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I’d like to think Jesus died here.
I would, I really would.
That’s pretty impressive - that this little village - in the middle of nowhere, has been
recognised by Israel.
Ooh.
This might piss some people off.
So Christmas is almost upon us once more, and soon a chunk of the world’s population
will be gathered around unwrapping various unwanted socks and jumpers, and of course,
celebrating the birth of Jesus christ.
So what better time to re-examine the story of Jesus, albeit from a rather…different…
angle.
A while back a friend told me about a town hidden away in the mountains of north Japan,
where the locals genuinely believe Jesus lived and died.
Now the idea that Jesus came to Japan is a little bit difficult to believe, let alone
that he lived and died in a rural town in the north.
So naturally, I thought my friend was making fun of me, and I told him to get out of my
kitchen.
But then a few days later, I came across some photos of the town; featuring the Tomb of
Christ, something that resembled a church, and a photo of the local townsfolk dancing
around a cross.
And then I felt very very confused.
The town in question is called Shingou, and it’s about 3 hours north of Tokyo by bullet
train, in the region of Aomori.
And having seen these photos and having heard this bizarre story, I figure we’re going
to have to go up there and see it for ourselves and try and work out what's going on.
Now I won’t lie, we’ve got quite a lot of questions that need answering; number 1,
why did Jesus come to Japan, number 2, how did Jesus get to Japan; I mean it’s quite
far isn’t it.
And 3: how did he escape the whole getting crucified thing.
So let’s go to Shingou and let’s go and find the Tomb of Jesus Christ and find out
what really happened 2,000 year ago.
So we’re near the town of Shingou now in Aomori.
To call this place isolated would not be an understatement. It's pretty remote.
To live out in here in the winter months when there’s absolutely towns of snow - to be
honest you’d need to believe in Jesus to get through it.
What actual evidence is there that this is real.
Apparently they’ve got this summer festival every year and they dance to this song.
And the lyrics to this song has some strange language that’s not Japanese.
And some people say it’s based on Hebrew.
That’s pretty random.
Yeah so there’s some thing that make them believe it’s true; and we’ve got to check
it out.
The first thing you’ll see before reaching the town is the sign and seeing it for the
first time, out here in the middle of nowhere is an utter mind fuck.
That is pretty surreal, there’s a just sign there - in the middle of nowhere - just saying
Tomb of Christ.
Oh my god.
So we’re at the village and there’s a big map welcoming us here.
It says Home of historical Romance and Jesus Christ.
I like the way the Historical romance is more significant than Jesus Christ - they put that
first.
Apparently the burial mound of Jesus Christ is up on that hill over there.
And there’s quite a few strange and intriguing things around here.
Number 1: Tomb of Jesus Christ
But number 4: Skunk cabbage group birthplace
I don’t know what that is, but that sounds equally excited.
But I guess let’s go up the hill and have a look.
“Christ’s Grave”
So this is the story of what actually happened presumably; the real story of what happened
to Jesus Christ
It says; when Jesus Christ was 21 years old, he came to Japan and pursued knowledge of
divinity 12 years.
Doesn’t really talk about how he got here; we just assumed it wasn’t too difficult.
He went back to Judea at age 33, and engaged in his mission.
He was here 12 years?
However, at that time people in Judea would not accept Christ’s preaching.
Instead, they arrested him and tried to crucify him on a cross.
His younger brother, Isukiri casually took Christ’s place and ended his life on the
cross.
So his younger brother, who you may or may not know about, casually took Christ’s place
on the cross.
Casually?
No problem!
Don’t worry!
And then Christ who escaped the crucifixion, went through the ups and downs of travel,
and again came to Japan.
The ups and downs of travel?
Only 8,000 miles.
I like the way when he returned there were ups and downs; but when came here when he
was 21, no problem at all.
He settled right here in what is now called Herai Village, and died at the age of 106.
It was Jesus, I suppose he could.
The above description was given in a testament by Jesus Christ himself.
There you go, there’s the real story of what happened.
I can see the cross from here - let’s go and have a look.
Oh wow.
So this is the mound - the burial mound of Jesus Christ - died aged 106, after a long
journey from Jerusalem to Japan.
There’s a little rock here and it says Arigatou Gozaimasu (thank you very much), presumably
thanking him for coming and living here and moving here…like he did.
Although really he didn’t sacrifice anything then did he?
It was his brother.
His brother casually took the place on the cross.
His brother casually took the place.
What did Jesus do then?
Surely this story is flawed as it makes him look like a coward.
I don’t want to get nailed to a cross; fuck it I’m going to Japan.
That’s basically what happened - and then he lived to 106.
And then here - and I’m not making this up - there’s a stone dedicated by the Ambassador
of Israel to Japan, Eli Cohen, in 2004.
The stone on the right was dedicated by the municipality of Jerusalem as a testimony of
friendship between Shingo and the city of Jerusalem and the State of Israel.
June 6, 2004.
And then there’s some Hebrew that I cannot read.
If anybody here knows Hebrew, please translate that for us.
But that’s pretty impressive, that this village in the middle of nowhere, has been
recognised by Israel.
And then what have we got over here?
And then over here we’ve got we’ve got the mound of Isukiri, Jesus’ younger brother
who of course, made the ultimate sacrifice casually by getting nailed to a cross.
But what I find both disturbing and upsetting is that while Jesus has a little thank you
saying Arigatou Gozaimasu beneath his cross, Isukiri who got nailed to a fucking cross
got nothing.
There’s not thank you for him
What’s going on?
This story just doesn’t make sense.
It’s true that Jesus may have died here; but it’s slightly more likely that the tombs
actually hold the bodies of 16th century Missionaries.
During the 1500’s Christian evangelists from Europe were common throughout Japan,
until 1614 when Christianity was banned by the Shogun.
Those who refused to denounce their beliefs were tortured, beheaded, or burned at the
stake to set at an example.
This led to Christianity going underground in Japan for more than 200 years, with Christianity
surviving only in scattered communities throughout the country, until the Meiji restoration,
when freedom of religion was allowed once again.
And today, around 1% of Japan’s population still identifies as Christian.
But given Shingou’s isolation, this might explain why Shingo has held this connection
with Christianity after hundreds of years.
I’d like to think Jesus died here.
I would, I really would.
Because out here in the rural mountains of Japan, there’s something romantic about
it.
Well not all of our questions were answered, but I definitely think there were still some
valuable lessons to be learned from this trip.
For example, I learned when the shit hits the fan, get the fuck out quick and let one
of your siblings get nailed to a cross instead.
That was pretty good advice.
But what do you make of it all?
Let us know in the comments section below - I’ve also put an article with more information
in the description box, as well as directions if you’re looking to make the pilgrimage
themselves.
I still feel we didn’t really get an answer on how Jesus actually got to japan.
But I can’t get that line out of my head, that line about Jesus going through the ups
and downs of travel.
Because in that one line you can almost picture that epic journey, that epic quest, that Jesus
would have endured on his return trip to Japan.