ASSESSMENT OF THE
WAR IN THE
: CHURCH AND
COLLABORATION IN THE
Abstract: When the Japanese invaded Joseon (an ancient Korean dynasty from 1392 to 1897) at the end of the sixteenth century, a Spanish Jesuit priest, Gregorio de Céspedes, S.J.
(1551–1611), stayed in the Japanese fortress in Ungcheon with Japanese soldiers. While Céspedes is celebrated as the first European who allegedly came with an evangelical vision of proselytizing the native Koreans, previous scholarship has inadequately acknowledged Céspedes’ role without consideration of his concrete actions in the Japanese fortress and of the broader context of sixteenth–century Spanish colonial expansion. An examination of the Jesuit mission to sixteenth-century Japan, the role of the Spanish chaplains and their activities in foreign expeditions, and Céspedes’ activities in Joseon indicate that Céspedes was not a missionary sent to Korea, but rather an active chaplain (for the Japanese soldiers) who played a role in the larger development of church and state collaboration under Spanish colonialism.
Key Words: The Sixteenth Century, Christianity, Imjin War, the Japanese Invasion, Céspedes, Hideyoshi, Jesuits, Korea, Spanish Colonialism, Mission
Seung Ho Bang
Baylor University, Waco, Texas, U.S.A.
Email: [email protected]
Just off the southeastern coast of the U.S., Fort Frederica of St.
Simons Island is a historic place preserving not only the mid-eighteenth- century’s British colonial settlement, but also the first stop of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, on American soil.1 Visitors to the fort seldom recognize the fact that there was a strong missionary presence in the English settlements during the American expedition in the eighteenth century. This phenomenon describes a particular kind of colonialism in which conquest went hand in hand with evangelism. This model of colonization is, in fact, preceded by a similar European practice dating to the sixteenth century. Besides the numerous examples of “conquistadors”
during the early- to mid-sixteenth century, a similar phenomenon also occurred when a Jesuit priest was present among the Japanese armies. At the turn of the sixteenth century, Japan invaded Joseon2 and began the Imjin War (the invasion of Joseon). One of the two leading Japanese commanders in the invasion was a Christian who commanded many Japanese Christian daimyō (territorial lords) and soldiers. Among them was a Spanish Jesuit named Gregorio de Céspedes, S.J., who stayed in the Japanese fortress in Joseon during the Imjin War. The presence of the Jesuit priest at the Japanese fortress raises several critical questions: What is the nature of Céspedes’ presence in the Japanese international military expedition? How do we understand his work in the Japanese fortress in Joseon within the larger framework of the sixteenth-century Spanish colonial expansion? Finally, what implications does his stay have for Korean, Japanese, and Spanish church histories?
Previously, sporadic brief assessments of Céspedes’ role in the Japanese invasion of Joseon are not based on critical evaluation of the evidence. These assessments can be roughly subdivided into two contras- ting views. One group of scholars, who are predominantly Protestants arguing for Céspedes’ role in the Japanese fortress as a military chaplain,3 is reluctant to make a systematic statement apart from arguing that nei- ther the Japanese army nor Céspedes introduced Christianity to Joseon but that the initial introduction of Christianity to Joseon occurred two decades later.4 The other major group, mostly comprised of Catholic scholars, has made a significant step forward in establishing that Céspedes was not a military chaplain, but a missionary.5 Although this group is not well organized, one of its proponents, Chul Park, argues that Céspedes’ purpose was purely missionary in nature—to convert the native Koreans and spread the Gospel.6 In this way, Park strives to defend the significance of Céspedes’ visit in the Korean Christian history, interpreting Céspedes as the first European who came to Korea as the result of an ongoing evangelical effort of the Jesuits. Otherwise, this title more likely belongs to a Protestant missionary. Regardless of one’s position, however, the
absence of the broader sixteenth-century Spanish colonial context undermines the scholarly contribution of the previous discussions of the role of Céspedes in the Japanese fortress. In other words, in order to achieve a proper understanding of Céspedes’ role in the Japanese fortress in Joseon, we should consider the milieu that led to Céspedes’ visit to Joseon as well as the role of Spanish chaplains during that time period.
But most importantly, we should closely examine his life and work in Joseon within the context of the Jesuit missions of late-sixteenth-century Japan.7, 8
The Jesuit Missionaries in Sixteenth-Century Japan
Most historians consider that following Oda Nobunaga, the successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537–1598) regarded the Christians with favor at first.9 Nonetheless, his foreign policy and attitude later on indicate that Hi- deyoshi deemed the foreign religion as a source of danger.10 In the mean- time, Hideyoshi cleverly took advantage of the Western Christian missio- naries and the Japanese Christian daimyō. Hideyoshi’s attitude toward the missionaries, however, suddenly changed, and he issued an edict on July 24, 1587 that ordered missionaries to leave Japan within twenty days.11 There are diverging interpretations as to what triggered Hideyoshi’s sudden antagonism toward Christian missionaries.12 One possible expla- nation would be Hideyoshi’s anti-European attitude toward their colonial efforts.13
This assumption has some credibility because the Western missionaries evinced chauvinistic cultural imperialism over Japanese indigenous culture. For instance, some Jesuit missionaries, such as Francisco Cabral, S.J., Gaspar Coelho, S.J., and Luís Fróis, S.J., not only instructed Japanese Christians to destroy the Buddhist temples against Japanese will, but the missionaries themselves also actively participated in the sabotage.14 Despite the Jesuits’ knowledge of the order from Alessan- dro Valignano, S.J. to respect Buddhism,15 the Jesuits reported that they found great pleasure in devastating the temples.16 Consequently, even though the Jesuit’s attitude toward the Japanese indigenous religions might not have been the core issue for Hideyoshi, the incident of destroying the Japanese indegenous religions most likely provided a substantial motive to produce the edict. When the edict was issued, Coelho tried to avert the decree and indeed succeeded in buying time, delaying the enactment of the edict from twenty days to six months.17 In the mean- time, the Jesuit missionaries refrained from all public exercises of their ministries.18 Far from the Jesuits’ expectation, when Jesuit delegates visi- ted Hideyoshi in Osaka at the end of six months, they only confirmed Hideyoshi’s previous position of not allowing the missionaries to stay in Japan yet assuring the safety of Western merchant ships.19 But this time, Hideyoshi further indicated that Christianity was not suitable for the
Japanese.20 Hideyoshi’s antagonism was soon realized in his destruction of the Jesuit residences in Osaka, Sakai, and Kyoto, along with the destruction of twenty-two churches.21 Meanwhile, Hideyoshi’s attention turned to the Joseon expedition, in which many Christian daimyō played significant roles. In fact, the Japanese army of the Joseon invasion was led by two prominent generals who practiced two different religions. Konishi Yukinaga (1555–1600) was a Christian and another commander, Kato Kiyomasa, was a Buddhist. In Konishi’s division, there were four Christian daimyō, and they governed nearly two thousand Christian soldiers out of the eighteen thousand in all of Konishi’s division. The Imjin War began on April 14, 1592 and lasted until the death of Hideyoshi in 1598.22
In this socio-political milieu, Céspedes and a Japanese companion, Hankan León, went to Joseon at the invitation of a daimyō. It was 1593 when the Vice-Provincial Pedro Gómez, S.J. chose Céspedes for the pas- toral care of the Japanese Christians deployed in Joseon. Céspedes and Hankan stayed in Konishi’s fortress, the Ungcheon (aka Komunkai) fortress, when they were in Joseon. Nevertheless, they could not remain in Joseon as long as they wanted to because Kato tipped off Hideyoshi re- garding the presence of Christian priests in Konishi’s fortress.23 Therefore, Céspedes was only able to spend a little more than a year in Joseon, i.e., until April or May of 1595.24 In spite of his short-lived stay, Céspedes has been celebrated as the first European to set his foot on Korean soil25 without close examination what he did while he stayed in Joseon.
