Martyrdom, Orientalism and Christian Imagery: Japan in Early Modern Spanish Culture (Jorge Ledo)

Scholars are increasingly challenging the traditional view of early modern Japan as an isolated realm, disconnected from the West. For example, interest in the mutual influence of cultures between Spain and Japan has materialized in a small, but significant, number of publications during the last decade. In my talk I will briefly introduce some key questions in this emerging field of interest. I will then tackle three emblematic aspects of the Spanish perception of Japan between 1550 and 1650: 1) the history of the Martyrs of Japan, whose concrete vision on the evangelical mission of the Spanish Crown often contrasted with that of the missionaries in the Americas; 2) the recreation and adaptation to European taste of some features of Japanese culture and aesthetics; and 3) the role of Japanese evangelizers in the New World.

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