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Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan


Nishizaka Hill in Nagasaki is the place of Martyrdom of 26 Japanese Saints. The 26 Martyrs of

Japan were a group of Catholics who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597.

The Twenty-six Christians, including six foreign missionaries and three young boys, were arrested

in Kyoto and Osaka on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the National ruler, for preaching Christianity.

They were marched 800 km through the snow to Nagasaki and crucified in front of large crowd on

Nishizaka hill on Feb. 5, 1597.


Their martyrdom is especially significant in the history of the Catholic Church in Japan. In 1950, Pope

Pius XII designated this place as an official pilgrimage site for Catholics. Pope John Paul II visited

here in 1981, and Saint Teresa of Calcutta commonly known as Mother Teresa visited in 1982

Paulo Miki and 25 others were crucified for their belief in God on order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. 

The martyrs including four Spaniards, one from Goa, India, one Mexican and 20 Japanese

demonstrated their spiritual unity despite differences in races, ages and professions.  


Nishizaka hill, the site of

Martyrdom in 1597

The martyrs said that 

” All people, bless God ! ”  

The 26 Japanese martyrs have 

been canonized in 1862

By putting them to death, Hideyoshi threatened people, saying I hereby ban Christianity”. 
Responded the martyrs’ chant “All people, bless God!Death and life, liberty and persecution
and Dictators and the people confronted on Nishizaka Hill. The martyrs are immortal. In 1862,
the 26 Japanese martyrs were canonized by Pope Pius IX.  In 1956, the place of their martyrdom
was designated as a Historical Place by Nagasaki Prefecture. A monument dedicated to them
was built on June 10 in 1962.


The museum behind the monument is devoted to the memory of the martyrs and to Christianity in

Japan in general. Its interior is reminiscent of a church with stained-glass windows, making for

atmospheric viewing of the exhibits. On display are artifacts related to Christianity in Japan,

including old documents, statues and jewelry.





General information  

Address 7-8 Nishizaka-cho, Nagasaki-city
Access 5 minutes walk from JR Nagasaki Station



 - Nagasaki travel guide