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The Society of Jesus. A Catholic religious order for men founded by Ignatius of Loyola in Paris in 1534. One of its founders, Francis Xavier, reached Kagoshima in 1549 and there began a Christian mission in Japan. Numerous members of the order were martyred during the Tokugawa persecution. The Jesuits returned to Japan at the beginning of the 20th century and established Sophia University in Tokyo in 1913. The order also runs Elizabeth University of Music in Hiroshima, four high schools, and various parishes. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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