People are often surprised (and sometimes, a little skeptical) to discover that my mystery novels feature a detective team composed of a master ninja and a Portuguese Jesuit priest. Japan was almost entirely closed to Westerners (really, to all outsiders) for much of its history, but opened to Portuguese Jesuits and traders for a short time during the 16th and 17th centuries. (Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu severely restricted foreigners’ interactions with Japan again, beginning in 1609).Read more
Jesuits in Japan: Fact from Fiction!
In my debut Shinobi mystery, Claws of the Cat, ninja detective Hiro Hattori must protect–and literally save the life–of Father Mateo Avila de Santos, a Portuguese Jesuit working as a missionary to Kyoto’s lower classes. Father Mateo is fictitious, but real Jesuit missionaries were living and working in Kyoto in 1565. The first Portuguese Jesuits arrived in Japan in 1549, and shortly thereafter, Father Francis Xavier established Japan’s first mission, at Kagoshima. Ten years later, after an audience with Jesuit Father Gaspar Vilela (who appears in the Shinobi novels as Father Mateo’s superior, even though Father Mateo’s work is separateRead more