizonte] between the temporal [tenpo] and the eternal [eterunidaade], some declared it is the link between the nature [natsuura] of the corporal

46 Pietro Pomponazzi, Tractatus de immortalitae animae (Bologna: Giustiniano Leonardo de Ruberia, 1516). Translation by William Henry Hay and John Herman Randall: Pietro Pomponazzi, "On the Immortality of the Soul," in The Renaissance Philosophy of Man: Petrarca, Valla, Ficino, Pico, Pomponazzi, Vives, eds. Ernst Cassirer, Paul Oskar Kristeller, and John Herman Randall (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956), 280-384, here 364. For more on Pomponazzi's ideas, see Elisa Cuttini, "From the Nature of the Soul to Practical Action in the Thought of Pietro Pomponazzi," in Psychology and the Other Disciplines, eds. Paul J.J.M. Bakker and Sander W. Boer (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 61-79.

47 Pomponazzi, "On the Immortality of the Soul," 364.

[koruporaru] and the spiritual [interekitsuaru]. Some gave it the name Xufen Jo cai, and others have considered it a reflection of the upper nature [natura] and a template for the lower nature [natura]. There are indeed a great many things to discuss about the soul and its many mysteries, but when approaching the common folk, select only those topics that are easy to understand, and avoid deep and abstruse topics.48

[original text] i^.li^^fffc^Wii^iCttt&t

The unnamed thinkers referred to in the above passage must have been the Renaissance Platonists. Language such as "the horizon between time and eternity" and "the link between the nature of the corporal and the spiritual" brings to mind Pomponazzi's argument that man has a double nature [anceps], between the mortal and the immortal.49 It also hints at the thought of Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), who postulated that the soul is the "horizon between the eternal and the temporal."50 Perhaps even more controversially, the term Xufen Jo cai in this context clearly echoes the expression anima mundi as used by Italian philosopher and condemned heretic Giordano Bruno (1548-1600).51 Such dangerous references show that the Society of Jesus in its missions adopted an approach to Pomponazzi less hostile than Europeans would have embraced. Charles H. Lohr states, "in its reaction to Pomponazzi, [the Jesuit

48 Granada, Symbolo dafee, 68v-69r.

49 Pomponazzi, "On the Immortality of the Soul," in A Renaissance Treasury: A Collection of Representative Writings on the Continent of Europe, eds. and trans. Hiram Collins Haydn and John Charles Nelson (New York: Doubleday, 1953), 149, "In which it is shown that man is of a twofold ("ancipitis") nature and a mean between mortal and immortal things."

50 "Anima rationalis, [...] in orizonte, id est in confinio, eternitatis et temporis posita est." Marsilio Ficino, Epistolarum Jamiliarium, 1:107, in Id., Lettere, ed. Sebastiano Gentile (Florence: Olschki, 1990), 186. I thank prof. Ken-ichi Nejime and Dr. Hiro Hirai for their useful advice in terms of Renaissance Platonism.

51 Xufen Jo cai is a Buddhist term that refers to the Buddha's virtues shining forth and rebounding across all existence. This passage is most interesting in that it implies that that the ideas of Bruno, who was burned for espousing pantheism, intersect with those of Oriental philosophy.


form of] Aristotelianism had become conscious of itself.'^2 However, the evidence suggests that when carrying out missionary work abroad, the Jesuits actually used his argument for the benefit of propagating Christian teaching.


The Kirishitan-ban books never comprised a formal library in the modern sense, but they do constitute a collection. The study of the history of libraries will benefit from not simply identifying those volumes, but also understanding their production, translation, and use. This study has focused on documents that have been discovered as a result of recent developments in bibliographic research, and provided an analysis from cultural and intellectual historical perspectives. Comparison between Jesuit publications printed in Japan and the corresponding European originals from which they were supposedly translated uncovers content that was added as well as some that was omitted. The results of this analysis shed light on the proselytization policies of the Jesuits and demonstrate a flexible approach toward evangelization. The texts printed and used by missionaries and Christian converts have long been treated within Japan as rare and precious, but if their content is considered from a global perspective, then they can also serve as valuable historical materials for illuminating the ideological/intellectual climate in which their first owners, the Jesuits, existed.

52 Charles H. Lohr, "Jesuit Aristotelianism and Sixteenth-Century Metaphysics," in Paradosis: Studies in Memory of Edwin A. Quain, eds. Harry G. Fletcher and Mary Beatrice Schulte (New York: Fordham University Press, 1976), 203-20, here 205; Simmons, "Jesuit Aristotelian Education," 524.