Tomb of HASEKURA Tsunenaga
HASEKURA Tsunenaga, who was dispatched to Europe in 1613 by DATE Masamune, lord of the Sendai Clan, died of illness at the age of 52, shortly after returning to Japan.
While there are numerous theories as to where his grave is located, there is one in Komyoji Temple (northwest side of the main hall).
At the order of Masamune, HASEKURA Tsunenaga led a delegation of over 180 people in the Keicho Mission to Europe with the missionary Sotelo who served as a guide to Tsunenaga and they set sail from Tsukinoura, Oshika (current-day Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture) in 1613.
He then crossed the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to Madrid, Spain and in 1615 was granted an audience with King Phillip III of Spain.
Tsunenaga engaged in diplomatic negotiations with the King, and was ultimately baptized and bestowed with the name Filippo Francisco.
Following this, he visited Rome to have an audience with the Pope, where he was given honorary citizenship from the city of Rome and welcomed as a listed aristocrat.
However, due to Japan’s changing political policies including suppression of Christianity and national isolation, he returned to Japan in 1620 unable to achieve trade with Nobisbania (Mexico) nor dispatch missionaries to Japan, and it is said that he suffered misfortune in the latter days of his life.
The central pagoda is the tomb of Tsunenaga; there are various theories as to the actual location of Tsunenaga's tomb.
The items brought back by Tsunenaga are exhibited at the Sendai City Museum and were designated as national treasures in June, 2001.
Furthermore, part of them have been added to the 2013 UNESCO Memory of the World Register.
Monument to Louis SOTELO
On the right side of the grounds is a stone monument to missionary Louis SOTELO, who served as a guide to Tsunenaga.
SOTELO was a Franciscan missionary born in Seville, Spain.
He came to Japan in 1603 and used his language skills to negotiate with several influential people in the shogunate, including Ieyasu and Hidetada TOKUGAWA in addition to his missionary work.
Eventually, DATE Masamune allowed him to perform missionary activities in the Oshu area. In 1613, he traveled to Mexico and Europe as an ambassador of the Keicho Mission with HASEKURA Tsunenaga.
In 1622, he smuggled himself into Nagasaki, which persecuted against Christianity, but was arrested and executed in 1624.