E90 Jesus in Japan
Show Notes for episode 90 of our Podcast – Jesus in Japan.
The podcasts return has aligned with Christmas Day, so why not talk a little about Jesus. For there are some that believe Jesus didn’t die on the cross, but in fact made his way to Japan to live out the rest of his life and later died.
This supposed grave can be found in the village of Shingō, Aomori Prefecture, but what exactly is the story of how Christ came to be in Japan?
According to the tale, Jesus has already once been to Japan when he was aged 21, wanting to collect divine knowledge and eventually returned to Judea, via Morocco, at the age of 31 to tell of his know knowledge and teach the people. Of course he would later find himself crucified upon the cross, but at the site of his grave in Aomori it will tell you that his brother Isukiri was actual the one who was placed upon the cross.
He took his brother Jesus’ place allowing Christ to return to Japan via Siberia, with him he took a lock of his mothers hair and one of the ears of his brother Isukiri. This tale finishes with Christ settling down in Shingō village where he would live to the age of 106. Here he took the name of Toraitarō Daitenkū, marrying a woman called Miyuko in the village and having 3 daughters.
He spent the rest of his days with his wife helping the needy and was aid to have had the name of “long nosed-goblin” due to his distinctive nose. After his passing his body was left exposed on the hilltop for 4 years before finally being interred.
At the site there are actually two graves, one for the body of Christ and the other for Isukiri’s ear.
So where did this story come from? Well, it appears to be a relatively recent one as it only dates from 1934. A man known as Toya Banzan had been hired to conduct a survey of the region, and this man was fascinated by apocryphal documents known as the Takeuchi Manuscripts. The documents created by a Takeuchi Kyomaro who had founded a new Shintō style religion which claimed to show the secret histories of Japan which included tales of Buddha, Confucius, Mencius and Moses all having trained while in Japan. Though most people saw them as a hoax, he still stood by them and his beliefs.
Eventually in 1935 Toya invited Takeuchi to join him in surveying the area where he miraculously discovered the tomb of Christ, exclaiming “I knew it was here!”
Now the villagers were said to be surprised, they had never heard of his grave being here before, and the residents seem to have wanted to part of it. The grave was even forgotten for a time after World War 2.
Documents detailing all of these stories of Christs journey to Japan were coincidently lost during World War 2 and only modern transcriptions remain, one of them signed with ‘Jesus Christ, father of Christmas,’
Interest in the site resurfaced in the 1970’s and nowadays the village holds a Christ Festival in the summer each year though the ceremony is in a Shintō style. The site does continue to be maintained though, villagers and other locals saying that even before it was declared to be the tomb of Christ they respected and maintained the area believing it to have been some form of ancestor to their village. And so they maintain the grave out of historical respect.
- Christs Tomb in Aomori
- Japan Travel – Jesus in Aomori.
- Smithsonian Magazine – The little known legend of Jesus.
You can listen to the full podcast episodes here: Japan Archives, or wherever you listen to Podcasts.
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We also started a Youtube channel for Japan Archives.
And another for other creative endeavours!