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Of the Iland Japan, and other litle lies in the East Ocean. By R. Willes.

THE extreame part of the knowen world unto us is the noble Iland Giapan, written otherwise Japon and Japan . This Island standeth in the East Ocean, beyond all Asia, betwixt Cathayo and the West Indies sixe and thirtie degrees Northward from the Equinoctial line, in the same clime with the South part of Spaine and Portugall, distant from thence by sea sixe thousand leagues: the travaile thither, both for civill discord, great pyracie, and often shipwracks is very dangerous. This countrey is hillie and pestered with snow, wherefore it is neither so warme as Portugall, nor yet so wealthy, so far as we can learne, wanting oyle, butter, cheese, milke, egges, sugar, honny, vineger, saffron, cynamom and pepper. Barley-branne the Ilanders doe use in stead of salt: medicinable things holsome for the bodie have they none at all. Neverthelesse in that Iland sundry fruites doe growe, not much unlike the fruites of Spaine: and great store of Silver mynes are therein to be seene. The people are tractable, civill, wittie, courteous, without deceit, in vertue and honest conversation exceeding all other nations lately discovered, but so much standing upon their reputation, that their chiefe Idole may be thought honour. The contempt thereof causeth among them much discord and debate, manslaughter and murther: even for their reputation they doe honour their parents, keepe their promises, absteine from adulterie and robberies, punishing by death the least robbery done, holding for a principle, that whosoever stealeth a trifle, will, if he see occasion, steale a greater thing. It may be theft is so severely punished of them, for that the nation is oppressed with scarcitie of all things necessary, and so poore, that even for miserie they strangle their owne children, preferring death before want. These fellowes doe neither eate nor kill any foule. They live chiefely by fish, hearbes, and fruites, so healthfully, that they die very old. Of Rice and Wheat there is no great store. No man is ashamed there of his povertie, neither be their gentlemen therefore lesse honoured of the meaner people, neither will the poorest gentleman there match his childe with the baser sort for any gaine, so much they do make more account of gentry then of wealth. The greatest delight they have is in armour, each boy at fourteene yeeres of age, be he borne gentle or otherwise, hath his sword and dagger: very good archers they be, contemning all other nations in comparison of their manhood and prowesse, putting not up one injurie be it never so small in worde or deede, among themselves. They feede moderately, but they drinke largely. The use of vines they knowe not, their drinke they make of Rice, utterly they doe abhorre dice, and all games, accounting nothing more vile in a man, then to give himselfe unto those things that make us greedy and desirous to get other mens goods. If at any time they do sweare, for that seldome they are wont to doe, they sweare by the Sunne: many of them are taught good letters, wherfore they may so much the sooner be brought unto Christianitie. Each one is contented with one wife : they be all desirous to learne, & naturally inclined unto honesty & courtesie: godly talke they listen unto willingly, especially when they understand it throughly. Their government consisteth of 3 estates. The first place is due unto the high Priest, by whose lawes & decrees all publike and private matters appertayning to religion are decided. The sects of their clergie men, whom they doe call Bonzi, be of no estimation or authoritie except the high Priest by letters patent doe confirme the same: he confirmeth and alloweth of their Tundi, who be as it were Bishops, although in many places they are nominated by sundry Princes. These Tundi are greatly honoured of all sorts: they doe give benefices unto inferiour ministers, and do grant licences for many things as to eate flesh upon those dayes they goe in pilgrimage to their Idoles with such like privileges. Finally, this high Priest wont to be chosen in China for his wisedome and learning, made in Japan for his gentry and birth, hath so large a Dominion and revenues so great, that eftsones he beardeth the petie Kings and Princes there.

Their second principal Magistrate, in their language Vo, is the chiefe Herehaught, made by succession and birth, honoured as a God. This gentleman never toucheth the ground with his foote without forfaiting of his office, he never goeth abroad out of his house, nor is at all times to be seene. At home he is either carried about in a litter, or els he goeth in woodden Choppines a foote high from the ground: commonly he sitteth in his chaire with a sword in one side, and a bow and arrowes in the other, next his bodie he weareth blacke, his outward garments be red, all shadowed over with Cypresse, at his cappe hang certaine Lambeaux much like unto a Bishops Miter, his forehead is painted white and red, he eateth his meat in earthen dishes. This Herehaught determineth in all Japan the diverse titles of honour, whereof in that Iland is great plentie, each one particularly knowen by his badge, commonly seene in sealing up their letters, and dayly altered according to their degrees. About this Vo every Noble man hath his Soliciter, for the nation is so desirous of praise and honour, that they strive among themselves who may bribe him best. By these meanes the Herehaught groweth so rich, that although hee have neither land nor any revenues otherwise, yet may he be accounted the wealthiest man in all Japan . For three causes this great Magistrate may loose his office: first, if he touch the ground with his foote, as it hath beene alreadie said: next, if he kill any body : thirdly, if he be found an enemie unto peace and quietnesse, howbeit neither of these aforesaid causes is sufficient to put him to death.