The Concept of the Chaplaincy in the Sixteenth Century Spanish Expeditions
Park argues that Céspedes was not a chaplain. He builds his argument on the circumstance of the Jesuit’s evangelical activities during the sixteenth century while creating distance between Céspedes and both the Imjin War and Spanish colonialism.26 In short, the basic argument of Park is that Céspedes did not go to Joseon with the official capacity of serving as a chaplain to Japanese soldiers; Konishi invited Céspedes as a civilian priest who took care of the Japanese Christian soldiers.
Unfortunately, Park’s argument begins with a false assumption that assesses the role of Céspedes in Joseon. Park narrowly focuses on the evan- gelical intention of Céspedes’ mission—a hypothetical reconstruction at best. What ought to drive this argument should be what Céspedes did while in Joseon, not what he wished for personally, or as a Jesuit representative. To do justice to Céspedes’ role in Konishi’s fortress in Joseon, we first have to turn our attention to the question of who chaplains were and what their duties entailed during the sixteenth century.
According to the modern definition of the term, a military chaplain is a member of the military personnel who has been ordained as a minister.27
The duties of the chaplain are to provide for the spiritual needs of the military community. That is, the chaplain ministers to a particular group—
military personnel.28 Within this particular community, the main role of chaplains, in cases of war, “is to raise morale and to convince personnel that God is on their side.”29 In a limited sense, these two criteria are helpful in clarifying the role of Céspedes because he ministered to a mi- litary community, and though it is difficult to pinpoint, we might be able to find textual evidence in the currently available sources that he raised the morale of the Japanese soldiers or performed other similar activities.
The concept of a chaplain in the sixteenth-century Spanish colonial days would have been similar to the earliest use of the term “chaplain”
during the fourth century.30 The presence of clergymen in military and commercial expeditions was widely practiced in the sixteenth century.31 Among the numerous examples of this phenomenon, Juan Díaz’s activities are particularly noteworthy. In 1518, Díaz accompanied the Yucatan expedition of Juan de Grijalva.32 Díaz served as Grijalva’s chaplain and wrote a chronicle of the expedition. Later, he returned to Mexico with Hernán Cortés (1485–1547).33 Díaz not only conducted ministerial work, but also actively involved himself in the expedition’s goals. At some point in the expedition with Grijalva, Díaz complained about Grijalva’s lack of initiative.34 In fact, it is not surprising that a conquistador attributed the failure of the expedition to the lack of priests.35
A socio-political perspective sheds light on another dimension of the missionaries in the context of Spanish colonialism. The effort of the missionaries to convert non-Christian natives was part of a bigger political agenda. Conversion was a legal requirement for justifying conquest.36 The collaboration of church and state, known as patronato real, helps us to correctly comprehend what lay behind the role of missionaries during the sixteenth century. The hierarchical structure of the viceregal adminis- tration of Colonial New Spain during 1519–1786 well illustrates this rela- tionship. Eclesiástico, a local office of parish ministers and monasteries, was under the “Vice-Patron,” one of the five offices of viceroy of New Spain.37 In this political division, the kings appointed the higher church dignitaries, while viceroys and governors nominated parish priests.38 This church and state collaboration was designed to conceal political and terri- torial motivations under a religious guise; thus, their colonial ambitions were called the Sacred Expedition.39 The collaboration was established in 1508 by Pope Julius II (1443–1513) with his Papal Bull, Universalis Ecclesiae.40 According to the binding relationship between church and state in the bull,
The state assumed responsibility for the conversion of the natives in return for papal support of the Crown’s colonial expansion and concessions permitting royal intervention in ecclesial affairs of the colonies.41
The collaboration between church and state can be seen during the subsequent eighteenth century. For example, the priests and the Fran- ciscans in California had a completely symbiotic relationship with the Spanish civil government — as if they were an extension of the govern- ment.42 George Tinker states,
The [eighteenth-century] missionaries were di- rectly on the payroll of the viceroy and effectively functioned as a branch of the civil service in their mission endeavors.43
Therefore, we can safely conclude that Céspedes, regardless of his pure religious intention of proselytizing native Japanese and Koreans, was a small piece within the larger Spanish socio-political puzzle. That is, he could not have decided what he wanted to do; he took on a more restricted religious role in Spanish colonialism.
