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Xavier, Francis

(1506-1552). Jesuit missionary and saint. Introduced Christianity into Japan and set up the first Christian mission there. Born in Spain in 1506, he studied at the University of Paris and was a founding member of the Society for Jesus (Jesuits). Appointed apostolic delegate for Asia, he left Europe in 1541 and traveled to India and Malacca. In 1547 he met in Malacca a Japanese fugitive named Anjiro, whose account of his naive country inspired Xavier to evangalize Japan. Xavier reached Kagoshima with two Jesuit companions on August 15, 1549; and with Anjiro as his interpereter, he preached Christianity. A year after his arrival Xavier visited Hirado and Yamaguchi, but wishing to obtain permission to preach throughout Japan, he made his way to Kyoto in an unsuccessful bid to meet Emporer Gonara. He left Japan at the end of 1551. His ultimate purpose was to evanalize the Chinese, but he died enroute to China on December 3, 1552. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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