ICC NOTE: There was a time when Christianity was considered a hostile western influence in Japan. Christians were persecuted like many other Southeast Asian countries. They were placed in prisons where tortured was common forcing many to renounce their faith. One Italian missionary however never let go of his faith despite losing his life inside a notorious prison. His bones were unearthed by a construction crew and identified as Christian missionary Giovanni Battista Sidotti. He sneaked into Japan under the guise of a Samurai in the 1700’s hoping to the reach the isolated people for Christ. His remains were properly buried at the time in what appeared to be Christian methods which was uncommon for the time in Japan.
6/3/2016 Japan (CBN) – Bones unearthed in Japan appear to be those of a Christian missionary from the 1700s who was killed for his faith.
Construction workers building a parking lot for a condominium complex found the skeletal remains of what anthropologists say is Italian missionary Giovanni Battista Sidotti, who was martyred. The condos sit on the site of a prison earmarked for Christians 300 years ago. Today, its only reminder is a stone marker commemorating the location.
Sidotti, who snuck into the island nation disguised as a samurai, was on a mission to spread the gospel of Christ to the Japanese people, who at the time were hostile to Christianity.
Sidotti was said to have had tremendous influence on the Japanese culture at that time. His general knowledge about Western things such as geography, language and global affairs were prized by Japanese scholars he encountered, who were fairly isolated from the rest of the world and who craved information from abroad.
However, it was Sidotti’s refusal to renounce his Christian faith that turned those same leaders against him. He was thrown into a notorious prison for Christians where torture was routine. While the brutal conditions prompted many other Christian inmates to publicly forsake their beliefs, Sidotti held fast to his faith. He was even said to have converted and baptized the Japanese couple caring for him while he was in prison.
Historical accounts say Sidotti was afforded elevated respect compared to the other prisoners. That is backed up by the configuration of his skeletal remains.