A Memory of Calvin Manshio, Great Community Leader
• 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.
• 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
• 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