Houston, TX 77005
2:00 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
On Campus | Alumni
This paper investigates the significance that music and musical ability held for the Japanese-Jesuit ambassadors who toured Portugal, Spain and Italy from 1584-1586. Specifically, I will consider and postulate which musicians and what music the Japanese encountered during this rich period of late Renaissance music history. My second goal is to demonstrate how the Jesuits used music as a critical means to reach and convert the Japanese in the seminarios, enabling them to read, sing, and play Western polyphonic and secular music. This will include a discussion of pedagogical treatises from which the Japanese learned to play and appreciate various keyboard instruments such as the organ (orgão), clavichord (monacordia or cravo), and harpsichord (clavicembalo). The Jesuits’ pedagogical use of music not only functioned as a significant missionary tool to transmit the liturgy, but ultimately, I will demonstrate that the Japanese converts’ ability to play western keyboard and string instruments and sing Latin polyphony represents and signifies most directly the Jesuit’s success and realization in conversion and enculturation. Valignano’s cultural, economic, and religious success in Japan owes much to the Tensh? Embassy’s fluency with music as a powerful tool for religious conversion and political power, which ultimately convinced the European elite to continue to financially support the Jesuits’ mission in Japan, while simultaneously convincing Emperor Hideyoshi and other powerful daimyo to allow the Jesuits to continue their practice in Japan.