Japan to translate Marega Papers

The Vatican has signed an agreement with Japan for the translation of antique documents charting the arrival of Christianity to the eastern nation.

The Marega Papers, pictured in the hands of Monsignor Cesare Pasini, head of the Vatican Apostolic Library, area series of some 10,000 records laid down on fragile rice paper, date from 1719 and mention both the first arrival of Christianity in Japan in 1549 and the later persecutions of the fledgling community. The documents first came to Rome with an Italian missionary, Rev Mario Marega in the 1940s and remained filed and untouched until 2010.

The agreement covers a six-year period during which scholars will translate the papers while simultaneously revealing insights on Christianity in Japan, of special interest to local community.

Japan’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Teruaki Nagasaki, hailed the agreement and said: "I think that in Japan many researchers are just waiting for these texts to shed a better light on that period.”