February 6 is the commemoration of the Martyrs of Nagasaki.
Twenty-six Francisan and Jesuit missionaries and Japanese converts were crucified together by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Following their arrests, they were taken to the public square of Meako to the city's principal temple. They each had a piece of their left ear cut off, and were then paraded from city to city for weeks with a man shouting their crimes and encouraging their abuse.
The priests and brothers were accused of preaching the outlawed faith of Christianity, the laity of supporting and aiding them. They were each repeatedly offered freedom if they would renounce Christianity. They each declined.
The story of one of them, Louis Ibaraki, is particularly touching, as he was a year younger than my own son is now when he was martyred. He was the nephew of Saint Paul Ibarak and Saint Leo Karasumaru and an altar boy for the Franciscan missionaries. He was noted for maintaining his high spirits and encouraging all around him during the torture and forced march to Nagasaki.
The Japanese style of crucifixion was to put iron clamps around the wrists, ankles and throat, a straddle piece placed between the legs for weight support, and the person pierced with a lance up through the left and right ribs toward the opposite shoulder