Their third chiefe officer is a Judge, his office is to take up and to end matters in controversie, to determine of warres and peace, that which he thinketh right, to punish rebels, wherein he may commaund the noble men to assist him upon paine of forfeiting their goods: neverthelesse at all times he is not obeyed, for that many matters are ended rather by might and armes, then determined by law. Other controversies are decided either in the Temporall Court, as it seemeth good unto the Princes, or in the Spirituall consistorie before the Tundi.

Rebelles are executed in this manner, especially if they be noble men or officers. The king looke what day he giveth sentence against any one, the same day the partie, wheresoever he be, is advertised thereof, and the day told him of his execution. The condemned person asketh of the messenger whether it may bee lawfull for him to kill himselfe: the which thing when the king doeth graunt, the partie taking it for an honour, putteth on his best apparel and launcing his body a crosse from the breast downe all the belly, murthereth himselfe. This kind of death they take to be without infamie, neither doe their children for their fathers crime so punished, loose their goods. But if the king reserve them to be executed by the hangman, then flocketh he together his children, his servants, and friends home to his house, to preserve his life by force. The king committeth the fetching of him out unto his chiefe Judge, who first setteth upon him with bow and arrowes, and afterward with pikes and swords, untill the rebell and all his family be slaine to their perpetuall ignominie and shame.

The Indie-writers make mention of sundry great cities in this Iland, as Cangoxima a haven towne in the South part thereof, and Meaco distant from thence three hundred leagues northward, the royall seat of the king and most wealthy of all other townes in that Iland. The people thereabout are very noble, and their language the best Japonish. In Meaco are sayd to be ninetie thousande houses inhabited and upward, a famous Universitie, and in it five principall Colleges, besides closes & cloysters of Bonzi, Leguixil, and Hamacata, that is, Priests, Monks and Nunnes. Other five notable Universities there be in Japan , namely, Coia, Negru, Homi, Frenoi, and Bandu. The first foure have in them at the least three thousand & five hundred schollers: in the fift are many mo. For Bandu province is very great and possessed with sixe princes, five whereof are vassals unto the sixt, yet he himselfe subject unto the Japonish king, usually called the great king of Meaco: lesser scholes there be many in divers places of this Ilande. And thus much specially concerning this glorious Iland, among so many barbarous nations and rude regions, have I gathered together in one summe, out of sundry letters written from thence into Europe, by no lesse faithfull reporters than famous travellers. For confirmation wherof, as also for the knowledge of other things not conteyned in the premisses, the curious readers may peruse these 4 volumes of Indian matters written long ago in Italian, and of late compendiously made latine, by Petrus Maffeius my olde acquainted friend, entituling the same, De rebus Japonicis. One whole letter out of the fift booke thereof, specially intreating of that countrey, I have done into English word for word in such wise as followeth.

Aloisius Froes to his companions in Jesus Christ that remaine in China and India.

THE last yeere, deare brethren, I wrote unto you from Firando, how Cosmus Turrianus had appointed me to travaile to Meaco to helpe Gaspar Vilela, for that there the harvest was great, the labourers few, and that I should have for my companion in that journey Aloisius Almeida. It seemeth now my part, having by the helpe of God ended so long a voiage, to signifie unto you by letter such things specially as I might thinke you would most delight to know. And because at the beginning Almeida and I so parted the whole labour of writing letters betwixt us, that he should speake of our voyage, and such things as happened therein, I should make relation of the Meachians estate, & write what I could well learne of the Japans maners and conditions: setting aside all discourses of our voyage, that which standeth me upon I will discharge in this Epistle, that you considering how artificially, how cunningly, under the pretext of religion, that craftie adversary of mankind leadeth and draweth unto perdition the Japanish mindes, blinded with many superstitions and ceremonies, may the more pitie this Nation.

