UST honors Japanese ‘samurai-saint’

Secretary General Rev. Fr. Jesus MIranda, O.P. blesses the statue of Japanese 'samurai-saint' Justo Takayama Ukon. Photo by Maria Charisse Ann G. Refuerzo

THE UNIVERSITY paid tribute to the newly beatified Justo Takayama Ukon in solemn rites at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex last March 28.

The event saw the unveiling of a new marker beside the Japanese samurai’s statue at the entrance of the Graduate School. The marker narrates Takayama’s Catholic devotion.

Secretary General Fr. Jesus Miranda O.P., who led the dedication rites, said Takayama’s Catholic faith should serve as an example to Thomasians.

“[Takayama] was a Japanese but he died in the Philippines because of his faith. Magagawa rin ba natin ‘yun?” Miranda told the Varsitarian. “We are all called to be blessed. Learn to give up your life and offer it to God,” he said.

Miranda also said the event would pave the way for deeper studies on Philippine-Japanese relations. “In this way, we could get funds, grants, endowments and scholars na mananaliksik pa sa Philippine-Japanese relations,” he said.

Graduate School Dean Marilou Madrunio echoed Miranda, describing the saint as a “symbol of peace and friendship.”

Ernesto de Pedro, managing trustee of the Lord Takayama Ukon Jubilee Foundation, said Ukon’s canonization would depend on the efforts of seminaries and dioceses both in the Philippines and Japan.

Takayama was beatified in Osaka, Japan last February 7, in ceremonies led by Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s ‎Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Born in 1552, Ukon was a daimyo or feudal lord who converted to Christianity amid the rise of anti-religious sentiment in Japan. He used his status to support the Jesuit mission in the country.

Known as the Japanese “servant of God,” he was exiled to Manila in 1614 after refusing to renounce his faith during the Christian persecution in his home country. He died after 40 days.


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