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Miguel Chijiwa

Miguel CHIJIWA who was born to Naokazu CHIJIWA, was baptized in 1580, and entered Seminario (Seminary), and had been studying to become a priest. Miguel was chosen as one of the senior missionaries representing Sumitada ŌMURA, a Christian feudal lord, by Alessandro Valignano.

A year after their return to Japan in 1590, they had an audience with Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI. Hideyoshi was fond of the boys and offered to serve for him, however, they all declined the offer to continue with their studies. Later, he went to Noviciado in Amakusa and went to collegio to become a priest. On July 25, 1593, he joined the Society of Jesus with the other three members of the envoy.

He withdrew from the Society of Jesus by 1601 and referred to himself as Seizaemon. He later married, renounced his religion, and lived in Nagasaki, but faced many ordeals. It is unclear the reason why Miguel renounced religion. Recent studies show the possibility that the renouncement of religion was fake and Miguel actually kept his belief in Christianity to the end of his life.

A graveyard which is thought to be of Seizaemon and his wife built by his son Genba, was found in 2003 (prof. Kazuhisa ŌISHI announced it on February 28 of the same year) at Tarami-cho, Nishisonogi-gun, Nagasaki Prefecture (the present Isahaya City). 

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