Accordingly, in this Spanish colonial period, the concept of military chaplain is obviously different than that of modernity. The sixteenth- century chaplain most likely would not have held two different offices:
ministerial and military capacities. They could be appointed by a higher ecclesiastical office to accompany a certain group of explorers. Theo- retically, even Universalis Ecclesiae made it possible that a local colonial official could appoint and/or hire a clergyman as his chaplain. With these considerations in mind, Park’s apologetic attempt to view of Céspedes’
visitation of Joseon with an evangelical perspective cannot be substan- tiated. Even Konishi’s personal invitation can be broadly situated within the conventions of sixteenth-century Spanish colonialism.
Céspedes’ Ministry in Joseon
According to the documents recovered by Park, Céspedes and his companion Hankan reached Ungchoen on December 28, 1593.44 It was a time when Japanese armies were retreating to Joseon’s southern coast and constructing seventeen fortresses there.45 Most scholars have seen Ko- nishi’s reason to take a priest from the Jesuit order during the Imjin War from a religious dimension; the Christian daimyō and their soldiers were needed to perform their annual religious duties.46 From the documents written by Céspedes’ contemporary Jesuits,47 we learn that Konishi re- quested the Vice-Provincial Gómez to dispatch a priest to his fortress in Joseon. In his request, Konishi did not specify Céspedes. It seems that the Vice-Provincial made a decision to send Céspedes and his Japanese compa- nion. Gómez might have known that Konishi and Céspedes already knew each other and that they had worked together before.48 A Japanese scho- lar, however, provides a radically different perspective from the above- mentioned one. According to Yanagida Toshio, the Jesuits sent Céspedes to Joseon in order to get him out of Nagasaki after his alleged involvement
with the trafficking of Japanese girls.49 In any case, this process generally fits into the aforementioned concept of the Spanish chaplain during the sixteenth century. Regardless of the possibility that Konishi had fore- knowledge about Universalis Ecclesiae, Konishi as a high-ranking Japanese commander in chief exercised the same role as conquistadors, who customarily took priests on their expeditions. Japanese scholars support this explanation by arguing that Konishi’s invitation of a Jesuit priest was an extension of his effort to change the defeatist mentality of the soldiers who were stuck in the prolonged war and to boost their morale with the hopes of winning the battle.50 In fact, this is not the first time that Konishi invited Céspedes (as a priest) to his jurisdiction. Previously, in 1586, Céspedes had worked in Shodoshima before the Imjin War.51
What Céspedes did upon his arrival at Konishi’s fortress in Ungcheon substantiates the point that Céspedes was Konishi’s personal chaplain.
Céspedes’ pastoral work was exclusively for Japanese Christian soldiers.
Céspedes’ second letter written in Joseon in 1594 informs this critical aspect of his ministerial work.52 Céspedes began his ministry when Konishi arrived in the fortress. Before that, he had not been able to visit anyone due to Konishi’s request. This demand is probably based on the fact that not all the Japanese soldiers were Christians and Hideyoshi’s expulsion edict was still in effect.53 After Konishi’s arrival, Céspedes could begin his ministry and was able to go out of the Ungcheon fortress at various times.
Yet all of these occasions were to visit other Japanese fortresses and their Christian daimyō.54 Therefore, Céspedes’ ministerial work was restricted by Konishi, and Céspedes faithfully observed Konishi’s authority. Sig- nificantly, the Vice-Provincial Gómez’s summary of Céspedes’ stay in Joseon up to October 1594 remarks on this fact.55
Since Céspedes’ pastoral work was limited to the Japanese Christian soldiers,56 his ministry would hardly have extended to native Koreans. In fact, pastoral care for Japanese soldiers was his specified duty, which he successfully carried out. Even if Céspedes wanted to meet the native Koreans to convert them, his wish could not have been realized because of Konishi’s restrictions: Céspedes was kept in confinement in the fortress among the Christian daimyō.57 Furthermore, his presence with the Japa- nese invaders would have greatly hindered him from proselytizing the native Koreans if he had ever had a chance to meet any Koreans.58 Cés- pedes was most likely considered as a Spanish collaborator in the Japanese invasion. During that time, the native Koreans retreated by the order of the king, without making any contact with the Japanese.59 It would have been virtually impossible for Céspedes to encounter and interact with native Koreans, except possibly for limited chances to meet Korean POWs who were providing forced labor for the construction of the fortresses. If this were the case, Céspedes would have likely described the purported episodes of the proselytization of native Koreans in his letters in order to report his ministry in Joseon. Such an event would probably have had a
tremendous impact on the justification of the Jesuits’ visiting Joseon and organizing further systematic evangelical work. Ruiz-de-Medina, S.J. men- tions that Céspedes would have wished to convert the native Koreans be- cause he witnessed the positive results of evangelizing some Korean cap- tives in Arima and Omura.60 Even so, Ruiz-de-Medina clearly indicates that evangelizing native Koreans was merely Céspedes’ dream.61 Céspedes was silent regarding his ministry to native Koreans. Therefore, at this point we do not have any direct testimony that he met and ministered to Koreans.62
Despite all of these pieces of evidence that support Céspedes’ role as a chaplain working for the Japanese and not the Koreans, Ruiz-de-Medina greatly praises Céspedes’ pastoral work in Joseon because he thinks that Céspedes laid a possible stepping-stone for evangelizing Ming (an ancient Chinese dynasty from 1368 to 1644). In fact, this is the most critical point that reveals Céspedes’ role as a chaplain and his taking advantage of sixteenth-century colonialism. Ruiz-de-Medina notes, “Céspedes had been called to [Joseon] to do his pastoral work, but he did more than that (italics added).”63 This statement presumably implies that Céspedes was part of a larger political agenda, of which he most likely was not ignorant.
Furthermore, Céspedes’ observations about life in the fortress in his second letter written in Joseon confirm his role as a chaplain. Céspedes writes:
All these Christians are very poor, and suffer from hunger, cold, illness and other inconveniences very different from conditions in other places. Although Hideyoshi sends food, so little reaches here that it is impossible to sustain all with them, and moreover the help that comes from Japan is insufficient and comes late. It is now two months since ships have come, and many crafts were lost.64
As in the cases of the chaplains associated with the Mesoamerican expeditions by the early-sixteenth-century Spanish, the chaplains were not only concerned about soldiers’ spiritual needs and the conversion of the indigenous populace in the conquered territories, but also the success of the expeditions. This portion of Céspedes’ letter illustrating life in the fortress corresponds well to these constituent characteristics of chap- laincy during the sixteenth century. Although Céspedes mainly mentions food, in fact, logistics is one of the most important elements that allow a military expedition to continue and eventually achieve its objective.
