Tenshō Shōnen Shisetsu
The Italian Tour of Four Japanese Youths in 1585
(music from Striggio to Monteverdi)
Date: Thursday 14 June 2012, 6pm
Dedicated to the memory of Shona Kelly Wray, Fellow of Villa I Tatti 2011-2012
This concert recalls the European visit of four young Japanese boys who were sent to pay homage to the Pope by three daimyo who had been converted to Christianity by the Jesuit mission in Japan. Of noble birth, the boys had all attended the Jesuit seminary at Kyushu, where they studied Japanese letters and literature, but also Latin, Portuguese and European music. Accompanied by a Jesuit priest, they left Japan on 20 February 1582, and arrived in Europe on 10 August 1584. After a triumphal tour through Portugal and Spain they reached Livorno on 1 March 1585, where they were met by representatives of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. This concert offered a musical tour of Italy, following in their steps from Florence to Rome (where they would be received by no less than two Popes), Ferrara, Venice, Vicenza and Mantua, concluding with their departure from Genoa for Spain on 8 August 1585. Their extraordinary adventure is known in Japan today as the Tenshō Shōnen Shisetsu.
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