Apparitions and Traces ―with reference to the Missions Étrangères de Paris (MEP) as a clue
188 , 2016-04-01 , 関西大学東西学術研究所
The early Christian artworks that were brought to Japan in the 19th century by the members of the MEP were influenced by reports of apparitions of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, apparitions that appeared intermittently in France around 1830, the year when Catholicism lost the state-religion status that it had had since the church’s revival in 1814. Missions to Japan were commissioned for the MEP in 1831 by the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome, though these missions were previously believed to have started after 1858, the year when the Treaty of Amity and Commerce was established between Japan and France. In 1865 the so-called hiding Christians appeared before the French preacher Petit-Jean of the Church of Oura, Nagasaki. They were the descendants of people who had kept their Christian faith in the 16th century, and their appearance deeply surprised the Christian world in Europe. Here I discuss the meanings of the Virgin’s apparitions in France and of the appearance of the hiding Christians. I also treat of Christian objects such as medals, rosaries, and statues that were confiscated at the end of the 19th century when the hiding Christians who re-emerged too early were arrested and exiled to different places.