Cardinal Tagle attends beatification of Japanese martyr in Japan

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle attended the beatification of Justo Takayama Ukon in Japan on Tuesday, February 7 as a representative of the Archdiocese of Manila.  


Justo Takayama Ukon is a Japanese martyr who became catholic and was exiled and died in Manila because he refused to renounce his Christian faith in 1615.


In an interview with the Cardinal by Radio Veritas, Tagle said that the beatification of Ukon expressed significant message to all Catholic Filipinos. Ukon who is a Japanese, died a martyr in the Philippines while Filipino saint, Lorenzo Ruiz was killed in Japan. According to Tagle, they were both witnesses of communion and solidarity to Jesus.


“He died as a martyr. A Japanese who died in Manila. Our Lorenzo Ruiz died in Japan. Communion & solidarity in witness to Jesus,” Tagle said.


Takayama Ukon was a refugee from Japan who was whole heartedly and warmly received by the Filipinos as witness to Jesus.  In his reflection, Cardinal Tagle told Filipinos to always have an open arm to those who are in need and in help.


“Sa pagtanggap natin sa mga dukha, refugee at inaalipusta, baka isang martir o santo ang dumarating. Huwag natin silang Itataboy,”  Tagle added.


Takayama Ukon was born on 1552 and was baptized Catholic at the age of 12 during the Tokugawa Feudal Government in Japan where becoming a catholic is prohibited.  When Ukon refused to renounce his faith, he lost his wealth, position and honor and was exiled.  Ukon fled to Manila together with 300 Japanese nationals.  Forty days (40) after he arrived in Manila, he fell ill and died.


After 400 years of his death, Pope Francis signed a decree for Ukon’s beatification as martyr.  He was known to Filipinos and has a statue at Plaza de Dilao in Paco, Manila.

Ukon started and established a seminary in Takatsuki and Osaka in Japan that caused the growth of the number of Catholics in the country.


St. Paul Mikki, a Jesuit who became a martyr was one of the many catechists and missionaries Ukon taught and molded as witness to Christ.  (Jheng Manalang Prad/RCAM-AOC and Riza Mendoza/Radio Veritas)


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