De Mártires del siglo XX
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Masaaki, Kubo (volver a Bibliografía Japón)

El esfuerzo espiritual de acercamiento de SFJ es más trascendental que el intercambio de armas que se produjo en el primer encuentro con los portugueses.

Cuenta en 397 los argumentos filosóficos con que SFJ derrotó al budismo y en p. 398 la inquietud religiosa de los conversos respecto a la suerte eterna de sus antepasados:

It is interesting for us to discover Xavier' s expertise as a rhetorician. Before his arrival in Japan, he had been well infor¬ med by his follower Anjiro about the state of contemporary Japanese Buddhist attitudes and disciplines. Soon after his arrival, he discovered, so he writes in his last letter from Cochin, the basic weakness of the Buddhist discipline. There were nine major sects of Buddhism in practice at the time, but any one of them, when faced with a question if it could logi¬ cally define its own entity separate from the rest of the Buddhist sects, was bound to be counfounded and expose its fatal weak¬ ness, as Xavier sharply observes. Once the weakness of the opponents exposed, one could advance the lines of positive arguments in favor of one's stratagem. The Creation (398) of human soul (as eternal being), were considered by the topics greatly in favor of promulgating the Christian trines, when expounded with full fledged theological in any confrontation with the Buddhist opponents. That he succeded in making about 500 Japanese (a tion of them were of the well-educated class) Christian in two month is a remarkable feat by any standard, considering the deep linguistic and cultural barriers that had separated Xavier had to solve another problem, however, before restore the peace of mind among his newly won Christians Japan. He noted that those converted Japanese, no matter deeply they were convinced of the truth of Christianity, deeply disturbed by the thought on the doomed destiny souls of their ancestors who had died before they could been illuminated by the Christian doctrines. Are our abandoned by us, and bound to be condemned to Time and again Xavier was surrounded by the question. retells to his fellow Jesuists, he contrived to give answers : a sharp distinction, as demanded by theology, be observed between the Christened and the un-Christened on one hand, but on the other hand one should have that the divine law was the unwritten law, in other divine law had been inscribed in the soul of every human Even a wild barbarian in the desolate mountains knew conscience, so much so did the hearts of the educated if they had not been touched by the teachings of Christ. if one's ancestors had died ages ago without faith, well reach the final salvation by the divine mercy. Did his " pius " Japanese Christians find a solace explanations ? Sensitively Xavier notes in his letter were satisfied to a measurable extent, but at the same added that he found it excedingly difficult to expell the ancestors among the Japanese, or to disregard the of the family ties and kinship based on the cult-practices ancestor worship, e.g., the Urabon-e (the annual ritual where the ancestral " manes " were invited as guests), seasonal rituals observed at the ancestral graves (which calls by the name of the cult of graves). What impresses when reading this and similar passages in his letters native religion of Japan is the large extent to which his

