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"I will never forget you"
Bishop Hiroaki Nakano, Catholic Kagoshima Diocese

 As one of the people involved, I would like to sincerely welcome and support the project of "Yakushima Sidotti Memorial Museum" on Yakushima.

 I am a bishop of the Catholic Church and the district foreman of the Kagoshima Diocesa. The position of bishop is appointed by the Pope. Father Sidotti, who smuggled into Yakushima, was also a Catholic priest and a missionary dispatched by the Roman Curia. In that sense, I and Father Sidotti belong to the same organization and have the same roots.

 Therefore, this project should be sponsored by us, but it was a dream that could not be realized due to lack of power in various respects.  

 It must be said that the fact that such a project has come into effect this time is just providential. Just as the dots become lines and the vertical lines form and become three-dimensional, the whole picture of Father Sidotti must become clear.

 At present, the character of Father Sidotti, his achievements, the meaning of his visit to Japan, and its historical significance are often unknown to the general public. They will be well known when the memorial imuseum completed.

 I would like to talk about the historical process leading up to the start of the construction plan for this memorial museum.

  1. Francis Xavier landed in Kagoshima and spread Christianity to Japan. (1549)

  2. During the Tokugawa Shogunate era, Christianity was banned, and missionaries were expelled from Japan. (By the 1640s)

  3. Father Sidotti, who worked for the Roman Curia, was aware of the situation in Japan, where the crackdown on Christianity was severe, and was concerned about the situation of Japanese believers.

  4. Using the position of a high-ranking official of the Roman Curia, he went to Manila (Philippines) to plan and implement a mission to Japan.

  5. Knowing that infiltrating Japan under the persecution of Christianity would mean immediate arrest, he landed alone on Yakushima. (1708)

  6. Sure enough, he was taken to the magistrate's office and cross-examined by Arai Hakuseki in Edo.

  7. When asked about the purpose of the infiltration during the cross-examination, he answered that he wished to have an audience with the Japanese emperor asking him to lift the ban.

  8. He was put in a cell and starved to death because he baptized the caretaker couple at the Christian mansion in Edo, where he had been imprisoned. (1714)

  9. Since the 1940s, missionaries (mainly Italians) of each religious order working in Japan begin to learn about Father Sidotti.

10. In particular, Father Contalini (St. Xaverian Church) living in Yakushima, conducts research, confirms the landing site, and builds a church. (1988)

11.Father Contalini entrust the research materials on Father Sidotti to Tomoko Furui, an author living in Yakushima, and die. (1998)

12.Tomoko Furui published "The Last Missionary Sidotti". (2010)

13.The remains of Father Sidotti are found at the site of Christian mansion in Tokyo. (2014)

14.News of Father Sidotti's remains excavated in Tokyo reaches Father Mario Torcivia, the parish priest of Palermo (Sicily), the hometown of Father Sidotti, (2016)

15. The above book by Tomoko Furui is translated into Italian and French, and the life of unknown Father Sidotti is disseminated in the West. (2017) Tomoko Furui published a Japanese expanded version of "The Last Missionary Sidotti". (2018)

16. Father Mario mentioned above published a research book of Father Sidtti from a Catholic point of view in Japan. (2019)

 Thus, after 300 years, the life of a missionary suddenly appeared before us living in the 21st century. I picked up only 16 main items and described the circumstances, but of course there are countless unknown key persons behind them. I think that even if any of them were missing, the plan to establish the memorial museum could not be reached.

 I think this project is such a rare event.

 Finally, I would like to express in Biblical words the feelings that Father Sidotti, we Christians, and perhaps the people of Yakushima, have in common.

 "Will a woman forget her suckling baby? Can she not have mercy on her womb? Even if the women forget, I (God) will not forget you" (Isaiah 49:15). section)

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