The inhabiters of Japan , as men that never had greatly to doe with other Nations, in their Geography divided the whole world into three parts, Japan , Sian , and China . And albeit the Japans received out of Sian and China their superstitions and ceremonies, yet do they neverthe lesse contemne all other nations in comparison of themselves, and standing in their owne conceite doe far preferre themselves before all other sorts of people in wisedome and policie.

Touching the situation of the countrey and nature of the soyle, unto the things eftsoones erst written, this one thing I wil adde: in these Ilands, the sommer to be most hot, the winter extreme cold. In the kingdome of Canga, as we call it, falleth so much snow, that the houses being buried in it, the inhabitants keepe within doores certaine moneths of the yeere, having no way to come foorth except they breake up the tiles. Whirlewindes most vehement, earthquakes so common, that the Japans dread such kind of feares litle or nothing at all. The countrey is ful of silver mines otherwise barren, not so much by fault of nature, as through the slouthfulnesse of the inhabitants: howbeit Oxen they keepe and that for tillage sake onely. The ayre is holesome, the waters good, the people very faire and well bodied: bare headed commonly they goe, procuring baldnesse with sorrow and teares, eftsoones rooting up with pinsars all the haire of their heads as it groweth, except it be a litle behind, the which they knot and keepe with all diligence. Even from their childhood they weare daggers and swords, the which they use to lay under their pillowes when they goe to bed: in shew courteous and affable, in deede haughtie and proud. They delight most in warlike affaires, and their greatest studie is armes. Mens apparel diversely coloured is worne downe halfe the legges and to the elbowes: womens attyre made hansomely like unto a vaile, is somewhat longer: all manner of dicing and theft they doe eschue. The marchant, although he be wealthy, is not accounted of. Gentlemen, be they never so poore, retaine their place: most precisely they stande upon their honour and woorthinesse, ceremoniously striving among themselves in courtesies and faire speeches. Wherein if any one happily be lesse carefull than he should be, even for a trifle many times he getteth evill will. Want, though it trouble most of them, so much they doe detest, that poore men cruelly taking pittie of their infantes newly borne, especially girles, do many times with their owne feete strangle them. Noble men, and other likewise of meaner calling generally have but one wife a peece, by whom although they have issue, yet for a trifle they divorse themselves from their wives, and the wives also sometimes from their husbands, to marry with others. After the second degree cousins may there lawfully marry. Adoption of other mens children is much used among them. In great townes most men and women can write and reade.

This Nation feedeth sparingly, their usuall meat is rice and salets, and neere the sea side fish. They feast one another many times, wherein they use great diligence, especially in drinking one to another, insomuch that the better sort, least they might rudely commit some fault therein, doe use to reade certaine bookes written of duties and ceremonies apperteyning unto banquets. To be delicate and fine, they put their meate into their mouthes with litle forkes, accounting it great rudenesse to touch it with their fingers: winter & sommer they drinke water as hot as they may possibly abide it. Their houses are in danger of fire, but finely made and cleane, layde all over with strawe-pallets, whereupon they doe both sit in stead of stooles, and lie in their clothes with billets under their heads. For feare of defiling these pallets, they goe either barefoote within doores, or weare strawe pantofles on their buskins when they come abroad, the which they lay aside at their returne home againe. Gentlemen for the most part do passe the night in banketting, musicke, & vaine discourses, they sleepe the day time. In Meaco and Sacaio there is good store of beds, but they be very litle, and may be compared unto our pues.

In bringing up their children they use words only to rebuke them, admonishing as diligently and advisedly boyes of sixe or seven yeeres of age, as though they were olde men. They are given very much to intertaine strangers, of whom most curiously they love to aske even in trifles what forraine nations doe, and their fashions. Such arguments and reasons as be manifest, and are made plaine with examples, doe greatly persuade them. They detest all kinde of theft, whosoever is taken in that fault may be slaine freely of any bodie. No publike prisons, no common gayles, no ordinary Justicers : privately each housholder hath the hearing of matters at home in his owne house, and the punishing of greater crimes that deserve death without delay. Thus usually the people is kept in awe and feare.

