Validation and Propagation – Mutio Vitelleschi’s Letters from Surviving Japan Mission Jesuits (1625 – 1627)


  • Katelynd Heuts



At the heart of this chapter is Superior General Mutio Vitelleschi, a man of the upmost authoritative power within the Jesuit Order when it came to promulgating the letters written to him. His skillful influence perpetuated the glorification and ultimately the spiritual success of the Jesuit mission to Japan despite the their banishment from Japan. The information that Vitelleschi had in his grasp is paramount to our understanding of the earliest order of the Jesuits as well as what had happened to their Order in Japan. This chapter discusses the 1632 Dutch publication of Mutio Vitelleschi’s Iaerliicksche Brieven van Iaponien der Jaren 1625, 1626, 1627 in a way that observes the Jesuit perception of the Japanese. It is noted that these letters also exemplify an early form of travel writing despite the publication’s lackluster and crude format. In essence, this chapter aims to bolster the idea that the Jesuit understanding of the Japanese is intimately connected with the nature of the early Jesuit missions - the propagation of the faith as well as the urgent need of validation.


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