The Jesuit Missionary. Europe Discovers Japan

SERIES: From Rome to the rest of the world. Tales from a past that lives on - Under the aegis of Francesco Benigno, professor of Modern History, Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa 
DATEThursday 30 November, 6pm 
PLACE: Palazzo Venezia, Sala del Refettorio

On 22 March 1585, after a long journey through Europe, four young Japanese “ambassadors” arrived in Rome. They were received by Gregory XIII and the surprise and curiosity in the city were extraordinary. It was the first time that Rome discovered Japan, “those who are at the antipodes”, as a contemporary diarist wrote. The Tenshō mission, as it was called, was to make known Europe, Christianity and the universality of the Catholic Church triumphant to Japan. The message preached by missionaries in Japan was thus to be verified by direct experience and then recounted at home. The author of this strategy of mutual knowledge was the Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano (1539-1606), also the author of a valuable text that taught missionaries the ceremonial to follow in Japan.


Since 2001 Irene Fosi has been full professor of Modern History, Università Gabriele D’Annunzio, Chieti-Pescara. She previously taught at the “Sapienza” Università di Roma and the Università della Calabria. She was a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung at various German universities. She has dealt with justice and society in Italy in the modern age, the Roman court and religious conversion in the Baroque age. Her monographs include: “La società violenta. Il banditismo nello Stato Pontificio nella seconda metà del Cinquecento”, (Edizioni dell’Ateneo, 1985); “All’ombra dei Barberini. Fedeltà e servizio nella Roma barocca”, (Bulzoni, 1997); “La giustizia del papa. Sudditi e tribunali nello Stato Pontificio in età moderna”, (Laterza, 2007. Eng. trans. Papal Justice. Subjects and Court in the Papal State, 1500-1750, Washington D.C. 2011); “Convertire lo straniero. Stranieri e Inquisizione a Roma in età moderna”, (Viella, 2011; Eng. trans. Leiden-Boston, 2020).