The Martyrs of Japan

6 February -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Martyrs, page 464

Almost fifty years after Francis Xavier had arrived in Japan as its first Christian apostle, the presence of several thousand baptised Christians in the land became a subject of suspicion to the ruler Hideyoshi, who soon began a period of persecution. Twenty-six men and women, Religious and lay, were first mutilated then crucified near Nagasaki in 1597. After their martyrdom, their blooded- clothes were kept and held in reverence by their fellow Christians. The period of persecution continued for another thirty-five years, many new witness-martyrs being added to their number.