Most Catholic daimyo apostatized, and forced their subjects to do so, although a few would not renounce the religion and left the country as well. A brutal campaign of persecution followed, with thousands across Kyushu and other parts of Japan killed, tortured, or forced to renounce their religion.
Catholicism's last gasp as an open religion, and the last major military action in Japan until the Meiji Restoration, was the Shimabara rebellion of 1637. While there is no evidence that Europeans directly incited the rebellion, Shimabara had been a Christian han for several decades, and the rebels adopted many Portuguese motifs and Christian icons.
Consequently, in Tokugawa society the word "Shimabara" solidified the connection between Christianity and disloyalty, constantly used again and again in Tokugawa propaganda.
The Augustinian history of Nagasaki is a glorious one. Among its surviving landmarks from the seventeenth century is the "spectacles bridge" (See picture above), and it has an Augustinian connection.
This bridge built in 1634 by the Chinese monk Mozi of Kofukuji Temple, is the oldest stone arch bridge in Japan and has been designated as an Important Cultural Asset.
It received the popular name of "Megane-bashi," or "Spectacles Bridge," because its two arches and their reflection in the water create the image of a pair of eyeglasses.
On 23rd July 1982 a disastrous flash flood washed away six of the ten historic stone bridges over Nakashima River.
Meganebashi was badly damaged, but fortunately almost all the original stones were retrieved and the bridge was restored to its original condition.
In the early seventeenth century, the local Augustinian monastery was located near this bridge.
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