Virtual Book Launch – Christian Sorcerers on Trial

Virtual Book Launch – Christian Sorcerers on Trial: Records of the 1827 Osaka Incident


The Centre for Japanese Research (CJR) at the University of British Columbia presents a series of online book launches to celebrate recent publications about premodern Japan. For our September event, co-authors Fumiko Miyazaki and Kate Wildman Nakai will be discussing Christian Sorcerers on Trial: Records of the 1827 Osaka Incident in conversation with Jolyon Thomas, with a message from co-author Mark Teeuwen.

• Fumiko Miyazaki, Professor Emerita, Keisen University, Tokyo.
• Kate Wildman Nakai, Professor Emerita, Sophia University, Tokyo.
• (Facilitator) Jolyon Thomas, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Thu, Sept 24, 2020 5-6:15PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Thu, Sept 24, 2020 8-9:15PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Fri, Sept 25, 2020 9-10:15AM in Japan TimeRegistration

Zoom Webinar access will be provided a few days before the event. If you do not receive an email with access details by the day before the event, please email bianca.chui@ubc.caFor disability accommodations, questions, or concerns, please either email can also be reached via Twitter @ubcCJR

About the Book

Christian Sorcerers on Trial: Records of the 1827 Osaka Incident

Translated and with an introduction by Fumiko Miyazaki, Kate Wildman Nakai, and Mark Teeuwen

Published by Columbia University Press

In 1829, three women and three men were paraded through Osaka and crucified. Placards set up at the execution ground proclaimed their crime: they were devotees of the “pernicious creed” of Christianity. Middle-aged widows, the women made a living as mediums, healers, and fortune-tellers. Two of the men dabbled in divination; the third was a doctor who collected books in Chinese on Western learning and Christianity.

This was a startling development. No one in Japan had been identified and punished as a Christian for more than a century, and now, avowed devotees of the proscribed sect had appeared in the very heart of the realm. Just decades before the arrival of Perry’s black ships and the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate, the incident reignited fears of Christians as evil sorcerers, plotting to undermine society and overthrow the country.

Christian Sorcerers on Trial offers annotated translations of a range of sources on this sensational event, from the 1827 arrest of the alleged Christians through the case’s afterlife. The protagonists’ testimonies relate with striking detail their life histories, practices, and motivations. The record of deliberations in Edo and communications between Osaka and Edo officials illuminate the operation of the Tokugawa system of criminal justice. Retellings of the incident show how the story was transmitted and received. Translated and put in context by Fumiko Miyazaki, Kate Wildman Nakai, and Mark Teeuwen, the sources provide students and scholars alike with an extraordinarily rich picture of late Edo social life, religious practices, and judicial procedures.

For more information on the book, please click here.

Interested in learning more, visit this blog post on the Columbia University Press Blog!

About the Author

Fumiko Miyazaki is Professor Emerita at Keisen University, Tokyo.

Kate Wildman Nakai is Professor Emerita at Sophia University, Tokyo.

Mark Teeuwen is Professor of Japanese studies at the University of Oslo.

Miyazaki, Nakai, and Teeuwen previously collaborated (with Anne Walthall and John Breen) on a translation of another late Edo source: Lust, Commerce, and Corruption: An Account of What I Have Seen and Heard by an Edo Samurai (Columbia, 2014).