Blessed Dennis Fugishima

Blessed Dennis Fugishima

Dennis Fugishima


  • Death: 11/01/1622
  • Nationality (place of birth): Japan

Dennis Fujishima (1584-1622) was a catechist who assisted Jesuit missionary Father Pietro Paulo Navarra and was captured with him during the great persecution in early 17th-century Japan. Fugishima had become a Christian as a young man.

When Shogun Iyeyasu's 1614 edict ordered all foreign missionaries to leave, Navarra was one of the two dozen Jesuits who chose to remain and work underground. For the next seven years he went around the province of Shimbara accompanied by Fugishima and Petrus Onizzuca. They were with Navarro after Christmas in 1621 when priest-hunters apprehended them along with Navarra and his servant, Clement Yuemon, and delivered them to the daimyo of Arima who respected his captives, although they were clearly guilty of spreading the proscribed Christian religion. The daimyo offered to free them if they would renounce Christianity, an offer they turned down. He wanted to transfer them secretly to Macao where they would be set free, but before he could act, orders came from the shogun that the three were to die by slow fire.

On November 1, the day of execution, Father Navarro celebrated the Mass of All Saints and accepted the Jesuit vows which Onizuka and Fjishima professed during the Mass. All men were tied to stakes, but did not suffer prolonged agony because the daimyo had instructed the soldiers to place the wood so the fire would burn quickly.

Martyres in Japan

Originally Collected and edited by: Tom Rochford, SJ