Interestingly, a contrasting ethos can be observed in the testimony of a Japanese monk, Keinen, who came to Joseon with Japanese soldiers during the invasion.65 He illustrated the terrible life of native Koreans in Joseon during the war although he was from the Japanese side. Additionally, as Céspedes specifically mentions that the ships carrying the supplies from Japan were lost, his view represents that of the Japanese invaders; he con-
sidered Joseon’s naval activities that destroyed the Japanese ships carrying supplies as a hindrance to maintaining life in the fortresses. Ironically, the admiral Yi Sunsin (1545–1598), who led Joseon’s naval force and inflicted heavy damage upon Japanese navy, reported the Japanese activity in the fortresses, which presents a radically different look at what the Japanese were doing while they were retreating to the southern coast of Joseon.
The admiral wrote on March 10, 1594:
Even today the ferocious Japanese hordes, far from stopping their brutalities, still occupy the southern coasts instead of sailing home as they kill, rape, and steal in a [crueler] manner than before.66
This assessment regarding the Japanese retreat to the southern part of Joseon is quite different from that of Céspedes. Did Céspedes have a different perspective of the Imjin War or the actions of the Japanese because he was on a different side from the admiral?
Although letters sent from Fróis to Valignano and Gnecchi-Soldo Organtino, S.J. to Claudio Acquaviva, S.J. may not represent the official political position of the Jesuits,67 their correspondence indicates that the Jesuit missionaries tried to take advantage of or win Hideyoshi’s favor by helping his Ming and Joseon expeditions.68 According to Gonoi Takashi, Jesuit missionaries provided military assistance to Christian daimyō in Southern Kyushu in an attempt to maintain and to extend Jesuit influence.69 Gonoi interprets this political involvement as an extension of Jesuit missionary policy70 and argues that Céspedes’ presence in Joseon is closely related to this Jesuit political participation in Japan and in the Imjin War.71 He comes to this conclusion based on the purpose of Cés- pedes’ deployment to Joseon and his activities there: Céspedes was dis- patched to Joseon in order to boost the morale of Japanese Christian sol- diers.72 Céspedes’ letter to the Portuguese commander Diego Lόpez de la Mesa in Mexico, written in 1597, confirms this position.73 In the letter, Cés- pedes mentions that he was dispatched to Joseon in order to minister to around two thousand Japanese Christian soldiers. Again, his primary func- tion was to minister to the Japanese Christian soldiers, not to the native Koreans. The intention of evangelizing Joseon was more likely a bi-pro- duct of the Imjin War, if it occurred at all.
Park argues against the assertion that the Jesuits in Japan did not actually help Hideyoshi’s invasion of Ming and Joseon for the purpose of getting permission to evangelize in the two countries. He observes that this strategy simply did not accord with the Jesuits’ missionary policy.
Park’s apologetic interpretation of the Jesuits’ activities in Japan, however, is unfounded, because he disregards the very policy that Spaniards exe-
cuted on the other side of the world during the early-sixteenth century.74 His faulty argument begins with the assumption that Gaspar Vilela, S.J.
had already planned the mission to Joseon in 1566. Instead of presenting historical or textual evidence, Park quickly jumps to the conclusion that Céspedes’ visit was the result of the Jesuits’ ongoing missionary efforts in Joseon.75 Why is the argument of continuity so important? According to this line of thought, we arrive at one of the most significant historical landmarks—that Céspedes was the first European to set foot on the Korean Peninsula and that he was also the first Westerner who brought the gospel to Joseon, as his visit was the first fruit of the Jesuits’ long-cherished endeavor. Undoubtedly, based on the currently available documentation, Céspedes was most likely the first European who visited Joseon. But was he a missionary? What do we know of Céspedes’ role? Following Gonoi’s approach, this should be reconstructed on the basis of what Céspedes did in Joseon.
Park employs Ruiz-de-Medina’s eight points in order to prove that Céspedes was not a military chaplain for the Japanese Christians in Joseon.
The eight points are: (1)Céspedes was among the persons expelled by Hideyoshi’s edict promulgated in 1587; (2)Céspedes was dispatched to Konishi’s fortress in order to help the Japanese Christian soldiers perform their basic religious obligations, but no one officially appointed him as a chaplain to them; (3)Céspedes did not come to Joseon with Konishi when he invaded Joseon, but Céspedes came with the Japanese soldiers while they were retreating to the southern coast of Joseon and sought a peaceful outcome to the expedition with Ming; (4)Céspedes’ presence was kept secret; (5) Céspedes was isolated from the Japanese soldiers and was only in contact with Christians who wanted to have Holy Communion;
(6)Céspedes left the Ungcheon fortress only in order to visit other Japanese Christian daimyō; (7)Céspedes ministered to ordinary Japanese Christian soldiers only during the night in order to keep his presence secret; and (8)Céspedes did not establish fellowship with other soldiers in the fortress.
Despite Park’s attempt to demonstrate Céspedes’ missionary/non- chaplain status with the abovementioned eight points, these points in rea- lity support the notion that Céspedes was a military chaplain. Not only did virtually no Jesuits leave after the promulgation of Hideyoshi’s edict, but the Jesuits in Japan also seldom stopped what they were doing (although for the sake of safety they tried to avoid any possible conflict with Hideyoshi). From the available documents, Céspedes seems not to have been officially appointed as a military chaplain to the Japanese soldiers in Joseon. But here what is at stake is what Céspedes did, not who appointed him as chaplain at that time. Apparently, Céspedes was dispatched to perform ministerial work for the Japanese Christians in Joseon, and he fulfilled their religious needs. Even though Céspedes was not officially
appointed as a military chaplain to the Japanese soldiers, he was acting like a chaplain.
Furthermore, only those who wanted Holy Communion were allowed to approach Céspedes.76 Céspedes’ ministry was likely focused on serving the military elite. Even though he did not make himself available to or- dinary soldiers, but only made contacts with high officials, it is not le- gitimate to say that he should not be considered as a military chaplain.