About foure hundred yeeres past (as in their olde recordes we finde) all Japan was subject unto one Emperour whose royall seat was Meaco, in the Japonish language called Cubucama. But the nobilitie rebelling against him, by litle and litle have taken away the greatest part of his dominion, howbeit his title continually remayneth, and the residue in some respect doe make great account of him still, acknowledging him for their superior. Thus the Empyre of Japan, in times past but one alone, is now divided into sixtie sixe kingdomes, the onely cause of civill warres continually in that Iland, to no small hinderance of the Gospell, whilest the kings that dwell neare together invade one another, each one coveting to make his kingdome greater. Furthermore in the citie Meaco is the pallace of the high Priest, whom that nation honoureth as a God, he hath in his house 366 Idoles, one whereof by course is every night set by his side for a watchman. He is thought of the common people so holy, that it may not be lawfull for him to goe upon the earth: if happily he doe set one foote to the ground, he looseth his office. He is not served very sumptuously he is maintained by almes. The heads and beards of his ministers are shaven, they have name Cangues, and their authoritie is great throughout all Japan . The Cubucama useth them for Embassadors to decide controversies betwixt princes and to end their warres, whereof they were wont to make very great gaine. It is now two yeres since or there about, that one of them came to Bungo, to intreate of peace betwixt the king thereof and the king of Amanguzzo. This Agent favouring the king of Bungo his cause more then the other, brought to passe that the foresayd king of Bungo should keepe two kingdomes, the which he had taken in warres from the king of Amanguzzo. Wherefore he had for his reward of the king of Bungo above 30000 ducats. And thus farre hereof.

I come now to other superstitions and ceremonies, that you may see, deare brethren, that which I said in the beginning, how subtilly the devill hath deceived the Japonish nation, and how diligent and readie they be to obey & worship him. And first, al remembrance and knowledge not onely of Christ our Redeemer, but also of that one God the maker of all things is cleane extinguished and utterly abolished out of the Japans hearts. Moreover their superstitious sects are many, whereas it is lawfull for each one to follow that which liketh him best: but the principall sects are two, namely the Amidans and Xacaians. Wherefore in this countrey shall you see many monasteries, not onely of Bonzii men, but also of Bonziae women diversly attired, for some doe weare white under, and blacke upper garments, other goe apparelled in ash colour, and their Idole hath to name Denichi: from these the Amidanes differ very much. Againe the men Bonzii for the most part dwell in sumptuous houses, and have great revenues. These fellowes are chaste by commaundement, marry they may not upon paine of death. In the midst of their Temple is erected an altar, whereon standeth a woodden Idole of Amida, naked from the girdle upward, with holes in his eares after the manner of Italian gentlewomen, sitting on a woodden rose goodly to behold. They have great libraries, and halles for them all to dine and sup together, and bels wherwith they are at certaine houres called to prayers. In the evening the Superintendent giveth each one a theame for meditation. After midnight before the altar in their Temple they do say Mattens as it were out of Xaca his last booke, one quier one verse, the other quier an other. Early in the morning each one giveth himselfe to meditation one houre: they shave their heads and beards. Their cloysters be very large, and within the precinct therof, Chappels of the Fotoquiens, for by that name some of the Japanish Saints are called: their holydaies yeerely be very many. Most of these Bonzii be gentlemen, for that the Japanish nobility charged with many children, use to make most of them Bonzii, not being able to leave for each one a patrimony good enough. The Bonzii most covetously bent, know all the wayes how to come by money. They sell unto the people many scrolles of paper, by the helpe whereof the common people thinketh it selfe warranted from all power of the devils. They borrow likewise money to be repayed with great usury in an other worlde, giving by obligation unto the lender an assurance thereof, the which departing out of this life he may carry with him to hell.

There is another great company of such as are called Inambuxu, with curled and staring haire. They make profession to finde out againe things either lost or stolen, after this sort. They set before them a child whom the devill invadeth, called up thither by charmes: of that child then doe they aske that which they are desirous to know.

These mens prayers both good and bad are thought greatly to prevaile, insomuch that both their blessings and their curses they sell unto the people. The novices of this order, before they be admitted, goe together two or three thousand in a company, up a certaine high mountaine to doe pennance there, threescore dayes voluntarily punishing themselves. In this time the devill sheweth himselfe unto them in sundry shapes: and they like young graduats, admitted as it were fellowes into some certaine companie, are set foorth with white tassels hanging about their neckes, and blacke Bonnets that scarcely cover any more then the crowne of their heads. Thus attyred they range abroade in all Japan , to set out themselves and their cunning to sale, each one beating his bason which he carieth alwayes about with him, to give notice of their comming in al townes where they passe.

