Paul Miki

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Baroque representation of St. Paul Miki in the Church of St. Martin, Bamberg

Paul Miki ( Japanese パ ウ ロ 三 木 , Pauro Miki ; * around 1565 in Kyoto ; † February 5, 1597 in Nagasaki ) was a Japanese Catholic missionary , Jesuit and martyr . In the Catholic Church he is one of the patron saints of Japan.


Paul Miki, a Jesuit , helped spread the Christian faith in Japan after Franz Xavier . He entered the order at the age of 22 and was one of the locals who were prepared by the Jesuits for proselytizing in Japan. From 1587 the first Christians were persecuted .

The ruler of Japan at the time was Toyotomi Hideyoshi . He himself believed in Buddhism and Shinto , but he was initially tolerant of Christianity. Initially, religious tolerance was even part of his policy. He expected that tolerance of Christianity might be conducive to foreign trade. However, after visiting Kyushu , where many Christians lived at the time, he changed his religious policy in 1587 and banned the Christian faith. However, no Christians were initially persecuted and the orders could continue to be active. The Shogun's view of the nearby Philippines and the fear of the connection between Christianity and European colonial policy were one of the reasons that Hideyoshi once again wrote a ban against Christianity in 1596.

Crucifixion in Nagasaki

Paul Miki was arrested in Osaka in December 1596 along with other Christians. All were Franciscans and Jesuits , or belonged to the Third Order of St. Francis. First they were brought to Kyoto . On January 10th, Hideyoshi ordered the execution of 24 Christians in Nagasaki . There were Japanese, Spaniards, Mexicans and Portuguese. They had to walk from Kyoto to Nagasaki in winter without shoes. Two more men were arrested on the way to Nagasaki for walking with them. There were also several youths among those arrested. The following sentence has been passed down from a thirteen-year-old whom the governor wanted to dissuade from his faith with the promise of great honor:

The joys and honors of life are but foam on the water, like the morning dew on the grass. The joys and honors of heaven, on the other hand, are immortal.

In Nagasaki, they were confessed by a Jesuit. There was a curfew on the day of the execution, but around 4,000 people came to the place of execution. They were crucified in Nagasaki on February 5th at 10 a.m. and are believed to be the first Christian martyrs in Japan. Pope Urban VIII beatified Paul Miki and his companions in 1627. In 1862, after the confession of the Catholic Church in Japan was readmitted, Pope Pius IX spoke . sacred to the martyrs of Nagasaki .

Remembrance day


Paul Takashi Nagai , who went down in history as the “saint of Urakami” , survivor of the atomic bombing on Nagasaki and author of the work “The Bells of Nagasaki” , gave himself the baptismal name “Paul” after Paul Miki when he converted to Catholicism .

Web links

Commons : Paul Miki  - collection of images, videos and audio files