UST fetes first lay Japanese missionary in PH with professorial lecture

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Statue of Justus Takayama Ukon at Plaza Dilao, Paco, Manila (CBCP News)

MANILA, Feb. 26, 2015–The University of Santo Tomas will commemorate the fourth centenary of the martyrdom of Justus Takayama Ukon, the first lay Japanese Christian missionary in the country, with a public lecture on Feb. 28, 2 pm, at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex Auditorium.

The lecturer is Florentino Hornedo, chair holder of the Lord Justus Takayama Professorial Chair on Philippine-Japanese Studies, which was established in 1989 in UST by Ernie De Pedro, a devotee of Takayama.

At present, the Office for Grants, Endowments and Partnerships in Higher Education and the UST Graduate School facilitate the awarding of the esteemed academic position.

Takayama, who lived from 1552 to 1615, was a Japanese Samurai who converted to Christianity during the Sengoku Period. In Japan, he and his father were responsible for the conversion to the faith of their followers.

When in 1614 Catholicism was banned in Japan which resulted in his exile together with around 300 subjects, Takayama moved to the Philippines where he was welcomed by religious missionaries. A short time after his arrival, however, he died of illness in Manila, but has since been honored for his courage to stand by the Catholic faith.

As a tribute, a statue of him, depicted as a warrior with an image of the crucified Christ, was erected in Plaza Dilao in Paco, Manila.

Meanwhile, a renowned scholar, Hornedo teaches Philosophy at the UST Graduate School and is editor of the school’s research journal “Ad Veritatem.” He has a baccalaureate degree in Education, a doctorate in Literature, and post-doctorates in History and Political Science from UST; and master’s degrees in English and Philosophy from St. Louis University.

His awards include the National Catholic Authors Award; Pilak Award for Service to Culture, the Arts and Community from the Cultural Center of the Philippines; Batanes Provincial Achievement Recognition for Cultural and Social Research; and Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Award in the Arts and Humanities; among others. (Levine Andro Lao)

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