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A Memory of Calvin Manshio, Great Community Leader


By Yoshiko Urayama

• Everyone in our community misses Mr. Calvin Manshio and remembers him in many occasions. I would like to share one of my memories about him with Shimpo’s readers.

• Several years ago, Mr. Manshio sent me a photocopy of a Japanese article, which was titled like “A Lot of Manshio in Yamaga Area.” Maybe he was interested in the article, so he asked me to translate it into English.

• Masaru Yoshihara, a high-school teacher and history researcher in Fukuoka Prefecture, heard that many Manshio’s names were found in Yamaga area of Fukuoka Prefecture. Yoshihara visited Yamaga and met Toichiro Manshio, whose family graveyard revealed some clues to discover Mancio Ito’s later life.

• Mancio Ito’s original name was Sukemasu Ito, a son of a feudal lord. When his family was attacked by Shimazu of Kagoshima, he escaped to Oita and met Christianity.
• Some years later, Mancio was selected as one of four mission boys, who were sent to the Pope by Christian feudal lords, Sorin Otomo, Harunobu Arima, and Sumitada Omura on the advice of Valignano, a Jesuit missionary.

• Mancio and other three boys arrived at Rome in 1585 and had an audience with Pope Gregorius XIII. On the death of the Pope, they attended his funeral and had an audience with Pope Sixtus V. They were welcomed across Europe, and a Japan boom occurred.

• The mission returned to Nagasaki in 1590 and had an audience with Hideyoshi Toyotomi at Jurakudai in Kyoto.

• Years later, Mancio became a bishop in Nagasaki, but he had to escape from persecution. He used kanji 満所 (Mansho) for his name and later changed it to 満生 to hide himself from persecutors. His later life is unknown.

• Yoshihara found a Mary-shaped tombstone in Toichiro Manshio’s grave yard. Its head part was cut off, so it looked like an ordinary Japanese tombstone since Christianity was banned in Japan. The tombstone had relief engravings of angel wings. He also found a small stone room under the ground. It seemed to be used as a chapel. The stone room was built underground of Fumonji Buddhist Temple, which no longer exists. The area is called Dotoku, which means ethic, and the name implies religious meaning.
• Yoshihara inferred that Mancio might live in Yamaga and waited for an opportunity to spread Christianity. He was deceased in 1612.

• Yamaga is located in deep mountains. Incidentally, my grandmother was born in Yame, a small village close to Yamaga, so I visited there several times when I was child. It is really dark at night and no wonder most things have been preserved for hundreds of years.
• I don’t know Mr. Calvin 満生 was related with the 満生 families in Yamaga, but I wrote at that time, “If you were related to the 満生 families there, I might be related to you because my grandmother came from Yame.