Since St. Francis Xavier landed in Kagoshima in 1549, the Jesuit mission in Japan had achieved an amazing number of conversions, even though their activity lasted for merely about fifty years. Their great success came to an abrupt end in 1614 when the Bakufu government began the full proscription and persecution of the religion. An earlier ruler, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, had already banned Christianity and ordered the expulsion of foreign missionaries in 1587, but without strict enforcement. Since the 1630s, the former Christians were required to enroll in local Buddhist temples and annually go through the practice of treading on Christian icons in order to prove their apostasy. However, many Christians secretly retained the faith by disguising their true religious identity with Buddhist paraphernalia. These so-called “underground” (or sempuku) Christians survived more than two hundred years of persecution, and today some groups still continue to practice their own religion, refusing to join the Catholic Church. The present-day religion of the latter, called “hidden” (or kakure) Christians to distinguish them from the former, has drawn the attention of ample anthropological as well as religious studies.