Martyrs

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February 5th 1597: 26 martyrs of Japan execution

On this day in 1597, 26 Japanese Catholcs were executed by crucifixtion in Nagasaki. European Christians sent a number of missionaries to Japan throughout the sixteenth century, converting as many as 300,000 Japanese people by the end of the century. However, the Japanese government saw Catholics, an example of foreign influence, as a threat to the nation. Toyotomi Hideyoshi - the highest-ranked official of the emperor - sought to consolidate his power by expelling priests from the country, which began with the arrest of six missionaries and eighteen Japanese Christians in Kyoto and Osaka. They were forced to make the 800km walk to Nagaski, and were joined by two more Catholics along the way. When the 26 arrived at Nishizaka Hill, Nagasaki, they were executed. This marked the beginning of two centuries of Christian persecution in Japan; by 1630, Catholicism had been driven underground. The martyrs were beatified in 1627 and canonised by the Pope in 1862. Japan’s Christian ban was lifted by the Meiji government in 1873, and thousands of Christians came out of hiding. The site of the execution is now a Japanese National Sanctuary and a pilgrim spot for Catholics; Pope John Paul II visited the site in 1981. The story of the martyrdom of early Japanese converts to Christianity has been explored in Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence, which has since been adapted for screen by Martin Scorcese.

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My Top Ten Most Disturbing Movies:

10. August Underground’s Mordum (2003)

“Two friends bring along a newcomer to go on a killing spree.“

9. Compliance (2012)

“When a prank caller convinces a fast food restaurant manager to interrogate an innocent young employee, no-one is left unharmed. Based on true events.“

8. Deadgirl (2008)

“Two high school boys discover an imprisoned woman in an abandoned mental asylum who cannot die.“

7. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

“A New York University professor returns from a rescue mission to the Amazon rainforest with the footage shot by a lost team of documentarians who were making a film about the area’s local cannibal tribes.“

6. A Serbian Film (2010)

“An aging porn star agrees to participate in an “art film” in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.“

5. Salò or 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

“Four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to a hundred and twenty days of physical, mental and sexual torture.“

4. The Snowtown Murders or Snowtown (2011)

“Based on true events, 16 year-old Jamie falls in with his mother’s new boyfriend and his crowd of self-appointed neighborhood watchmen, a relationship that leads to a spree of torture and murder.“

3. The Girl Next Door (2007)

“Based on the Jack Ketchum novel of the same name, The Girl Next Door follows the unspeakable torture and abuses committed on a teenage girl in the care of her aunt…and the boys who witness and fail to report the crime.“

2. Irreversible (2002)

“Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in the underpass.“

1. Martyrs (2008)

“A young woman’s quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.“