The ministerial visit of Francisco de Laguna to Arima Harunobu, a daimyō from Arima, in Joseon also fits into this scenario that the Jesuits worked with the Japanese elite. Park justifies Céspedes’ limited ministry for the Japanese soldiers by arguing that his mission in Joseon was cut short.77 While this statement implicitly acknowledges that Céspedes had not ministered to the native Koreans, Park further argues for the likelihood that Céspedes would have made contact with Korean POWs.78 This spe- culation betrays his previous statement that Céspedes was confined to a certain remote place in Konishi’s fortress, was restricted in his activities, and was living as an unofficial personnel member.
Park also argues that Céspedes was hidden in the high place of the Ungcheon fortress because his presence in Joseon was kept secret. Park seems to think that “secrecy” gives Cépedes an exemption from being a chaplain. Should a chaplain be an officially appointed personnel member and explicitly reveal his identity? One may do that if the situation is allowed. The main reason that the Jesuits and Konishi tried to hide the presence of the Jesuit priest in the Japanese fortress was due to the po- litical situation—Hideyoshi’s expulsion edict—not because Céspedes was not a military chaplain. If the situation were favorable to the Jesuits, then they would have officially dispatched priests and tried to go to Ming through Joseon.
Park’s pro-evangelical evaluation that perceives Céspedes to be the first Western missionary in Joseon who also witnessed Joseon’s de- vastation by the Imjin War and who objectively wrote his account of the events79 cannot be substantiated.80 As mentioned earlier, Yi’s report por- trays a radically different situation. Most of all, Konishi and his soldiers did not come peacefully to Joseon or remain along the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula in order to make a treaty between Joseon and Japan.
They were not diplomatic delegates but rather invaders: the Japanese had retreated into the fortresses in the wake of their losses once Ming became involved in the war. The truth is that the Japanese were the invaders when the Imjin War began, and still they were the invaders. If they had had enough resources, they would have continued to advance towards Ming via the Korean Peninsula.
Since there is no absolute or decisive evidence that Céspedes pro- selytized the native Koreans in Joseon, Park goes around the center of the issue—what Céspedes did while he stayed in Joseon — and argues for Céspedes’ presence in Joseon by extrapolating from his ministries before
and after his visit to Joseon.81 Park illegitimately equates or replaces Cés- pedes’ ministerial work for Korean POWs in Japan with his work in the Japanese fortress in Joseon. In fact, Park also acknowledges that
So far no direct evidence testifying that Céspedes spread the gospel to the native Koreans can be found. It is on account of the discovered documents and letters that one cannot help but think that Cés- pedes was only spreading the gospel around the Japanese fortresses.82
Strictly speaking, this statement is also false, since Céspedes stayed in the Ungcheon fortress and only left the fortress in order to visit other Japanese fortresses in Joseon.
Without mentioning the Jesuits’ mission in Mesoamerica along with its larger historical context of Spanish colonialism during the sixteenth century, Park wrongly perceives Céspedes as a missionary who had inten- tions of proselytization and actually proselytized the indigenous Koreans in Joseon. Céspedes may have proselytized Koreans while he was in Japan, but apparently not in Joseon. Céspedes’ unofficial status may not accord with the view that sees Céspedes as a chaplain, but seems to support Park’s opinion that Céspedes was a civilian missionary. Whether one believes that Céspedes was a missionary or chaplain, neither accord with the historical circumstances, as Hideyoshi would have not allowed the Jesuits to accompany his army. Yet, as I have argued above, there is another possibility that solves this quandary: Céspedes was Konishi’s personal chaplain. During the Imjin War, Christian daimyō and their Christian soldiers had been without Communion and confession since they left Japan. It would not have been easy to solve the problem given Hideyoshi’s edict. It is possible that Hideyoshi might have tacitly allowed the Jesuits to send priests. Nonetheless, Konishi’s later reaction following Hideyoshi’s discovery of a Jesuit priest in his army does not support this option either.
One of the viable options is that the Christian daimyō would have un- officially invited the priest as his (their) personal chaplain. As I mentioned earlier, this option is historically feasible. The fact that Céspedes worked in Shodoshima in 1586 and 1596 to convert a population upon Konishi’s request strongly supports this interpretation.83
During the late-nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries, Ja- panese Christians worked along with Japanese imperialism in various places in Southeast Asia. Japanese missionaries’ activities “demonstrate Christian support for Japanese imperialistic policies and also their loyalty to the Japanese state.”84 This practice is not surprising at all, since mo- dernized Japan was imitating the Western imperialism of the same time
period and the prior sixteenth-century example; colonialism worked alongside evangelism.85 Structurally, in the Spanish foreign expeditions, missionaries could be interchangeable with chaplains depending on the contextual demands. Based on this general colonial perspective, we can have a fair assessment of Céspedes’ visit to Joseon. Concerning Céspedes’
historical significance in pre-modern Korean history, it seems an un- arguable fact that Céspedes was the first European who set foot on Korean soil during the Imjin War in the late sixteenth century. Despite many rigorous attempts to assess Céspedes’ presence in Joseon with a positive evangelical perspective, he was most likely called and acted as a chaplain
—there is no direct evidence for the assertion that Céspedes proselytized native Koreans. Céspedes’ activities in Konishi’s fortress, therefore, rule out Park’s argument based on Céspedes’ unseen intention. Furthermore, it seems that Céspedes also took advantage of Japanese military power as an inroad to proselytizing Ming through the Imjin War. Céspedes’ immediate purpose for going to Joseon might have been the proselytization of Joseon, but like Toyotomi’s ultimate goal for the invasion of Joseon, he also possibly considered Joseon as the gateway to Ming. Céspedes probably un- derstood clearly for what purpose he was dispatched to the Japanese military fortress in Joseon and his role in the broader socio-political con- text. Céspedes was a chaplain who had been personally invited by the daimyō, and he continuously functioned in this capacity both before and after the Imjin War, but in different contexts.
1 Korean and Japanese words are transliterated according to the Revised Romanization of Korean and the Romaji Systems unless standardized generic romanized words are formerly known. If there are multiple Romanized notations, I chose one among them. In case of personal names, I also transliterated the names unless romanized name are given by them.