(399) humane sensitivity and sympathy played when he was com¬ pelled to find explanations for the troubled minds of his newly acquired Christian followers. A superficial observer may notice only his rhetorical expertise in his explanations. Another may point out the echoes of Thoman theological tracts, yet another some distant memory of Aristotelian rhetoric or even of a Sophoclean declamation in this passage. But what I find the most impressive is his unbound ability to sympathise with the sorrows of his fellow men, the quality of mind no more precious then than it is now. Xavier returned to Cochin on January 24, 1552, for the pur¬ pose of recruiting four padres for missionary activities in Japan. They had to be, Xavier stresses, trained well enough in theol¬ ogy, so that they could be proven as triumphant winners in the disputes against the members of the Bandou (=Ashikaga) school. They had to be prepared to face the opponents who would disdain any discussion on the first principle (principio) or on the creation of the world, for they were foolish topics devoid of concrete evidence, according to their disciplines. Xavier detected that much of this Japanese attitude was the outcome of the ancient Chinese influence which had been widely spread among the educated class in Japan. He adds to the end of his letter, that he now wished to christianise the Chinese, for that, if succeded, would induce the more Japanese to accept Christianity. At the same time he let us catch an unexpected note. Xavier wrote, that his body is still sustaining, but his spirit is suffering from fatigue. From this brief note, we realise that his days in Japan must have been full of agonising spiritual tri¬ als which, however, were seldom revealed in his letters. This is a very brief sketch of Xavier' s letter addressed to all the scholars studying in the universities in Europe, and to all the prelates of the Church, inviting them to come to Japan, if they were truly to seek to find the joy and the solace of propagating the Christian truth. In another letter to Ignatius de Loyola in Rome, of a roughly same date, he writes how grateful he was to his Japanese friends, because he came to know himself better through the mutual association. Here again be tells Loyola, that those who were to come to Japan have to be artistas and sophistas - the terms I venture to translate as " versed in all arts and skilled in rhetoric " -, equipped with superb abilities to (400) first to Rome for training, preferably Flamengos or Alemanes, who were used to the harsh climate, with reading and writing knowledge of Castellano or Portuguese. (...) disputes against those opponents from the Bandou school. hastily outlining these letters of great importance, I left out too many more interesting details, e.g. his careful vations of the habit and custom of the contemporary and town dwellers. Within this passage of time, however, better focus my attention on a few important points out in these last letters of Xavier. First of all a reader must be struck by his penetrating in human mind, based on the careful analysis of the facts. One may readily cite such an example from his of the merits and faults of the Buddhistic arguments. The were detected in the Buddhistic use of parables and The faults were discovered in their inability to establish logical entity of their each separate sect. Secondly his letters show us many examples remarkable practical abilities to find concrete solutions problems. We noted earlier that he not only translated Japanese for the first time in history, but also invented of phonetic transcription for the current Japanese language, cessfully breaking through the linguistic barrier. Thirdly but above all, the letters abundantly testify sublimity of mind of their author, which almost always the burden of material or bodily hardships out of its vision. characteristic of his may be seen most clearly when pares Xavier' s letters to those written by his follower Torres, on the amount of hardships they had to endure Yamaguchi. Xavier hardly touches on it, Torres gives tirade of complaints. This conspicuous trait of Xavier reason why we feel almost a near schock, when we words telling us that his body is still sustaining, but suffers from fatigue. In his letter to Loyola cited above, Xavier wrote that come to know himself better through his Japanese associations. We are made to discover indeed that the splendid intellectual (401) which had made him sail across the oceans of dangers and preach the truth of the Christian faith. Then they became inten¬ sely curious about his words and actions. Xavier' s letters, as we see, are full of the valuable records of the reciprocal interac¬ tions, of the struggles of a mind in search of its cognate mind from the both sides. In spite of the unfathomable depth of the cultural barriers that separated them, or perhaps because of the depth of the differences, both Xavier and his followers could exercise the best of their inventive skills, paving a way for a mind to traverse in search of a its cognate mind. To my limited knowledge of the Western books, very few, except for one or two letters of Plato or some passages from St. Augustine's Con¬ fessions, seem to be comparable to the intellectual passion and (402) The fatal meeting of the West and Japan has often as having been initiated by the gun and gun-powder, brought the Portuguese who sought the path of lucrative trade. tainly is a piece of historical incident. But the true history, I truly hope, of the West and Japan must be reviewed light of the great spiritual adventures, still clearly observable the wake of Xavier' s letters. Now I must take up the in the title of this lecture, the fables of Aesop. What I felt missing is the text of Xavier' s Japanese translation of the Creation of the World, the life of Jesus, and the Day Last Judgement, which he used to read aloud to his audience Kagoshima, Hirado and Yamaguchi. I have not been able if a manuscript, autograph or a copy, of his translation anywhere still extant. However, we may be able to catch echo of his spoken words in a small publication printed by the Jesuit printers in Amakusa, southern Japan. The is the only one existant exemplum, miraculously saved Christian persecution in the first third of the 17th century, safely preserved in the British Library. The preface, written romanised phonetic transcription, tells us in the contemporary vernacular Japanese, that the text, translated from Latin, prepared with great cares, in view of the fact that the of fables would provide the reader not only with a reliable of learning the Japanese language, but also with a guide ing a commendable way of life. The reader here is not a reader, but printers' fellow Jesuits. It is not known which two printing machines, brought to Japan shortly before, for the edition in question. Looking at the lines of the romanised Japanese text of fables, we vividly recall that it had been Xavier who first the system of phonetic transcription forty years before. the fables, we are reminded of his acute observations on ner of the Buddhist sermons and preachings. The monks, he wrote, were good rhetoricians, and they enjoyed esteem for their public lectures for their clever uses of and examples for illustration of the alleged veracity teachings. We are strongly tempted to interpret the background for the preparation of this booklet, the oldest trace of a Greek author in the Japanese language, in the light of letters. The printers in Amakusa were directly