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The frontiers of the Society of Jesus in Japan: expansion projects and the Japanese intermediaries in the missionary structure (1549-1579)

Grant number: 19/22542-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2020
Effective date (End): December 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Modern and Contemporary History
Principal Investigator:Aldair Carlos Rodrigues
Grantee:Victor Laubenstein
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The scholarship on the Society of Jesus in Japan during the period between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries tend to focus on the missionaries agency. In this sense, the failure of the mission is seen as due to the incapacity of the priests to adapt to the local way of life, and due to the delay in the creation of regulations aimed at the creation of a local clergy. These narratives tend to emphasize the European missionaries as the main actors, in a process that deprived the Japanese populations from the specificities of their historical agency. Based on the letters and chronicles written by Luís Frois, Francisco Xavier, Cosme de Torres, and Francisco Cabral, this project examines the dynamics of interactions between missionaries and the Japanese in the first three decades of the mission. One of the objectives is the creation of a database containing the biographical and demographical data regarding the characteristics of the converted groups and individuals. The relevance of this proposal is based not only on the historiographical invisibility of these populations at the beginnings of the missions but also on the fact that it is in this time that was happening the configuration and reconfiguration of the missionary projects according to local dynamics that still need to be thoroughly analyzed. (AU)

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