2 In this study, I prefer to use Joseon in order to refer to the name of the state in the Korean Peninsula during the sixteenth century. Nevertheless, I will use
“Korean” to refer to Korean people who lived during the period of the Joseon dynasty. This is the most appropriate way to avoid ethnophaulism, since the word Joseonin was used derogatorily to refer to Koreans by the Japanese imperialists during their illegitimate occupation of Korea (1910–1945) and continues to be used by Japanese ultranationalists nowadays.
3 Alban Butler and Sarah Thomas, Butler’s Lives of the Saints: September (Collegeville:
Liturgical Press, 2000), 191; Jai-Keun Choi, The Origin of the Roman Catholic Church in Korea (Cheltenham: Hermit Kingdom Press, 2006), 16–17; James Grayson, Korea: A Religious History (New York: Routledge, 2002), 140; William Griffis, Corea, the Hermit Nation (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1907), 121; Kim Yangsun, “Imjinwaeran jonggunsinbu seseubeteseuui naehanhwaldonggwa geu yeonghyang.” Sahakyeon- gu 18 (1964): 705–739; Samuel Moffett, A History of Christianity in Asia, Vol. 2 (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1998), 143; Chang-Won Park, Cultural Blending in Korean
Death Rites (London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2010), 195 fn. 2;
Ryoji Torizu, Konishi Yukinaga: “massatsu” sareta Kirishitan daimyō no jitsuzō (Tokyo:
Yagi Shoten, 2010), 152, 327.
4 Griffis, Corea, 123.
5 Antton Egiguren Iraloa, OFM, True Confucians, Bold Christians (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007), 187; López-Gay Jesús, S.J., “Gregorio Céspedes,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald Anderson (New York: Macmillan, 1998), 122; James Murdoch and Isoh Yamagata, A History of Japan: During the Century of Early Foreign Intercourse (1542–1651) (Kobe: The Office of the “Chronicle,” 1903), 348; Chul Park, Seseuppedeseu: hanguk bangmun choecho seoguin (Seoul: Seoganghaksulchongseo, 1993), 37; Park, “Hangukbangmun choecho seoguin seseuppedeseue daehan saeroun pyeongga,” Asian Journal of Latin American Studies (1988): 107–08; Juan Ruiz-de-Medina, S.J., The Catholic Church in Korea: Its origins 1566–1784 (Seoul: Seoul Computer Press, 1991), 48.
6 Park, Seseuppedeseu, 37; Park, “Hangukbangmun choecho seoguin,” 107–08.
7 Takashi Gonoi first employed this approach in his assessment of Céspedes’ role in the Imjin War, although he did not elaborate upon his evaluation. In fact, hardly any of the previous studies viewed Céspedes within a broader socio- religious context. See Takashi Gonoi, “Ilpon Yesuhoewa waeran.” Nuriwa malsseum 6 (1999): 68–94.
8 Gratitude is due to Dr. Myeong Hee Choe, who read and translated several Japanese sources that are crucial to this research. Without her help, I could have not incorporated the Japanese sources and perspectives into this essay.
9 Masaki Anno, “Bateren tsuihōrei,” in Bateren tsuihōrei: 16-seiki no Nichi-Ō taiketsu (Tokyo: Nihon Editā Sukūru Shuppanbu, 1989), 125–27; Mary Berry, Hideyoshi (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982), 92; Otis Cary, A History of Christianity in Japan (Rutland: C. E. Tuttle Company, 1976), 98; Neil Fujita, Japan’s Encounter with Christianity (New York: Paulist Press, 1991), 110; Johannes Laures, The Catholic Church in Japan (Rutland: C. E. Tuttle Company, 1954), 110–11; Moffett, Christianity in Asia, 71; George Sansom, A History of Japan, 1334–1615. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961), 346.
10 George Elison, Deus Destroyed (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973), 112;
Laures, The Catholic Church in Japan, 117; Neil McMullin, Buddhism and the State in Sixteenth-Century Japan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), 229–230;
Sansom, History of Japan, 347.
11 Hideyoshi’s Bateren tsuihōrei バテレン追放令, see the original expulsion edict in either Matsuura ka bunsho 松浦家文書 or Goshuin shi shoku kokaku 御朱印師職古格. Bateren tsuihōrei that I read for this study is from Masaki Anno and Kiichi Matsuda, see Anno, “Bateren tsuihōrei,” 124; Kiichi Matsuda, Toyotomi Hideyoshi to Nanbanjin (Tokyo: Chōbunsha, 1992), 60.
12 Contrary to the abovementioned scholars, another group of scholars, leaves the question of why Toyotomi issued the edict of expulsion more or less unexplained;
see C. R. Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan, 1549–1650 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974), 49–50; Kentarō Miyazaki, “Roman Catholic Mission in Pre- Modern Japan,” in Handbook of Christianity in Japan, ed. Mark Mullins (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 10; Jozef Jennes, A History of the Catholic Church in Japan (Tokyo: Oriens Institute for Religious Research, 1973), 60–61.
13 Cary, Christianity in Japan, 104; Fujita, Encounter with Christianity, 118; Moffett, Christianity in Asia, 81. See Jesuit Francisco Passio’s letter sent to Rome, Matsuda,
Hideyoshi to Nanbanjin, 14–15.
14 Matsuda, Hideyoshi to Nanbanjin, 63–64.
15 Elison, Deus Destroyed, 56–61; Miyazaki, “Roman Catholic Mission,” 8.
16 Matsuda, Hideyoshi to Nanbanjin, 64.
17 Anno, “Bateren tsuihōrei,” 110; Andrew Ross, A Vision Betrayed: The Jesuits in Japan and China, 1542–1742 (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1994), 70.
18 Cary, Christianity in Japan, 107.
19 Matsuda, Hideyoshi to Nanbanjin, 73.
20 Matsuda, Hideyoshi to Nanbanjin, 73.
21 Cary, Christianity in Japan, 109.
22 Samuel Hawley, The Imjin War: Japan’s Sixteenth-Century Invasion of Korea and Attempt to Conquer China (Seoul; Berkeley: Royal Asiatic Society; University of California, 2005), 123, 530; Cary, Christianity in Japan, 115; Sŏng-nyong Yu and Byonghyon Choi, The Book of Corrections (Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, 2002), 44–45, 221–22.
