Augustinian Martyrs of Japan
Ferdinand of Saint Joseph, Andrew Yoshida, Peter Zuñiga, John Shozaburo, Michael Kiuchi Tayemon, Peter Kuhieye, Thomas Terai Kahioye, Mancio Seisayemon, Lawrence Hachizo, Bartholomew Guitierrez, Vincent of Saint Anthony, Francis of Jesus, Martin of Saint Nicholas Lumbreras and Melchior of Saint Augustine Sánchez, Thomas “Kintsuba” Jihyoe of Saint Augustine
Augustinians were first sent in 1602 to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Japan. Many of the Japanese people did become followers of Christ. And many of these Christians were attracted to the Augustinian way of life.
However, around 1617 persecutions of Christians broke out. There were many martyrs, whose deaths gave witness to their faith in Jesus.
Among them were several associated with the Order of Saint Augustine. They were from four countries: Japan, Spain, Portugal and Mexico. Thus, their deaths also gave witness to the universality of the Order and of the Church, where the power of Christ and fraternal bonds were stronger than ties to a particular nation or culture.
Augustinian Fr. Ferdinand of Saint Joseph, along with Andrew Yoshida, a catechist who worked with him, were beheaded in 1617. Fr. Peter Zúniga was burned to death in 1622. Br. John Shozaburo, Oblates Michael Kiuchi Tayemon, Peter Kuhieye, Thomas Terai Kahioye, and Tertiaries Mancio Scisayemon and Lawrence Hachizo were beheaded in 1630. Fr. Bartholomew Gutierrez, Fr. Vincent of Saint Anthony Simoens, Fr. Francis of Jesus Terrero, Fr. Martin of St. Nicholas Lumbreras and Fr. Melchior of St. Augustine Sánchez were burned to death in 1632. Thomas Jihyoe of Saint Augustine in 1637 was hung by his feet with his head inserted into a pit of rotting garbage until he died.
Other Augustinians had also been executed for their Christian faith during this long persecution.