Naito Joan

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  • Born: c1549
  • Died: 1626
  • Baptismal Name: João (=John) Japanese: ジョアン, 如安 or 如庵
  • Other names: Tadatoshi, Hida-no-kami 飛騨の守, Tokuan 徳庵
  • Also referred to in various writings as John Naito, John Fujiwara (from the 藤 in Naitô), Konishi Hida-no-kami Joan, Don Juan, Yukiyasu (alternate reading of 如安), etc.
  • Distinction: Christian daimyo, envoy to Peking
  • Japanese: Naitô Joan 内藤 如安 or 如庵

Naito Joan was the son of Matsunaga Jinsukue 松永甚介), brother of Matusnaga Danjô Hisahide 松永久秀. His mother was the daughter of Naitô Sadafusa内藤 定房 of Yagi castle八木城 in Tanba province. His father died when he was a child and his position as heir to Yagi castle seems to have been unstable.

In 1565, when he was about 16, he heard about Christianity from a Christian woman (Constance of Tanba) who had been forced to leave Nagato province. He visited Kyoto and was baptized there. In 1573 he sided with the shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki and then apparently as a result left Tanba. He lived for a while in Aki province with Yoshiaki.

Probably around 1588 he started serving Konishi Yukinaga. During the Korean Invasion Yukinaga was desirous of securing a peace treaty with the Chinese and ending the war quickly. He sent Joan to Peking in 1593 for peace talks, but Joan did not have authority from Hideyoshi, and the talks did not bring about an end to the conflict.

After the Battle of Sekigahara, Yukinaga was executed and his lands in the southern half of Higo province were given to Katô Kiyomasa. Many of Yukinaga's retainers, including the Naitôs, accepted Kiyomasa's invitation to stay and serve him. However about 1602 Kiyomasa tried to force the Christians to join the Nichiren-shû 日蓮宗. Konishi's retainers agreed to go to sermons, but many, including Joan, refused to go further. They were forbidden to leave the province and driven out of their homes to live in the mountains. Eventually outside pressure was brought on Kiyomasa and he allowed them to leave. The next year Joan and his family received an invitation to settle in Kaga province of the Maeda clan doubtless through the influence of Takayama Ukon.

At the end of 1613 Ieyasu promulgated a national anti-Christian edict. At the beginning of the next year Maeda Toshitsune received an order to arrest several important Christian families, including the Takayamas and Naitos, and send them to Kyoto. The Takayamas and Naitôs and some of the women from a convent in Kyoto founded by Joan's sister Julia were send to Nagasaki, and then at the end of the year to Manilla in the Philippines. The Spanish there welcomed them warmly and provided for their support. Joan worked at translating Christian and medical books from Chinese into Japanese and died in 1626. His wife died there a number of years later. Some some of his descendants stayed in the Philippines, but one of his sons apparently went back to Kaga and eventually renounced Christianity. His descendents were registered as Kirishitan Ruizoku 切支丹類族 and kept under surveilance until 1864, apparently much longer than the normal five generations.


Other reading: Kagami Hideaki各務英明, Junkyô: Sengoku Kirishitan Bushô Naitô Joan no Shôgai 殉教: 戦国キリシタン武将・内藤如安の生涯, Asahi Sonorama, 1882.