There is also an other sort called Genguis, that make profession to shewe by soothsaying where stollen things are, and who were the theeves. These dwell in the toppe of an high mountaine, blacke in the face: for the continuall heate of the sunne, for the cold windes, and raines they doe continually endure. They marry but in their owne tribe and line: the report goeth that they be horned beasts. They climbe up most high rockes and hilles, and go over very great rivers by the onely arte of the devill, who to bring those wretches the more into errour, biddeth them to goe up a certaine high mountaine, where they stande miserably gazing and earnestly looking for him as long as the devill appointeth them. At the length at nonetide or in the evening commeth that devil, whom they call Amida among them to shew himselfe unto them: this shew breedeth in the braines and hearts of men such a kinde of superstition, that it can by no meanes be rooted out of them afterward.

The devill was wont also in another mountaine to shew himselfe unto the Japanish Nation. Who so was more desirous than other to go to heaven and to enjoy Paradise, thither went he to see that sight, and having seene the devill followed him (so by the devill perswaded) into a denne untill he came to a deepe pit. Into this pit the devill was wont to leape, and to take with him his worshipper whom he there murdred. This deceit was thus perceived. An olde man blinded with this superstition, was by his sonne disswaded from thence, but all in vaine. Wherefore his sonne followed him privily into that denne with his bow & arrows, where the devill gallantly appeared unto him in the shape of a man. Whilest the old man falleth downe to worshippe the devill, his sonne speedily shooting an arrow at the spirit so appearing, strooke a Foxe in stead of a man, so suddenly was that shape altered. This olde man his sonne tracking the Foxe so running away, came to that pit whereof I spake, and in the bottome thereof he found many bones of dead men, deceived by the devill after that sort in time past. Thus delivered he his father from present death, and all other from so pestilent an opinion.

There is furthermore a place bearing name Coia, very famous for ye multitude of Abbyes which the Bonzii have therein. The beginner and founder whereof is thought to be one Combendaxis a suttle craftie fellowe, that got the name of holinesse by cunning speech, although the lawes and ordinances he made were altogether devillish: he is said to have found out the Japanish letters used at this day. In his latter yeeres this Sim suttle buried himselfe in a fouresquare grave, foure cubites deepe, severely forbidding it to be opened, for that then he died not, but rested his bodie wearied with continuall businesse, untill many thousand thousands of yeeres were passed, after the which time a great learned man named Mirozu should come into Japan , and then would he rise up out of his grave againe. About his tombe many lampes are lighted, sent thither out of diverse provinces, for that the people are perswaded that whosoever is liberall and beneficiall towardes the beautifying of that monument shall not onely increase in wealth in this world, but in the life to come be safe through Combendaxis helpe. Such as give themselves to worship him, live in those Monasteries or Abbyes with shaven heads, as though they had forsaken all secular matters, whereas in deede they wallow in all sortes of wickednesse and lust. In these houses, the which are many (as I sayd) in number, doe remaine 6000 Bonzii, or thereabout besides the multitude of lay men, women be restrained from thence upon paine of death. Another company of Bonzii dwelleth at Fatonochaiti. They teach a great multitude of children all tricks & sleights of guile & theft: whom they do find to be of great towardnes, those do they instruct in al the petigrues of princes, and fashions of the nobilitie, in chivalrie and eloquence, and so send them abroad into other provinces, attired like yong princes, to this ende, that faining themselves to be nobly borne, they may with great summes of money borowed under the colour and pretence of nobilitie returne againe. Wherefore this place is so infamous in all Japan , that if any scholer of that order be happily taken abroad, he incontinently dieth for it. Neverthelesse these cousiners leave not daily to use their woonted wickednesse and knaverie.

North from Japan , three hundred leagues out of Meaco, lieth a great countrey of savage men clothed in beasts skinnes, rough bodied, with huge beards and monstrous muchaches, the which they hold up with litle forkes as they drinke. These people are great drinkers of wine, fierce in warres, and much feared of the Japans: being hurt in fight, they wash their wounds with salt water, other Surgerie have they none. In their breasts they are sayd to cary looking glasses: their swordes they tie to their heads, in such wise, that the handle doe rest upon their shoulders. Service and ceremonies have they none at all, onely they are woont to worship heaven. To Aquita a great towne in that Japonish kingdom, which we call Gevano, they much resort for marchandise, and the Aquitanes likewise doe travell into their countrey, howbeit not often, for that there many of them are slaine by the inhabiters.

