Mancio Ito (伊東マンショ)

Mancio ITO (otherwise written as Mancio or '満所', circa 1569 - November 13, 1612) was a Christian and one of the senior envoys of the Tensho Keno Shonen Shisetsu (the Tensho Youth Mission to Europe) who lived from the Azuchi Momoyama period into the early Edo period. He was a Jesuit and a Catholic priest. Mancio was his Christian name, and Sukemasu was his real name. He was the son of Sukeharu ITO. His mother was the daughter of Yoshisuke ITO, a landed daimyo of Hyuga Province, and was commonly known as 'Machi no ue'. He was related to Yoshishige OTOMO.


Mancio ITO was born as the grandson of Yoshisuke ITO, the landed daimyo of Hyuga Province. When the Aya-jo Castle which was the branch castle of the Ito clan fell due to the attack of the Shimazu clan, Mancio ITO who was eight years old at the time, was carried on Kunihiro TANAKA's back, and escaped to Bungo Province. He was introduced to Christianity while he was living in Bungo, and by this chance, he entered Seminario (Seminary) in Arima, intending to become a priest. Alessandro Valignano who came to Japan as a Jesuit visitor, met with Sumitada OMURA who was a Christian daimyo (Christian feudal lord), and in order to restore missionary work that was in financial difficulties, and to nurture Japanese priests which would be in charge of the coming generation, he sought to dispatch an envoy representing Christian daimyo to Rome.

Therefore, Valignano marked out four boys who were studying at the Seminario (Seminary). Mancio ITO was chosen to represent Sorin OTOMO.
He was in fact, said to be distantly-related as 'the child of a younger sister of Yoshimasu ITO, who was the husband of the niece (the daughter of Fusamoto ICHIJO) of Sorin OTOMO.'
As a matter of fact, Sukekatsu ITO, the son of Yoshimasu who was related to Sorin was arranged to be dispatched, but Mancio went instead because Sukekatsu was in Azuchi-cho, and could not depart on time. Criteria for selecting the representatives were good looks, health that can withstand a long trip, and outstanding aptitude for foreign languages and studies.

Refer to the section on Tensho Keno Shonen Shisetsu for their trip to Europe.)

A year after their return to Japan in 1590, they had an audience with Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI in his Jurakudai residence. Hideyoshi took a liking to them, and he especially recommended Mancio to become an officer, but Mancio declined since he had made up his mind to become a priest. Later, he went to Noviciado in Amakusa in order to continue studying to become a priest, and went to collegio(college established by the Jesuits) and continued his studies. On August 21, 1593 he joined the Society of Jesus with the other three members of the Tensho Keno Shonen Shisetsu.

By 1601, he transferred to collegio in Macao to study advanced course on theology (Miguel CHIJIWA withdrew at this point). In 1608, Mancio ITO, Martinao HARA, and Juliao NAKAURA were ordinated together as priests.

Mancio made his base in Ogura, but was deported by the feudal lord Tadaoki HOSOKAWA, and moved to Nakatsu City, where he was again deported, and moved to Nagasaki City. He taught at a collegio in Nagasaki, but died of illness on November 13, 1612. It was 22 years after he returned from Europe.

Furthermore, it is generally known that he was 'chosen to represent Sorin OTOMO', but the Kao (written seal mark) on the letters written by Sorin to the Pope and so on were ones used in the earlier periods (1564 - 1572), and in contrast to the signature '普蘭師司怙' which was expressed by kanon (Han reading of Chinese characters) of Sorin's Christian name (Francisco), or '府蘭' (Furan) which was its abbreviation, both of which Sorin used at that time, the signature '不龍獅子虎' which was not seen in other letters was used in the letter to the Pope; the letter written by Sorin OTOMO that they were carrying has a high chance of being a forgery, and in fact, Sorin had no concern in youth dispatch since it was done under the leadership of ARIMA, OMURA, and Valignano, and there is a high possibility that it was not Sorin himself that appointed Mancio to be 'the representative of Sorin OTOMO', as is pointed out in the monograph and so on by Kiichi MATSUDA.


It is recorded that Mancio danced with Bianca Cappello, the queen of the Grand Duke of Tuscany when the envoy was invited to a ball in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany where they visited on their journey to Europe.