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  • Built: 1561, Society of Jesus
  • Rebuilt: 1576
  • Destroyed: 1587
  • Other Names: 珊太満利亜上人の寺 (Santa Maria shounin no tera)
  • Japanese: 南蛮寺 (nanbanji)

Nanban-ji was a Christian chapel built by the Society of Jesus at Shijô-Bômon in Kyoto in 1561. Its name literally means "Southern Barbarian Temple," as Europeans were at that time called "Southern Barbarians" (Nanban).

The temple became a center for Christian and European culture. The propagation of Christianity began to be conducted in earnest around 1559; missionaries continued their efforts even while suffering persecution, and with the protection of Oda Nobunaga, the number of their followers grew. In 1576, several hundred followers, with the support of the shoshidai, Murai Sadakatsu, had the old three-story worship hall rebuilt, and on 7/16 held a mass to celebrate the completion of the new chapel. Nanban-ji was then renamed to also be known as St. Mary's Temple.

However, in 1587/6, after completing his Invasion of Kyushu, Toyotomi Hideyoshi issued the first of his Christian Expulsion Edicts, and the oppression of Christians saw a big turn. Nanbanji was destroyed, and never rebuilt.


  • Plaque on-site.
  • Ronald Toby ロナルド・トビ, "Sakoku" toiu gaikô 「鎖国」という外交, Tokyo: Shogakukan (2008), 190.

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