Much more concerning this matter I had to write: but to avoyd tediousnesse I will come to speake of the Japans madnesse againe, who most desirous of vaine glory doe thinke then specially to get immortall fame, when they procure themselves to be most sumptuously and solemnly buried: their burials and obsequies in the citie Meaco are done after this maner. About one houre before the dead body be brought foorth, a great multitude of his friends apparelled in their best aray goe before unto the fire, with them goe their kinswomen and such as bee of their acquaintance, clothed in white (for that is the mourning colour there) with a changeable coloured vaile on their heads. Each woman hath with her also, according to her abilitie, all her familie trimmed up in white mockado: the better sort and wealthier women goe in litters of Cedar artificially wrought and richly dressed. In the second place marcheth a great company of footemen sumptuously apparelled. Then afarre off commeth one of these Bonzii master of the ceremonies for that superstition, bravely clad in silkes and gold, in a large and high litter excellently well wrought, accompanied with 30 other Bonzii or thereabout, wearing hats, linnen albes, and fine blacke upper garments. Then attired in ashe colour (for this colour also is mourning) with a long torch of Pineaple, he sheweth the dead body the way unto the fire, lest it either stumble or ignorantly go out of the way. Well neere 200 Bonzii folow him singing the name of that devill the which the partie deceassed chiefly did worship in his life time, and therewithall a very great bason is beaten even to the place of fire in stead of a bell. Then follow two great paper baskets hanged open at staves endes full of paper roses diversly coloured, such as beare them doe march but slowly, shaking ever now and then their staves, that the aforesayd flowers may fall downe by litle and litle as it were drops of raine: and be whirled about with wind. This shower say they is an argument that the soule of the dead man is gone to paradise. After al this, eight beardles Bonzii orderly two and two drag after them on the ground long speares, the points backward, with flags of one cubite a piece, wherein the name also of that idole is written. Then there be caried 10 lanterns trimmed with the former inscription, overcast with a fine vaile, and candles burning in them. Besides this, two yoong men clothed in ashe colour beare pineaple torches, not lighted, of three foote length, the which torches serve to kindle the fire wherein the dead corpes is to bee burnt. In the same colour follow many other that weare on the crownes of their heads faire, litle, threesquare, blacke lethren caps tied fast under their chinnes (for that is honorable amongst them) with papers on their heads, wherein the name of the devill I spake of, is written. And to make it the more solemne, after commeth a man with a table one cubite long, one foot broad, covered with a very fine white vaile, in both sides whereof is written in golden letters the aforesayd name. At the length by foure men is brought foorth the corps sitting in a gorgeous litter clothed in white, hanging downe his head and holding his hands together like one that prayed: to the rest of his apparell may you adde an upper gowne of paper, written full of that booke the which his God is sayd to have made, when he lived in the world, by whose helpe and merites commonly they doe thinke to be saved. The dead man his children come next after him most gallantly set foorth, the yongest wherof carieth likewise a pineaple torch to kindle the fire. Last of all foloweth a great number of people in such caps as I erst spake of.

When they are al come to ye place appointed for the obsequie, al the Bonzii wt the whole multitude for the space of one houre, beating pannes and basons with great clamours, call upon the name of that devill, the which being ended, the Obsequie is done in this maner. In the midst of a great quadrangle railed about, hanged with course linnen, and agreeably unto the foure partes of the world made with foure gates to goe in and out at, is digged a hole: in the hole is laied good store of wood, whereon is raised gallantly a waved roofe: before that stand two tables furnished with divers kindes of meates, especially drie Figs, Pomegranates and Tartes good store, but neither Fish nor Flesh: upon one of them standeth also a chafer with coales, and in it sweete wood to make perfumes. When all this is readie, the corde wherewith the litter was caried, is throwen by a long rope into the fire: as many as are present strive to take the rope in their handes, using their aforesayd clamours, which done, they goe in procession as it were round about the quadrangle thrise. Then setting the litter on the wood built up ready for the fire that Bonzius who then is master of the ceremonies, saieth a verse that no bodie there understandeth, whirling thrise about over his head a torch lighted, to signifie thereby that the soule of the dead man had neither any beginning, ne shall have at any time an ende, and throweth away the torch. Two of the dead man his children, or of his neere kinne, take it up againe, and standing one at the East side of the litter, the other at the West, doe for honour and reverence reach it to each other thrise over the dead corps, and so cast it into the pile of wood: by and by they throw in oyle, sweete wood, and other perfumes, accordingly as they have plentie, and so with a great flame bring the corpes to ashes: his children in the meane while putting sweete wood into the chafer at the table with odours, doe solemnly and religiously worship their father as a Saint: which being done, the Bonzii are paied each one in his degree. The master of the ceremonies hath for his part five duckats, sometimes tenne, sometimes twentie, the rest have tenne Julies a piece, or els a certaine number of other presents called Caxae. The meate that was ordained, as soone as the dead corps friends and all the Bonzii are gone, is left for such as served at the obsequie, for the poore and impotent lazars.