For the ancient Joseon records, see Seonjo Revised Annals (in the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty), from April 14th of the Year 25th (1592) to December 21st of the 31st Year (1598); also see, Sun-sin Yi, Nanjungilgi: War Diary of Admiral Yi Sun-sin, Translated by Tae-hung Ha and Edited by Pow-key Sohn (Seoul: Yonsei University Press, 1977); Sun-sin Yi, Imjinjangcho: Admiral Yi Sun-sin’s Memorials to Court, Edited by Chong-young Lee (Seoul: Yonsei University Press, 1981), 16.
23 Jennes, The Catholic Church in Japan, 66. Also see Torizu, Konishi Yukinaga, 52.
24 Chul Park, Testimonios literarios de la labor cultural de las misiones españolas en el Extremo Oriente: Gregorio de Céspedes (Madrid: Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, 1986), 64–69.
25 Park, Seseuppedeseu, 37; Park, “Hangukbangmun choecho seoguin,” 105–07, 20;
Ruiz-de-Medina, S. J., The Catholic Church in Korea, 47.
26 Ruiz-de-Medina, S. J., The Catholic Church in Korea, 47–48.
27 Richard Hutcheson, The Churches and the Chaplaincy (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975), 19–20.
28 Stephen Ware, “Armed Forces,” in Chaplaincy: the Church’s Sector Ministries, Edited by Giles Legood (London: Cassell, 1999), 59.
29 Stephen Ware, “Armed Forces,” 61.
30 The etiology of the beginning of chaplaincy offers a thought on the sixteenth- century concept of chaplaincy. Nicolas Gervaise, La vie de Saint Martin, Evêque de Tours (Tours: Chez Jean Barthe, 1699), 299. The earliest evidence of the existence of chaplains may go back as early as Constantine the Great, see Bernard S.
Bachrach, Early Carolingian Warfare (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), 147. As Bernard Bachrach argues, however, the systematic use of spiritual help in battle could be attributed to the early Carolingians (see Bachrach, Early Carolingian Warfare, 140–59) or Merovingians (see J. van den Bosch, Capa, basilica, monasterium et le culte de saint Martin de Tours, Étude lexicologique et sémasiologique [Nijmegen: Dekker & Van de Vegt, 1959], 24). The story is usually attributed to St. Martin de Tours (316–397) and his cloak (cappella) carried into battle as the sign of the presence of God. Bosch, Capa, 7–55; George Preble and Charles Asnis, Origin and History of the American Flag, Vol 1. (Philadelphia: N. L.
Brown, 1917), 104; Sulpicius Sévère and Jacques Fontaine, Vie de Saint Martin (Tome II) (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1968), 473–75. For the story of the cloak of St. Martin de Tours, see Régine Pernoud, Martin of Tours: Soldier, Bishop, and Saint (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006), 27–28, 161. Ever since the cappella was considered
as sacred relic of Frankish Gaul, a priest (capellani) went along as custodian of the cappella. Bosch, Capa, 24; Preble and Asnis, The American Flag, 104. Later, some priests involved in religious service on military contexts carried “holy relics (patrocinia sanctorum) into battle for the purpose of winning supernatural support for the army.” Bachrach, Early Carolingian Warfare, 150. According to the story of St. Martin, a priest, who was not a military member, later became a symbol of the cappella and accompanied military campaigns.
31 Roy J. Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army (Washington: Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, 1958), 10–29.
32 Edward Channing, “Critical Essay on the Sources of Information,” in Narrative and Critical History of America, Vol. II, Part 1, Edited by Justin Winsor (Boston: The Riverside Press, 1886), 215.
33 J. Benedict Warren, “An Introductory Survey of Secular Writings in the European Tradition on Colonial Middle America, 1503–1818,” in Handbook of Middle American Indians: Archaeology of Southern Mesoamerica, Vol. 13, Part 2, Edited by Howard Cline (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964), 64.
34 Beatriz Bodmer, The Armature of Conquest (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992), 57.
35 Philip Means, History of the Spanish Conquest of Yucatan and of the Itzas (Cambridge:
The Museum, 1917), 40.
36 Ross Hassig, Mexico and the Spanish Conquest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006), 75.
37 Peter Gerhard, “Colonial New Spain, 1519–1786: Historical Notes on the Evolution of Minor Political Jurisdictions,” in Handbook of Middle American Indians, Vol. 12, Part 1, Edited by Howard Cline (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1972), 64–
69, fig. 2.
38 Gerhard, “Colonial New Spain”, 66.
39 James Sandos, Converting California (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 3.
40 George Tinker, Missionary Conquest (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), 43. Also see John Niles and L. T. Pease, History of South America and Mexico, Vol. 1 (Hartford:
H. Huntington, 1838), 71–72. For a copy of the original Latin text, see Francisco Hernáez, Coleccion de bulas, breves y otros documentos relativos a la iglesia de America y Filipinas, Vol. 1 (Bruselas Vaduz: Klaus Reprint, 1964, 1879), 24–25.
41 Tinker, Missionary Conquest, 43.
42 Tinker, Missionary Conquest, 43.
43 Tinker, Missionary Conquest, 43.
44 Park, Seseuppedeseu, 45; Testimonios literarios, 61–62.
45 Choi, The Roman Catholic Church in Korea, 16; Hawley, The Imjin War, 348; Torizu, Konishi Yukinaga, 149.
46 Park, Seseuppedeseu, 39; Testimonios literarios, 59.
47 See the reports of Gómez, Fróis, Guzmán, Testimonios literarios, 60.
48 Petrucci maintains that the friendship between Konishi and Céspedes might have begun in 1579 in Okayama, see Maria Petrucci, “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Islands of the Gods” (M.A. thesis, The University of British Columbia, 2005), 14.
