Lettera del P. Alessandro Valignano. Visitatore della Compagnia di Gies¨ nel Giappone e nella Cina de' 10. d'Ottobre del 1599. Al R.P. Claudio Aquaviva Generale della medesima compagnia.

Autore VALIGNANI, Alessandro (1539-1606).
Tipografo Luigi Zanetti
Dati tipografici Roma
Prezzo Ç 9.500,00

(offered with:)

PASIO, Francesco (1554-1612). Lettera annua di Giappone scritta nel 1601 e mandata dal P. Francesco Pasio V. provinciale al M.R.P. Claudio Acquaviva Generale della Compagnia di Giesù. Roma, Luigi Zanetti, 1603.

(and:)

PASIO, Francesco (1554-1612). Copia d'una breve relatione della Christianità di Giappone, del mese di marzo del 1598. insino ad ottob. del medesimo anno, et della morte di Taicosama signore di detto regno. Scritta del P. Franceso Pasio, al M.R.P. Claudio Aquaviva Generale della Compagnia di Giesù. Et dalla portoghese tradotta nella lingua italiana dal P. Gasparo Spitilli, di Campli della Compagnia medesima. Roma, Luigi Zanetti, 1601.

Three volumes, 8vo (152x101 mm); modern boards, red edges; 102, (2 blank) pp. + 77, (1), (2 blank) pp. + 109, (1), (2 blank) pp. Jesuits' emblem on the title-pages. Ownership's entry on the title-page of Pasio's Copia, partly trimmed. Some light browning and marginal foxing, all in all nice copies.

I. FIRST EDITION. At l. C5r, with a separate title-page, begins the Sopplimento dell'annua del 1600. Nel qual si da raguaglio... infino a febraio del 1601. Scritto al r.p. Claudio Acquaviva... dal p. Valentino Carvaglio.

Alessandro Valignani or Valignano was a Jesuit missionary born in Chieti, who played an important role in the introduction of Catholicism to the Far East, and especially to Japan.

Valignano joined the Society of Jesus in 1566, and was sent to East Asia in 1573 as Visitor of Missions in the Indies. It was his responsibility to examine and whenever necessary reorganize mission structures and methods throughout India, China and Japan. Valignano formed a basic strategy for Catholic proselytism, which is usually called “adaptationism”. He attempted to avoid cultural frictions by making a compromise with local customs that other missionaries viewed as conflicting with Catholic values. His strategy was in contrast to those of mendicant orders including Franciscans and Dominicans, whom Valignano worked hard to block from entering Japan and later lead to the Chinese Rites controversy.

Valignano left Macau for Japan in July 1579, leaving behind instructions for Michele Ruggieri, who was to arrive within days. Once Ruggieri started studying Chinese and realized the immensity of the task, he wrote to Valignano, asking him to send Matteo Ricci to Macau as well, to share the work. Ricci joined him in Macau on August 7, 1582. Together, the two were to become the first European scholars of China and the Chinese language.

Valignano made the first visit to Japan from 1579 to 1582. In 1581, he wrote Il Cerimoniale per i Missionari del Giappone to set forth guidelines for Jesuits. In the writing, he mapped Jesuit hierarchy to that of Zen Buddhists even though he detested them. He claimed that, in order not to be despised by Japanese, every Jesuit should behave according to the class he belonged to. Such a luxurious life and authoritarian attitudes among Jesuits in Japan were criticized not only by rival mendicant orders but also by some Jesuits. In fact, Valignano remained in a minority within the Jesuits in Japan.

On his first arrival in Japan, Valignano was horrified by what he considered to be, at the least, negligent, and at the worst, abusive and non-Christian practices on the part of mission personnel. He immediately began to reform many aspects of the mission. Language study had always been one of the core problems for the mission. By 1595, Valignano could boast in a letter that not only had the Jesuits printed a Japanese grammar and dictionary, but also several books (mostly the lives of saints and martyrs) entirely in Japanese.

The need for a natively trained clergy was obvious to Valignano, and so, in 1580, a recently emptied Buddhist monastery in Arima province was converted into a nascent seminary. There, twenty-two young Japanese converts began to the process of instruction towards holy orders. The process was repeated two years later at Azuchi, where the seminarians numbered thirty-three.

Valignano's purpose is quite clear. The seminaries were typical Jesuit institutions of humanistic education and theological exploration but their style of living was wholly Japanese. They were carefully designed to blend, as much as possible, Japanese sensibilities with European ideology.

As the scale of the mission began to expand rapidly, financial difficulties began to arise. All of the Jesuit institutions: the seminaries, the schools, the printing presses and the missions required money to finance. In 1580, when Father Vilela converted the daimyo Ōmura Sumitada who controlled the port of Nagasaki, the port, which was then merely a small fishing village, was ceded as a gift to the control of the Society, as was the fortress in the harbor. Under Jesuit control, Nagasaki would grow from a town with only one street to an international port rivaling the influence of Goa or Macau. Jesuit ownership of the port of Nagasaki gave the Society a concrete monopoly in taxation over all imported goods coming into Japan.

This breach of ecclesiastical practice did not go unnoticed by the heads of other European missions in the area, or by those who make their living via inter-Asiatic trade. Eventually, the Pope was forced to intervene, and, in 1585, the Holy See ordered an immediate cessation of all mercantile activities by the Society.

In his last years Alessandro Valignano exercised his position as Visitor by overseeing all of the Jesuit missions in Asia from the major Portuguese port of Macau, but his primary focus was always on the Japanese mission. By 1600, the Jesuit mission there was in decline because of persecution from the Kanpaku Toyotomi Hideyoshi and later, most severely, under the Tokugawas.

Valignano died in Macau in January 1606. His legacy is extraordinary. The four Japanese who visited the Pope in 1586 (the first official Japanese embassy to western Europe) were sent by Valignano. He founded the St. Paul's Jesuit college in Macau. He visited Japan three times: in 1579-1581; in 1590-1592; and in 1598-1603. Valignano paved the way for a closer relationship between Asian and European peoples by advocating equal treatment of all human beings. He was a great admirer of the Japanese people and envisioned a future when Japan would be one of the leading Christian countries in the world (cf. J.F. Schutte, Valignano's Mission Principles for Japan, St. Louis, 1980; and U. App, The Birth of Orientalism, Philadelphia, 2010 pp. 18-24, 139-146).

II-III. FIRST EDITIONS. Francesco Pasio, a native of Bologna, was a Jesuit missionary who worked in a number of places in East Asia, including Goa (1578), Malacca (1582), Japan (1583), and Macao, where he died in 1612. His superior was father Alessandro Valignano. He was Vice-provincial of the Order in China and Japan from 1600 to 1611.

De Backer-Sommervogel, VIII, col. 405; VI, coll. 327-328; H. Cordier, Bibliotheca Japonica, Paris, 1912, pp. 235, 241, and 223; Catalogo unico, IT\ICCU\TO0E\123323; IT\ICCU\UM1E\009778; IT\ICCU\CFIE\015903.