On 21 December 2022, Ambassador KOSHIKAWA Kazuhiko attended the statue enthronement of Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615) at the San Miguel Pro-Cathedral in San Miguel, City of Manila. Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula, Dr. Ernesto de Pedro, who is doing research on Takayama Ukon for long time, Mr. Seiji Takano, President of the Japanese Association, Manila, Inc. and members of the Catholic Church also attended the occasion. Shrine Rector Rev. Msgr. Mario D. Enriquez presided the mass that took place after the enthronement.
In his speech, Ambassador Koshikawa remarked that Blessed Takayama Ukon’s pioneering legacy continues to live on throughout centuries and expressed his hope for more Japanese visitors to get to know more about him through his statue. “He was able to experience the warmth and hospitality of the Filipino people and this created a seed for the long-standing friendship between Japan and the Philippines,” the Ambassador said.
The enthronement of Blessed Takayama Ukon’s statue also marked the 408th Anniversary of his exile from Japan to Manila along with 350 other Catholic Japanese. A key figure in Japan-Philippines relations, Takayama was a former feudal lord and samurai exiled for his Catholic faith at a time when Christians were persecuted in Japan. He died in Intramuros on February 3, 1615 and was beatified by the Vatican in 2017.