Abstract The iconography of the martyrs of Japan is often linked to that of the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Nagasaki. This group of mostly Franciscans was crucified in 1597 and beatified in 1627, and also included three Jesuits. The Society of Jesus, however, did not emphasize these martyrs in their engravings and representations of the victims of their Japanese mission especially before their beatification. The close study of two major works, Nicolas Trigault’s History of the Martyrs of Japan (Latin, 1623; French, 1624) and the famous Imago primi saeculi (1640), reveals how text and image combine to generate a different discourse of martyrdom that centered on sacrificial fire rather than death on the cross. Although the first three beatified martyrs were never forgotten, the Imago in particular foregrounds another Jesuit martyr, Carlo Spinola, whose prominent family had played an important role in that work’s creation.