A Summer Storm
In late July of 1587, the dictator Hideyoshi clamped a ban on Christ in Japan. Having just finished his conquest of Kyushu, he was relaxing in Hakata with Toku-un, his private quack and trusted advisor, and overindulging in draining the cask of Portuguese port wine he had been given that very evening by Padre Coelho, the Jesuit Vice-Provincial, the senior clergyman in Japan.
Earlier that day Hideyoshi had inspected the Padre’s sailing-ship—well gunned to protect herself against the pirates prowling Japan’s sea lanes—and had left in an apparent fit of joy; a Japanese Catholic observer had, however, warned Padre Coelho that he must offer the ship to Hideyoshi at once, for this man could see (unlike the Europeans, not so steeped in the subtleties of unspoken Japanese communication) that the dictator was jealous. Sadly for Christendom in Japan, the Padre did not heed that prophetic warning.
He learned its truth in the wee hours of the night: Hideyoshi’s sheriff came to the dock, demanding that the Vice-Provincial debark to hear the dictator’s charges, presumably written up by Toku-un in the depths of the ruler’s drunken revel.