On February 5th each year, I stop and remember the martyrs of Japan. In 1597, 26 Christians (6 European Franciscan missionaries, a Japanese Jesuit priest, a Korean layman, 15 Japanese laypersons, and 3 young boys) were killed by crucifixion at Nagasaki. The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Holy Catholic Church of Japan) adopted this commemoration in its calendar in 1959 as a festival of all those who have given their lives for the Christian faith in Japan.
I became aware of this story more than a decade ago after reading “Silence” by Shusaku Endo and William Johnson.
It is a powerful story … one I’d recommend.