Episode 415 – Whispers in the Dark

This week: the story of two men whose fascinating life trajectories led them into an interrogation room in Japan’s Edo period, and the fascinating document that resulted from their time together.


Ayusawa, Shintaro. “Geography and Japanese Knowledge of World Geography.” Monumenta Nipponica 19, No 3/4 (1964).

Tassinari, R. “The End of Padre Sidotti: Some New Discoveries.” Monumenta Nipponica 5, No 1 (Jan, 1942).

Josephson, Jason Ananda. The Invention of Religion in Japan.

De Bary, William Theodore et al, eds. The Sources of the Japanese Tradition, Volume 2, Part 1: 1600 to 1868.

Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Vol 9 (1880-81).

Some press coverage of the discovery of Father Sidotti’s body.


A map of the Kirishitan Yashiki in Edo.
Arai Hakuseki. Edo period portrait, artist unknown.
A statue of Arai Hakuseki on the grounds of the castle of Kururi domain.
A monument to Giovanni Batista Sidotti on Yakushima, the island where he first landed.
Part of the text of Seiyo Kibun. This version is in the 1715 classical Japanese; you can find updated ones in modern Japanese as well.





1 thought on “Episode 415 – Whispers in the Dark”

  1. A common type of literature and images circulating across Catholic parts of Europe in the Early modern period were works glorifying Catholic martyred for their faith, typically in places and peoples not welcoming to Catholicism. It became so popular that there were times when Church leaders had to issue guidance to Catholics that they should not be deliberately seeking it out. I wonder if Sidotti had been reading some of those materials prior to his trip to Japan.

    Also, how were they able to identify the remains as his and did they find anything about his cause of death?

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