Giovanni Sidotti

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Giovanni Sidotti Batlista (1668 - 1714) was an Sicilian Jesuit missionary, who entered Japan in July 1708, despite the Tokugawa Shōgunate's ban on Christianity. He was arrested upon landing, and taken to Edo for interrogation. He was later imprisoned and spent the remainder of his life in captivity.

His arrest resulted in the ban on Christianity being strengthened and anybody who denounced Christians was rewarded with large sums of money. It was only after the downfall of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1867 and the rapid modernisation of Japan during the Meiji Restoration that the ban on Christianity was lifted.

One other result of his arrest was the later publication of the 3-volume work Seiyo kibun (西洋奇聞 A Report on the Occident) which was written by Arai Hakuseki. Hakuseki, a Confucian scholar and high-ranking official of the shōgunate, who was curious about the West (he had read the works of Matteo Ricci and other Jesuits) had interviewed Sidotti, via a Latin interpreter, during his imprisonment.

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