Accepted paper:

The Persecution of the Kirishitan and the Morisco: A Global Comparison

Author:

Andres Perez Riobo (Doshisha University)

Paper short abstract:

The social systems of Japan and Spain during the early modern period were defined by the elimination of the Kirishitan and the expulsion of the Morisco. Despite being simultaneous, they have not yet been systematically viewed from a global point of view. I will reconsider their global significance.

Paper long abstract:

The social and political systems of Japan and Spain during the early modern period were defined by two simultaneous events: the elimination of the Kirishitan from the Japanese archipelago and the expulsion of the Morisco from the Iberian Peninsula. Rulers in Japan and Spain took similar measures that strengthened their states' national common identities before foreign threats. The explanations given to justify these radical measures were based on rumours and black legends that displayed both Kirishitan and Morisco as rebels or enemies, and therefore subjected to legitimate violence by the state. The differences between both cases are most apparent in the way that each state viewed these minorities following the persecutions. In Japan, propaganda of the potential threat of the Kirishitan continued and escalated until the Meiji period, while in Spain, many protested at first and then tried to forget it as soon as possible. The divergent historical evolution of the states from the seventeenth century onward helps to explain these differences. Despite the religious persecution of the Kirishitan and Morisco being simultaneous, they have not yet been systematically viewed from a global point of view. Relations between Portugal and Japan and between Spain and Japan, through the Phillippines and Mexico, were quite close at the time, and we cannot rule out that King Philip III of Spain served as a reference for the Tokugawa to implement their anti-Christian measures. In any case, it is just not a temporal coincidence that religious minorities were wiped out in both Japan and Spain during this concrete period. This must be analysed from a global perspective of the intolerance and religious wars that extended during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In this paper, I will reconsider the global significance of these events that happened at both tips of the Eurasian continent with the aim of closing the historical gap that separates the discourse around them.

panel S7_30
Christian Histories: Space, Organisation and Global Comparison