Italian Jesuit Missionary Giovanni Battista Sidotti (1668-1714)

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Shinpachi, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    DNA match for remains of early Italian Jesuit missionary
    Asahi Shinbun/April 5, 2016
    DNA match for remains of early Italian Jesuit missionary:The Asahi Shimbun

    Researchers believe they have identified the remains of a Jesuit priest who entered Japan illegally in the early 1700s after Christianity was banned on pain of death and the country was essentially closed to the outside world.

    The remains are thought to be those of Giovanni Battista Sidotti, an Italian who died in 1714 and was one of the last Christian missionaries to operate under Tokugawa Shogunate rule.

    Authorities in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward announced their findings April 4, based on forensic testing of three sets of remains dug up in July 2014 on the grounds of what used to be called the "Christian mansion."

    Researchers at the National Museum of Nature and Science conducted a DNA and anthropological analysis of the remains and concluded one set was of "a middle-aged Italian male more than 170 centimeters tall."

    Records of the Christian mansion show the names of only two Italians, Sidotti and Giuseppe Chiara.

    Chiara served as the model for one of the missionaries in Shusaku Endo's novel "Silence" about the hardships of early Christian missionaries and believers during the Edo Period (1603-1867).

    However, Chiara was 84 when he died. The records showed Sidotti was 47 when he died and his height was also listed as being between 175.5 cm and 178.5 cm.

    Museum researchers concluded the remains represented a close match with Sidotti based on similarities between the documentary records and physical evidence.

    This would be the first instance of a positive ID being made on an individual believed to have been a missionary when Christianity was banned in Japan.

    Sidotti was arrested on Yakushima island in southern Japan in 1708. He was moved to the Christian mansion in Tokyo, where he was questioned by Arai Hakuseki (1657-1725), a scholar and politician who advised the Tokugawa Shogunate. Arai used Sidotti's knowledge in compiling a work titled "Seiyo Kibun," which described various aspects of the West--then largely unknown--based on their conversations.

    Arai tried to save Sidotti, who in turn managed to convert the elderly couple looking after him with the result that he died in an underground prison cell.

    Akio Tanigawa, an archaeology professor at Waseda University who led the investigative team, said the two other remains were likely those of the elderly couple.

    Pino Marras, who heads a museum in Italy devoted to Sidotti, said that if the three were buried together, "even though they had violated the ban, that would show some tolerance on the part of the Tokugawa Shogunate despite the ban on Christianity."

    Father Mario T. Canducci of the St. Anthony Monastery in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward said: "Sidotti was an outstanding martyr who never gave up on his missionary work. I want to ask the Vatican to re-evaluate his eligibility for canonization."

    01.JPG

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    02.jpg
    Giovanni Battista Sidotti
    He is said entered Japan disguising a samurai.

    03.jpg
    "Virgin Maria Showing Her Thumb".
    Sidotti brought this portrait with him.
     
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  2. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    interesting
     
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  3. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    #3 Shinpachi, Apr 5, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
    According to Arai's book, though I didn't read it all yet, Sidotti was confident with speaking Japanese but his Japanese was mixed with 5 different accents so it was difficult for Arai to understand. Arai asked a Dutch who spoke Latin to be an interpreter but Sidotti wanted to speak his Japanese.
    Arai wondered if the Dutch and the Romans (Italians) might not be friendly.

    Sidotti would have learned Japanese in the Japanese society in Philippines as a lot of Japanese Christians were deported in the early 1600s when Japan closed the country. Arai writes "Even if it was so, how many Japanese in the Philippines today could speak decent Japanese after 90 years?"
     
  4. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Thanks for posting.
     
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  5. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    #5 Shinpachi, Apr 6, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
    Thanks for reading bobbysocks, Jim and FLYBOYJ for like :)

    I like Arai Hakuseki (family name is Arai) because he was a man of efforts.
    His father was a stubborn samurai and did not obey his load when he looked idiot. He lost job and his family suffered poverty.
    As Arai was a smart boy at school, he could help his family finally.

    The elderly Japanese couple, Chosuke and Haru, were around 50 years old. They were born as a son and a daughter of Christian families in the mansion. As there were no other residents until Sidotti came, he would have looked like a Jesus Christ to Chosuke and Haru. However, if he had not re-edificated them, I believe he could have been repatriated by 1716 when Arai lost his power in the government because Arai respected Sidotti as an able scholar and Christianity was not necessarily serious threat any more. I miss his early death.

    *************************
    Corrected Tasuke and Hana to Chosuke and Haru. Sorry.
     
  6. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Most interesting, thanks for sharing this shinpachi.
     
  7. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Wayne for your kind post too :)
    Authorities in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward are ready to return the remains to Italy anytime.
    It was a long journey for Sidotti.
    R.I.P.
     
  8. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    yeah, when a group of one nationality or another moves away from their home country the language difference becomes noticeable. they develop slang and idioms all their own but the language in the home country changes as well. the way English ( American English ) is spoken now is different from how it was spoken when I was a boy. many of the terms have completely different meanings and even the tone of words has changed. so the language of both groups evolves in different directions. he must have had an appearance that was close enough for him to portray himself as a native Japanese man...let a lone a samurai. I am sure the jig would have been up once he had to pull his sword out...
     
  9. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    That's true, bobbysocks :)
    When Sidotti was found by an islander in Yakushima Island, he tried to present his sword with some money.
    The islander immediately ran to call officers.
     
  10. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    my uncle was a linguist and a missionary who worked with Aztec Indians in mexico. he was very well versed in central American Spanish as he lived there for 20 years and spoke it everyday. he had a chance to meet a dignitary from south America and greeted him formally and with a dignified salutation. a good friend of my uncle who was from the same country told him he just called the dignitary a turkey buzzard....they all had a good laugh about it.
     
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  11. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Interesting story, bobby :thumbright:

    Actually, one of our historians has ever told me "Ancient Koreans and Japanese spoke the same language".
    I have understood why both grammars are same and we find many common terms even after a thousand years.
     
  12. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Interesting reading! Thanks for sharing shinpachi.
     
  13. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    You are welcome and Thanks for reading, Hugh !
     
  14. javlin

    javlin Well-Known Member

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    Interesting read and unknown fact to me :thumbright:
     
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  15. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks javlin.
    I'm glad you are fine :)
     
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