Cities & Town

Miracle Japanese religious spirit/驚くべき日本人の宗教心

This article can be read in about 5 minutes.

Oura Church@World Cultural Heritage Site/大浦天主堂@世界遺産

Believe it or not, there was an amazing story that some Japanese people had believed Christianity for about 250 years without Christian ministers. 

For your information, the popular religions in Japan are both Shintoism and Buddhism. 
Most of the Japanese people believe both.
Shintoism is animism that we worship nature such as sacred stones, trees and mountains. 
Even though we believe some deities inside a grain of rice. 

On the other hand, