Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hosokawa Gracia 1563-1600


Lady Gracia (Grace) Hosokawa

"Let not yours be the outward adorning... but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. So once the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves... Do right and let nothing terrify you."

- Letter from Peter the Apostle (1st Peter 3:3-6)


Perhaps one of the two most famous Japanese Christians in Japanese history is Lady Gracia Hosokawa ("Hosokawa Garasha" in Japanese). Not only did she serve Christ, but her sacrificial death struck a chord in Japan's Confucian, Buddhist and Bushido principles so that the whole nation was impressed and moved.

It was the Sengoku-jidai, the warring-states era of Japanese history. One powerful warlord after another would wrestle for control of an area. The emperor had little or no power and even the shogun was on the run. Loyalty to your family (the clan) meant everything. Loyalty to your lord was also important, but there was much betrayal. Often lords would order their allies to give 'hostages' -- usually family members -- while they were off in battle, just to ensure that their allies didn't suddenly change sides. Might made right, and into this fray walked Oda Nobunaga, a cunning warlord whose power grew quickly and soon encompassed most of Japan.

Gracia Hosokawa was born as Tama Akechi to a wise father who would later become a general and daimyo under Oda Nobunaga. Tama's beauty was legendary. She was married early in life to Tadaoki Hosokawa, the son of another daimyo and general. She began hearing about Christianity from one of her maids named Kayo Kiyohara, whose baptismal name was Maria and had been influenced much by the Christian lord Takayama Ukon.

However, Tama's life with the Hosokawa family was nearly brought to an end when her father suddenly betrayed and killed Lord Nobunaga...

(To be continued)

Links
Lady Gracia & the House of Hosokawa by Hiroaki Sasaki
Nagaokakyo Garasha Matsuri (Nagaokakyo Gracia Festival)
Hosokawa Gracia at Sengoku-expo.net
Hosokawa Gracia by Yoshimura Naohiro
The Tragedy of Lady Gracia by Wayne Muromoto

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