Around 12,000 people attended the ceremony for Takayama Ukon. He is a Japanese samurai who died 400 years ago in exile after refusing to renounce his Christian faith in Osaka.
Takayama was a born 1552, seven years after Christianity came to Japan 1549. He was a feudal warlord who protected Christians in Japan during a time when Christianity was considered as illegal.
During this time, missionaries were thrown away from the country and Japanese Christians were ordered to renounce their faith in public. It was also during this time frame when Takayama was exiled from Japan when he refused to deny his faith as demanded by the Shogun, He died in Manila in 1615.
Cardinal Angelo Amato took Pope Francis’ place for Takayama’s beatification. He read the Apostolic Letter from Francis. The letter regarded Takayama as a man who chose faith over worldly success and material comfort.
Back in 2015, the Japanese Government calculated that there were at least 962,731 Christians — Catholic and Protestant — in the country. It accounts for less than one percent of the population.