Francis Xavier was a Jesuit missionary. He left Europe for Asia to propagate Christianity. The extant letters of Xavier describe his missionary work, which was conducted mainly in India, Southeast Asia, and Japan. He often talks about the establishment of schools and Latin education, especially in Goa and Malacca. After visiting these two places, he finally arrives in Japan in 1549. However, in his letters he does not refer to the establishment or possibility of Latin education in Japan. It was not until Alessandro Valignano came to Japan in 1579 that systematic Latin education started.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss why Xavier promoted Latin education in Goa and Malacca, but not in Japan, and why Xavier could not do so in Japan while Valignano actually could. In consideration of these matters, let us introduce the local situations and Latin education in Goa and Malacca, then compare the two cities with Japan. Moreover, we will compare Japanese society in Xavier’s time with that of Valignano’s.
Keywords: Francis Xavier, Society of Jesus, Latin, Alessandro Valignano, Japan