If your library subscribes to the SCJ click here

Get ADOBE Reader® button Follow 16th Century Journal on Twitter

Journal > Volumes > 52 (2021) / 4 (Winter)
The Birth of a Martyr: The Metamorphosis of Hosokawa Tama Gracia
A. Louise Cole
University of Arkansas

Hosokawa Tama Gracia perished in 1600 under mysterious circumstances. She was a noblewoman married to a powerful daimyo, the daughter of a traitor, and a Kirishitan convert during the “Christian Century” in Japan. In life, she was both dutifully subservient and tenaciously bold. In death, she was fodder for propaganda, and in the hands of both European and Japanese writers, her life story was rewritten for specific narrative purposes. The most striking of these artistic transformations is her depiction as a Christian martyr in the late seventeenth-century Latin Jesuit drama Mulier fortis (The Valiant Woman). The drama Mulier fortis, as an amalgam of traditional Western conventions and exotic Oriental imagery, demonstrates an attempt by European Catholics to weave foreign individuals, like Hosokawa Tama Gracia, into the suprahistorical and even supracultural narrative structure of martyrdom in order to construct a global Catholic identity and reinforce the universality of Catholic belief.

Pages: 857 - 880