Four Japanese students go to the Vatican dressed up in traditional robes.
The cold weather of Rome was no obstacle for these Japanese students.
The came all the way from Japan to the Pope's general audience wearing their kimonos, wooden shoes and white socks. Their mission was clear: celebrating the memory of the first Jesuit who traveled to Nagasaki.
"Jesuit Father Alessandro Valignano founded Japan's first seminary. In 1582 he sent his four best students and sent them to Europe, where they were welcomed by the Pope himself. So we like to think that we're the modern version of these four students.”
Jesuit priest Alessandro Valignano traveled to Japan in 1573, becoming the first Italian missionary to reach the Asian country.
Now, the seminary he founded in Nagasaki is a high school. The students make it a point to keep his memory alive as a sign of gratitude.
"These are the typical garments former seminarians would wear. They're a replica of the uniforms the students of Alessandro Valignano wore.”
During the weekly General Audience, they were able to get really close to Pope Francis and they even managed to give him a letter.
Interestingly none of the four students is Catholic, but nonetheless they came because they say they're grateful for what the Church has done in their country.