The next day returne to the place of obsequie the dead man his children, his kinred and friends, who gathering up his ashes, bones, and teeth, doe put them in a gilded pot, and so carie them home, to bee set up in the same pot covered with cloth, in the middest of their houses. Many Bonzii returne likewise to these private funerals, and so doe they againe the seventh day: then cary they out the ashes to bee buried in a place appointed, laying thereupon a fouresquare stone, wherein is written in great letters drawen all the length of the stone, the name of that devil the which the dead man worshipped in his life time. Every day afterward his children resort unto the grave with roses and warme water that the dead corps thirst not. Nor the seventh day onely, but the seventh moneth and yeere, within their owne houses they renue this obsequie, to no small commodities and gaine of the Bonzii: great rich men doe spend in these their funerals 3000 duckats or thereabout, the meaner sort two or three hundred. Such as for povertie be not able to go to that charges, are in the night time darkelong without all pompe and ceremonies buried in a dunghill.

They have another kinde of buriall, especially neere the Sea side, for them that bee not yet dead. These fellowes are such, as having religiously with much devotion worshipped Amida , now desirous to see him, doe slay themselves. And first they goe certaine dayes begging almes, the which they thrust into their sleeves, then preach they in publique a sermon unto the people, declaring what they mind to doe, with the great good liking of all such as doe heare them: for every body wondreth at such a kinde of holinesse. Then take they hookes to cut downe briars and thornes that might hinder them in their way to heaven, and so embarke themselves in a new vessell, tying great stones about their neckes, armes, loines, thighes, and feete : thus they launching out into the maine Sea be either drowned there, their shippe bouged for that purpose, or els doe cast themselves over-boord headlong into the Sea. The emptie barke is out of hand set a fire for honours sake by their friends that folow them in another boat of their owne, thinking it blasphemie that any mortall creature should afterward once touch the barke that had bene so religiously halowed.

Truly when we went to Meaco, eight dayes before we came to the Ile of Hiu at Fore towne, sixe men and two women so died. To all such as die so the people erecteth a Chappell, and to each of them a pillar and a pole made of Pineaple for a perpetuall monument, hanging up many shreds of paper in stickes all the roofe over, with many verses set downe in the walles in commendation of that blessed company. Wherefore unto this place both day and night many come very superstitiously in pilgrimage. It happened even then as Aloisius Almeida and I went to christen a childe wee travelled that way at what time foure or five olde women came foorth out of the aforesayd chappell with beades in their handes (for in this point also the devill counterfaiteth Christianitie) who partly scorned at us for follie, partly frowned and taunted at our small devotion, for passing by that holy monument without any reverence or worship done thereunto at all.

