Episode 422 – The City on the Edge of Forever, Part 1

This week, we’re covering the founding of Japan’s most unusual city: Nagasaki, unique among major Japanese cities in being founded under the impetus of the Jesuit order. Why did Jesuit missionaries want a port of their own, and who did they find to give it to them?


Hesselink, Reinier. The Dream of Christian Nagasaki: World Trade and the Clash of Cultures, 1550-1640

Strathern, Alan. “Immanent Power and Empirical Religiosity: Conversion of the Daimyo of Kyushu, 1560-1580.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 47, No 2 (2020).

Elison, George. Deus Destroyed: The Image of Christianity in Early Modern Japan.


A map of Western Kyushu. Note the locations of Hirado and Nagasaki; Yokoseura is in between, at the mouth of Omura bay.
A statue of father Luis d’Almeida in Oita; before he negotiated the deal to get Yokoseura for the Jesuits, d’Almeida established a hospital in what’s now Oita, commemorated by this statue.
Nagasaki Jinzaemon, the lord of Nagasaki and vassal of Omura Sumitada.
This detail image from a Christian text about Japan depicts Omura Sumitada as a pious Christian. The reality, as we’ve seen, is a bit less cut and dried.
A ‘nanban kurobune’ (Portuguese black ship) as depicted by Kano Naizen, scion of a famous family of Japanese painters, in the late 16th century.
A carrack depicted by the painter Peter Bruegel the Elder.
Yokoseura’s harbor today.

4 thoughts on “Episode 422 – The City on the Edge of Forever, Part 1”

  1. The option to download isn’t working om Libsyn for the episode. The episode isn’t showing up an none of the previous episodes are now not showing up too on Libsyn so you can’t even listen to any of them or download them too. I tried 2 different computers and 3 different web browsers. Other podcasts, like the Criminal Records one, are not having this problem.

    Can you fix this or find out what is the glitch?

      1. Hi all. Not sure what’s causing this issue, but I’m reaching out to libsyn technical support for help. Sorry for the delay.

  2. I find the idea that we have to gatekeep Christianity silly. Just because someone isn’t a perfect evangelist doesn’t make their conversion less genuine, or only monks would be “real Christians.” We can see with the christianization of Europe that most kings converted for convenience so their people wouldn’t be enslaved.
    I think his hesitation at destroying his family stone marker would be hard for anyone. By Jesuit logic, ofrendas are idol worship. I don’t think this should count against him.

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