in the Customs of Europe and Japan by Luis Frois, S.J. [Luis Frois SJ, Daniel T. Frois and Nobunaga complete translation Frois Japanese history – Oda. 1) Luis Frois Hitoria de Japam Historia de Japam tells the history of the Jesuit Mission in Japan. It was written by Luis Frois based on his on experience and also. Between and , Luís wrote a history of the Jesuit mission in Japan from contrasts of the customs of Europe and Japan by Luis Frois, S.J., Abingdon.
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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Kyoto by Christian eyes: Luis Frois tales of Japanese urban life and descriptions. Piccinini Higashino, Kyoto by Christian eyes: Luis Frois ja;an of Japanese urban life and descriptions of 16th century Kyoto city Luis Frois was a Jesuit missionary who lived in Japan from until He spent 12 years in the city of Kyoto.
Due to his writing talents Frois was in charge of the correspondence to Rome. This paper will focus on Frois descriptions of the city of Kyoto. We will see how he detailed described the buildings, their organization in the city and how people lived in 16th century Kyoto. It was written by Luis Frois based on his on rrois and also the numerous Jesuits letters and reports about their work in Japan.
The manuscript starts with the arrival of Francisco Xavier in in Japan and goes up to the happenings of The writer, Luis Frois, was probably born in Lisbon in He entered the Society of Jesus when he was 16 years old, in March In October, same year he was sent to Goa, India, where he would continue his theological studies until Luis Frois arrived in Japan inand he lived in Japan until he died on July 8that Nagasaki. Therefore the chapters of Historia de Japan from the year to can be considered as Frois autobiography, since he lived through most of those happenings.
Frois entered Japan from Kyushu and between fros years of — he lived in the Kinki region, at the city of Kyoto Miyako or at the city of Sakai near Osaka.
From the year until he was the superior of the Bungo mission actual Oita prefectureand worked as the interpreter for the visiting priest Alessandro Valignano1 in at his meeting with Nobunaga2. He was ordered by Alessandro Valignano to write about the history of the Japanese Jesuit Mission, and work on it in Macau until Frois came back to Japan in and died in in Nagasaki.
The first years he was together with P. Vilela4, than alone fore a while until P. hisotry
Organtino5 arrived in He worked as translator for P. Cabral during his visits in and In Historia de Japam Frois gives detailed description about the buildings, city life styles, he has even written lius whole chapter about the buildings and touristic attractions of the capital6.
How ever he also seems to exaggerate on his descriptions, as P.
My Friend Frois
Valignano has criticized his writings in a letter of Vilela rented was proper to house horses. Another figure of speech he is found to is to say that it rains as much inside as outside the house or that the ceiling had as many stars as the sky. Frois is sometimes very creative on his choice of words, what make the manuscript not only interesting but also fun to read.
However Valligano criticized Frois writing style as lacking of objectiveness, and this maybe one of the reasons why the manuscript was put way for so long. Here we will focus on the chapters that have descriptions about the city of Kyoto, its houses and its urban life style. The chapters analyzed are: Vilela was sent out hiwtory Kyoto and how he lf came back; chapter 36 where he describes the Gion festival in Kyoto and another festival in the city of Sakai; and year chapter 58 he writes about the things to see in Kyoto and the surrounds.
Gaspar Vilela was the hiwtory Jesuit, and also friis first western person to take residence in Kyoto. It was first called as Heiankyo and Frois refers to the city as Miyako, which means imperial city and was how the city was called during the Sengoku period. The city got the name of Kyoto at the end of the 19th luuis with the Meiji Restoration, and the move of the Imperial residence to Tokyo.
The old capital of the Heian period was much larger than the Miyako of Frois.
Originally the city comprehend an area of a rectangle measuring 4. Suzaku-oji, was the main street extending from the palace down through the center of the city, and it divided the city into the Ukyo right side and Sakyo left side. On Frois descriptions of the city he says that the capital was formerly very histroy, and that according to the natives it had five or six legoas7 of length and three of wide, which is very exaggerated.
He says the city was surrounded by mountains and had flat and large fields. At the foot of the mountains there were many great monasteries, with luxurious buildings that in passed times had great incomes.
However when the P. Vilela arrived at Kyoto much of the city had been destroyed by wars and fires, which occurred very frequently. However according to Frois it was still possible to find some trace of the city formerly greatness. He says the clime is cold because the city is a lot to the north and due to the lacked firewood, which were consumed by the wars.
