Two Noble Japanese Boy-Martyrs

February 4, 2021

One league from Jonezava there lived several Christian noblemen belonging to the prince’s court. The more distinguished among them were Anthony Anazava and Ignatius Soiemon. While they were absent, their wives, in order to save them, declared that their husbands were not Christians. But our two heroes, when they heard of this, hastened to go in search of the governor, to let him know that their wives had deceived him. The latter having told them that they should obey the prince, they replied that if the prince wished to be obeyed he had but to order their death and they would be ready to submit to it.

Three days after, Anthony being in a house with soldiers, the latter pressed him to deny the faith, because they had received orders to arrest him in case of refusal. “That is right,” Anthony answered: “do your duty at once.” But as no one dared to put his hand upon him, he took the rope himself and passed it around his neck; then  having put his hands behind his back, he begged them to tie him. Thus bound he went to the house of Ignatius, to whom he said on entering: “Well, friend, what say you about the state in which you see me?” “You never,” answered Ignatius, “appeared to me more worthy of honor than on this day on which you carry the livery of Jesus Christ; I wish to share your glory.” Having said this, he begged and obtained the favor of being bound like Anthony.

Four other noblemen were also arrested, among whom was Paul, the eldest son of Anthony. His two younger sons, Mancio and Michael, the former fourteen, the latter eleven years of age, having come to visit him, he said to them: “As you see, I am bound; are you not also ready to die for Jesus Christ?” “Yes,” they answered, “we are ready.” They presented themselves to the soldiers to be bound; but the latter said to them that if they wished to die with their father, they needed only to follow him.

A short time afterwards, by order of the prince, the men were conducted to another place, where they were beheaded. Their wives, who were also condemned, were taken with their children into the yard of the house that had belonged to Ignatius, where they suffered the same punishment. Mancio and Michael having knelt down to receive the deathblow, the pagans who were present were touched with compassion, and cried out that these boys did not even know why they died; but both answered with firmness: “We die for Jesus Christ.” Whereupon the executioners decapitated at first Mancio, the elder son. Michael, seeing his brother dead, put his hands to his hair to raise it up; at the same moment the executioner cut off with one blow of the saber not only the head, but also the two hands—a spectacle that drew tears from the eyes of those present.

 

Rev. Eugene Grimm, ed. Victories of the Martyrs, vol. 9, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1888), 417–9.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 763

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