Dr. James Asher is blogging from his trip to Japan.
Dr. James Asher, see here in front of the Nagano Zenkoji Buddhist temple, is blogging from his trip to Japan.

This is part one in a series of blogs from Dr. Asher’s trip to Japan. 

Practically missed my flight to Tokyo… a little something about mixup between “am” and “pm” on the reservation from Phoenix. Thanks Lord for helping me catch this before it was too late. The most distressing aspect is that I always wonder if stuff like this means I’m getting closer to needing permanent placement.

Christianity in Asia has been a long and bitter struggle. One thinks of St. Francis Xavier, S.J., and many more who will likely never see canonization but are still great heroes of the faith, such as Fr. Robert di Nobili, S.J. in India, Fr. Matteo Ricci, S.J. in China, and Bro. Bento de Goes, S.J., who discovered Cathay and China were the same after an epic journey over the Silk Road. He was looking for lost Catholics — alas, they turned out to be Buddhists.

These heroes gave much of their lives in heartbreaking efforts to convert Asia, only to see alot of it dissipated over politics and jealousy. And persecution – which is ongoing in many large areas.

Those coming after St. Francis Xavier in 1549, found a Japanese population contemptuous of European civilization. Yet they had great admiration for Catholicism and upon conversion, became very stout hearted Christians. By 1597 when the martyrdoms began, there may have been a half-million Catholics throughout Japan, many in Nagasaki, which I will be visiting in the next few days. I hope to see my friend, Fr. Renzo de Luca, S.J., the curator the 26Martyrs Museum, who will give us a guided tour. Go on one yourself at  https://www.26martyrs.com/.

After Commodore Perry’s visit to Japan in 1853, when it was relatively safe to do so, Protestant missionaries began proselytizing in Japan, but they made little headway with Catholics who had criteria for recognizing a Catholic priest, even though they had not seen one for the better part of 250 years. A Catholic priest would be celibate, he would venerate Mary, and he would be obedient to the Papa-sama in Rome.

Almost 400 years after the arrival of Francis Xavier, the descendants of these many martyrs suffered through an atom bomb attack. But miraculously, something wonderful in Nagasaki, related to St. Maximilian Kolbe, survived. Read more at: