On the morning of February 5, 1597, twenty-six crosses lined the brow of Nishizaka, the western slope of the mountain overlooking Nagasaki Bay. Below, the mountainside was blanketed with Christians awaiting the spearmen’s coups de grâce. Perhaps, amid the muffled sounds of weeping, they heard the mournful creaking of the ships in the harbor—that gateway to the West that had spawned this most Catholic of Asian cities. But above all else, they heard a preacher’s voice ringing out atop the slope.
“All of you here, please hear what I have to say,” he sang out.
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