It remaineth now we speake two or three wordes of those Sermons the Bonzii are woont to make, not so many as ours in number, but assuredly very well provided for. The Pulpit is erected in a great temple with a silke Canopie over it, therein standeth a costly seate, before the seate a table with a bell and a booke. At the houre of Sermon each sect of the Japans resorteth to their owne doctors in divers Temples. Up goeth the doctor into the Pulpit, and being set downe, after that hee hath lordlike looked him about, signifieth silence with his bell, and so readeth a fewe wordes of that booke we spake of, the which he expoundeth afterward more at large. These preachers be for the most part eloquent, and apt to drawe with their speach the mindes of their hearers. Wherefore to this ende chieflie (such is their greedinesse) tendeth all their talke, that the people bee brought under the colour of godlinesse to enrich their monasteries, promising to each one so much the more happinesse in the life to come, how much the greater costes and charges they bee at in Church matters and obsequies: notwith standing this multitude of superstitious Sects and companies, and the diversities thereof amongst themselves: yet in this principally all their Superintendents doe travell so to perswade their Novices in their owne tales and lies, that they thinke nothing els trueth, nothing els sure to come by everlasting salvation, nothing els woorth the hearing. Whereunto they adde other subtleties, as in going gravitie, in countenance, apparell, and in all outward shew, comelinesse. Whereby the Japans mindes are so nousled in wicked opinions, & doe conceive thereby such trust and hope of everlasting salvation, that not onely at home, but also abroad in every corner of the towne continually almost they run over their beades, humbly asking of Amida and Xaca, wealth, honour, good health, and everlasting joyes. Thus then, deare brethren, may you thinke how greatly they need the helpe of God, that either doe bring the Gospell into this countrey, or receiving it brought unto them, doe forsake idolatrie and joine themselves with Christ, being assaulted by so many snares of the devill, troubled with the daily dissuasions of their Bonzii, and finally, so injuriously, so hardly, so sharpely vexed of their kinred and friends, that except the grace of God obtained by the sacrifices and prayers of the Catholique church doe helpe us, it cannot be chosen but that the faith and constancie of many, if not of all, in these first beginnings of our churches, will greatly be put in jeopardie. So much the more it standeth you upon that so earnestly long for the health of soules, to commend specially these Japanish flocks unto our Lord.

We came to Sacaio the eight and twentie day of January: Aloisius Almeida first for businesse, but afterward let by sicknesse, staied there some while, but I parting the next day from thence came thirteene leagues off to Meaco the last of Januarie. Of my comming all the Christians tooke great comfort, but specially Gaspar Vilela who in 6 yeres had seen none of our companie at Meaco: his yeeres are not yet fortie, but his gray haires shew him to be seventie, so vehemently is his litle body afflicted and worne with extreme cold. Hee speaketh Japanish so skilfully after the phrase of Meaco (the which for the renowne of this people and royal seat of the king is best accounted of) that hee doeth both confesse and preach in that language. Certaine godly bookes also he hath done into that speach, not omitting to translate other as laisure suffreth him. To make an ende, our Lord for his goodnesse vouchsafe to preserve us all continually, and to give us ayde both rightly to interprete his will, and well to doe the same.

From Meaco the 19 of February 1565.

Other such like matter is handled both in other his letters, and also in the Epistles written by his companions to be scene at large in the aforesaid volume. Amongst the rest this seemed in my judgement one of the principall, and therefore the rather I tooke upon me to do it into English.

Of the Iles beyond Japan in the way from China to the Moluccas .

AMONGST other Iles in the Asian sea betwixt Cantan a Chinish haven in Cathaio & the Moluccas , much spoken of in the Indian histories and painted out in Maps, Ainan and Santianum are very famous. Ainan standeth 19 degrees on this side of the Equinoctiall line nere China , from whence the Chinish nation hath their provision for shipping and other necessaries requisite for their Navie. There staied Balthasar Gagus a great traveller 5 moneths, who describeth that place after this maner. Ainan. is a goodly countrey ful of Indian fruits & all kind of victuals, besides great store of jewels and pearle, well inhabited, the townes built of stone, the people rude in conditions, apparelled in divers coloured rugs, with two oxe hornes, as it were, made of fine cypres hanging downe about their eares, and a paire of sharpe cyzers at their foreheads.

The cause wherefore they go in such attire I could not understand, except it bee for that they do counterfeit the devil in the forme of a brute beast, offring themselves up to him.

Santianum is an Ile neere unto the haven Cantan in the confines likewise of China , famous for the death of that woorthy traveller and godly professour and painfull doctor of the Indian nation in matters concerning religion, Francis Xavier, who after great labours, many injuries, and calamities infinite suffred with much patience, singular joy and gladnesse of mind, departed in a cabben made of bowes and rushes upon a desert mountaine, no lesse voyd of all worldly commodities, then endued with all spirituall blessings, out of this life, the 2 day of December, the yeere of our Lord 1552. after that many thousand of these Easterlings were brought by him to the knowledge of Christ. Of this holy man, his particular vertues, and specially travell, and wonderfull works in that region, of other many litle lies (yet not so litle, but they may right wel be written of at laisure) all the latter histories of the Indian regions are full.

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