Monday, September 26, 2011

Xavier's landing in Kagoshima

Francisco Xavier made his actual landing in Kagoshima about half a mile north of where Dolphin Port is now. The location is part of a community center that has a soccer field right next to the monument. When I arrived at 4:40 PM, there were several cars and minivans pulling up to let troops of school kids out in bright orange and black uniforms to play against each other. The sky was overcast for most of the afternoon, making for non-ideal photography conditions.

From the marker:

"A life devoted to God
Monument to the arrival of Francisco Xavier
...His faith survived hunger and persecution...
The Pope's Jesuit envoy to East Asia, Francisco Xavier, became in 1549 the first Christian missionary to Japan. Setting sail from Lisbon for India, Malacca and the Moluccas, Xavier eventually arrived in Kagoshima with six other Jesuit missionaries having survived hunger and epidemic on the way. Their guide to Japan was a Kagoshima man, Paulo Yajiro, who had joined them at Malacca, and on reaching Kagoshima they were welcomed by Lord Shimadzu Takahisa, who allowed them to continue their missionary activities unhindered.

In a letter back to Malacca, Xavier praised the Japanese as "extremely courteous and good-willed; not ashamed to value honor above riches", but he later met with opposition from Buddhists, and after only ten months in Kagoshima moved on to Hirado. Xavier is especially remembered for his love of children, through whom he sought to spread the Christian faith.

This monument by Louis Francen of Belgium was placed here in 1978."

(Illustration from the historical marker.)

There is a sign from the main street pointing down to where the monument is located, but it is off the beaten path for tourists, so I doubt that most people in Kagoshima are aware it exists anymore.

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