On February 16, 9:00 am (Japan Standard Time), I will be giving a Zoom presentation on the architectural and urban history of Azuchi City in Japan, established by the famous warlord Oda Nobunaga in the 1570s. The core focus of the presentation will be the Jesuit facilities established in the city, especially the Jesuit Seminary, which was destroyed along with the city around 1582. The presentation is titled “A Brief History of the Jesuit Facilities in Azuchi: New Insights on their Architectural and Urban Features”.
Since their arrival in Japan in 1549, the Jesuits experienced for decades numerous difficulties in terms of imposing their presence and converting the population to Catholicism. A crucial turning point came in the late 1570s, when the powerful lord Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) started implementing the construction of the city of Azuchi, providing an opportunity for the Jesuits to secure a land plot there for a seminary and a church. In this presentation, by collecting various types of data (old maps, geological data, etc.) and collating them into a GIS database, I will first seek to clarify how the Jesuit buildings fit within the program of landscape transformations and landfills enacted by Nobunaga, as well as their relationship with the surrounding built environment. Following this, I will provide an overview of what is known about the architectural features of the buildings established by the Jesuits in Azuchi, and how in combination with the church of Miyako (aka Kyoto) established in 1576, the design of these religious facilities represented a new phase for Christian architecture in Japan, marked by the missionaries’ desire to project an image of prestige and respectability.