The city was well policed, with a variety of goods, buildings and offices that exceed in the excellence of works any other city of Japan. In the figure we have a superposition of the different periods of the city. The back of the figure is a satellite picture of modern Kyoto. The area in blue is the city during the Heian period, while the area in yellow is the city during the Sengoku Period, the time that the Jesuits lived in the city.
The numbers indicate the places were the Jesuits rented housed, and number 4 is the spot were they bought some houses and built the church, called as the Namban Temple by the natives. During the period the Jesuits lived in Kyoto the Ukyo, right side was almost abandoned, and the city developed to the north. The main street was the Nijo Street, and the area north of Nijo street was called Kamikyo, the upper city while the area south of Nijo Street was called Shimokyo, the lower city.
On the upper city were found the houses of the aristocrats and the Kubosama Ashikaga Shogun while the lower city was were the common people lived. The city suffered frequent fires. Frois describes one of the city fires, he tells that once there was a great fire on the area were P.
Vilela was living, that a great number or houses collapsed with the fire, and he emphasizes that city fires happened very often in Japan because the houses were made of wood and most of them had wooden or straw roof.
The number indicates the place were the Jesuits resided. They hurried to put all their belongings, which were few, on the street. Those neighbors shouted insults and blasphemies at him, saying that all the bad things had happened because of them.
The fire was extinguished but by that time the street was heavily damaged. HS, Vol 1 pp 3 City Houses In Historia of Japam, Frois first descriptions of the city life style and the buildings of Kyoto city appear on the texts about the events of the year ofchapter 24 HS, Vol 1 pp In this chapter he describes the first houses were the Jesuits were logged and a little about the city it self.
My Friend Frois | The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
All houses Frois describes on Historia de Japam, were on the same area of the city. In the area called the lower part of the city, on the surrounds of the Shijo Street.
On the first house they stayed hided for only 14 days, because they did not had permission to live in the city yet. The second house was rented and they stayed in this house for 3 months. The third house was the last of the rented place, after that P. Vilela found a way to buy a house in the lower part of the city. Finding a house in Kyoto, according to Frois, was always very difficult.
From the begging up to the end, when the Jesuits were expulsed from Japan, the Jesuits always had trouble finding places to stay at the city of Kyoto. At first they were foreigners with no permit to live in the city, therefore nobody would risk their lives lodging them, later the bad propaganda made by the Zen monks would freight the houses owners, no one would rent them a house and the few ones who did would soon asked P. Vilela to move out. The house was narrow, low, dirty and old, where straws and house debris were stored.
The owner agreed to hide them for no more than 5 days but in the end they stayed for 14 days. HS Vol1 p Frois description of the houses matches with the description of a Kura, a building built for storage, usually made of adobe walls with tiled roof to made the building more resistant to fire. Vilela got a permission to live in Kyoto he had to stay completely hidden, they risked their life if they were seen.
The second house was rented from an old widow. They stayed in this house for 3 months. The house was not a proper house, it was an old hut probably made to shelter horses because it was very poor.
It had a straw roof therefore it rained inside the house a little less than outside. The walls were made of bamboo from with the mud it used to be daubed with had fell down. The place where they were to sleep was not on earth floor but on an elevated floor made of bamboos. HS, Vol 1 pp According to Frois writings this first house they rented had no interior division, the house had a single room.
Luís Fróis – Wikipedia
It had mud walls and a thatched roof and part of the Komai, the bamboo structure of the wall, was apparent. Part of the house had Yuka, an elevated floor made of bamboo and the other part was Doma or ouis floor. He found an old lady with a straw bunch and came back with the straw bunch on his back, very happy saying that he had found the Priest bed. Some days later they bought a Tatami mat for the priest to sleep on and the boys got the straw bunch. HS, Vol 1 pp In this description of their sleeping condition we can see that the house did not lujs the floor covered with Tatami mats.
On chapter 25 when he describes the visit to the Kobosama, he says that they crossed chambers covered with tatami mats. The tatami mat was still a luxury commodity, and probably expensive otherwise P.
Vilela and his Japanese disciples would have bought more than one mat.
The house of the widow was in very bad conditions and also the neighbor was bad too. Frois says that the worst kind of people lived in the area, and according to the Dictionary of Japanese Land Names History Nihon Rekishi Jimei Taikei,it was an area of leather good shops, and people that worked with leather were considered very low in the social ranks.
Although the japxn conditions improved a bit, the new house was another ruin, no less beggar and needy than the first one, in which they stayed for three months.
Half of the house didn’t have for pavement said than the nude earth, and the other half was made of bamboo.