49 Toshio Yanagida, “Bunroku-Keicho no Eki to Kirishitan Senkyoshi,” Shigaku 52, 1 (1982): 28 n. 14. Boxer mentions that one of the reasons for Hideyoshi’s expulsion edict in 1587 was slave trafficking. C. R. Boxer, “The Affair of the ‘Madre de Deus,’”
in Papers on Portuguese, Dutch, and Jesuit influences in 16th- and 17th-century Japan:
Writings of Charles Ralph Boxer, edited by Michael Moscato (Washington: University
Publications of America, 1979), 45. In another article, he also mentions the Jesuits’
involvement in the slave trafficking, which eventually produced the order that prohibited slave trafficking by the Portuguese King Sebastian in 1570. Also see Boxer, “Some Aspects of Portuguese Influence in Japan, 1542–1640,” in Papers on Portuguese, Dutch, and Jesuit influences in 16th- and 17th-century Japan: Writings of Charles Ralph Boxer, ed. Michael Moscato (Washington: University Publications of America, 1979), 101–02.
50 Gonoi, “Ilpon Yesuhoewa waeran,” 69–73; Torizu, Konishi Yukinaga, 152.
51 Torizu, Konishi Yukinaga, 327.
52 Park, Testimonios literarios, 87.
53 Torizu, Konishi Yukinaga, 152.
54 For example, Park, Seseuppedeseu, 56; Ruiz-de-Medina, S. J., The Catholic Church in Korea, 50.
55 Ruiz-de-Medina, S.J., The Catholic Church in Korea, 50.
56 Choi, The Roman Catholic Church in Korea, 16–17; Charles Dallet, Histoire de l’église de Corée, précédée d’une introduction sur l’histoire, les institutions, la langue, les moeurs et coutumes coréennes (Paris, V. Palmé, 1874), 2, 4.
57 Hawley, The Imjin War, 393.
58 Chai-Shin Yu, The Founding of Catholic Tradition in Korea (Mississauga: Korean and Related Studies Press, 1996), 141.
59 Ruiz-de-Medina, S.J., The Catholic Church in Korea, 203–04. See the letter sent by Valignano to Claudio Aquaviva, the 5th Superior General of the Society of Jesus in Rome, on January 1st, 1593.
60 Ruiz-de-Medina, S.J., The Catholic Church in Korea, 51.
61 Ruiz-de-Medina, S.J., The Catholic Church in Korea, 51.
62 Contra. Ruiz-de-Medina, S.J., The Catholic Church in Korea, 51 fn. 79.
63 Ruiz-de-Medina, S.J., The Catholic Church in Korea, 52.
64 Stephen R. Turnbull, The Samurai and the Sacred, (Oxford; New York: Osprey, 2006), 109; Turnbull, Japanese Castles in Korea (Oxford; New York: Osprey, 2007), 39.
A sentiment similar to that of Céspedes also can be found in Valignano’s letter sent to Claudio Aquaviva on January 1st, 1593. Valignano mentions, “And in addition to that, with the fleets they dispatched by sea, made up of many taller and stronger ships than those of the Japanese, they did much damage to them;
and things reached such a point that in October, when we were setting out from these [Nagasaki], the Japanese were losing hope of succeeding in their enterprise.” Ruiz-de-Medina, S. J., The Catholic Church in Korea, 204.
65 While no Christian priests were officially with the Japanese army, three years later, a Japanese monk, Keinen, came to Joseon as the physician of a general named Ota Kazuyoshi from Usuki and recorded the war in his diary. See, Keinen, Chosen nichinichiki o yomu: Shinshuso ga mita Hideyoshi no Chosen shinryaku (Kyoto:
66 Yi, Imjinjangcho, 162.
67 See Valignano’s letter written on October 17th, 1586 and Organtino’s letter on March 10th, 1589.
68 Gonoi, “Ilpon Yesuhoewa waeran,” 69–73. Contrary to the information that he presents, Gonoi surprisingly concludes that no Jesuits actively supported or justified the Japanese invasion of Joseon. Gonoi, “Ilpon Yesuhoewa waeran”, 90.
69 Gonoi, “Ilpon Yesuhoewa waeran,” 74.
70 Gonoi, “Ilpon Yesuhoewa waeran,” 74.
71 Gonoi, “Ilpon Yesuhoewa waeran,” 86.
72 Gonoi, “Ilpon Yesuhoewa waeran,” 86.
73 Park, Seseuppedeseu, 171–78.
74 Chul Park, “Ilbon yesuhoewa waerane daehan nonpyeong,” Nuriwa malsseum 6 (1999): 95.
75 Chul Park, “Ilbon yesuhoewa waerane daehan nonpyeong,” 95.
76 Chul Park, “Ilbon yesuhoewa waerane daehan nonpyeong,” 97.
77 Chul Park, “Ilbon yesuhoewa waerane daehan nonpyeong,” 98.
78 Chul Park, “Ilbon yesuhoewa waerane daehan nonpyeong,” 98.
79 Chul Park, “Ilbon yesuhoewa waerane daehan nonpyeong,” 101.
80 See Céspedes’ pro-Japanese perspective on the Imjin War in his letters mentioned above.
81 Chul Park, “Ilbon yesuhoewa waerane daehan nonpyeong,” 100.
82 The statement in the quotation is my literal English translation. The original statement written in Korean is not entirely clear. It seems to me that he tries to say the reason why there is no direct record is that Céspedes was only spreading the gospel around the Japanese fortresses. Therefore, my English translation might misrepresent Park’s opinion. Chul Park, “Ilbon mit hangukgwa gwall- yeondoen yesuhoe jaryoui seonggyeok,” In Proceedings of the 16th Conference of Busan Research Institute of Church History (Busan: Busan Research Institute of Church History, 1997), 29–55.
83 Torizu, Konishi Yukinaga, 327. These two reports contradict Boxer’s report that Tadaoki invited Céspedes and that Céspedes worked with him before and after the Imjin War. It is difficult to verify the information regarding Céspedes’ work in either Buzen in 1601 or Shodoshima in 1586 and 1596. At this point, it could be one or two separate incidents but erroneously transmitted into two or three events, or it is entirely possible that Céspedes indeed worked at Shodoshima in 1586 and 1596 after the Imjin War, and Buzen in 1601.
84 A. Hamish Ion, “The Cross under an Imperial Sun,” in Handbook of Christianity in Japan, Edited by Mark Mullins (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 77–82. Also see Ion, The Cross in the Dark Valley, Vol. 3, The Cross and the Rising Sun (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1999), 14–15.
85 While the Japanese army was campaigning in Southeast Asia, Christian chaplains had been with them. Ion, “The Cross under an Imperial Sun,” 77.
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