Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Telling The Story Of The Great Unknown Martyrs with Giveaway

Walt Massell | @ICFWriters

Today we welcome Walt Mussell to our blog today. Walt will be joining us again tomorrow and is giving away one ecopy of his book.

When I started writing Christian fiction set in medieval Japan, I knew I would learn much about Christianity’s early efforts there.
What I did not expect, was that knowledge would compel me to do.

Japanese history has what is called a Christian Century, roughly 1549-1650. In 1549, a team of six missionaries, led by Father Francis Xavier, landed at Kagoshima, Japan, and begin the spreading the faith. Within 65 years, the Christian population surpassed 300,000, making it the jewel of missionary efforts in the Far East. However, in 1614, the ruling government, the Tokugawa Shogunate, began driving the religion out of the country. Missionaries were ordered to leave and those that stayed risked death. Over the next few decades, tens of thousands of Christians would be killed. The Jewel of the Far East was now as forbidden as the Garden of Eden.

And one of the worst part about all of this is that so few people today have ever heard of these Christians. A former pastor of mine put it best when he referred to these people as The Great Unknown Martyrs.

It was this history that led me to create a presentation that I now give at churches. I call my presentation, “The Path to Silence: Japan’s Christian Century and Beyond.” The title is based on the book Silence by Japanese novelist Shusaku Endo. The book’s setting is the 1640s, at the end of Japan’s Christian Century. Silence is the story of two young priests who journey to Japan to find their mentor, a priest who’d reportedly committed apostasy. In the end, one of the two priests dies for his faith. The other priest apostatizes to save the lives of local Christians. It’s an excellent representation of what happened in the time period.

The presentation runs roughly 90 minutes. Within a few weeks, I will be doing a 30-minute version for the Atlanta Archbishop’s office for a Lunch-n-Learn. I hope that people will want to invite me to their churches to do the full presentation.

And it’s this presentation that I think has changed me. Of all the things I thought about when I started writing, I never imagined giving speeches. I never imagined being a guest on national (U.S.) radio show as a subject-matter expert on Japanese martyrs. In one way, it’s like I came up with my own ministry.

But then I know it really wasn’t my own doing. 😊

My question today is this: Is there a way you feel you are being called?

Please comment below for a chance to win an e-copy of my book, The Samurai’s Heart. Check back March 28th to see if you are the winner.

Walt Mussell lives in an Atlanta-area suburb with his wife and their two boys. He primarily writes historicals, with a focus on Japan, an interest he gained during the four years he lived there. He refers to his work as “Like Shogun, but the heroine survives.”
Walt is a 2017 Kindle Scout winner, which led to the contract for his first novel, The Samurai's Heart. E-copies can be downloaded from any Amazon website. Print copies can be ordered at your local bookstore. Please visit his website at waltmussell.com to subscribe to his newsletter.


  1. That's an amazing story, Walt - both your story, and the story of the Japanese martyrs. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Iola, thank you. I never imagined this when I started writing.

  3. I'm so glad you're telling these stories, Walt! They deserve to be better known. The Anglican Church celebrates the Martyrs of Japan every Feb 6.

  4. Donna, the Catholic Church does, too. Twenty-six Christians (known as St. Paul Miki and his companions) were executed on February 5, 1597. However, as February 5 is associated with Saint Agatha, the Feast of St. Paul Miki and his Companions is celebrated on February 6.

    I mentioned above that I was on a national radio show. I was on as a Subject-Matter Expert about this particular Feast Day.

  5. I'm so glad that God has opened up these doors for you to share the story of Japan's martyrs ~ I know that other Christians have a strong desire to hear them and learn from them. Looking forward to reading your book.

    1. Thank you. My next presentation will be a thirty-minute version for a Lunch-n-Learn at the Archbishop’s office. I’ll have a chance to present to many different people from different churches. Im hoping they’ll bring me to their own parishes for the full presentation.

  6. The winner is Alicia G. Ruggieri. Could you please contact us with your email (yourname @ email dot com)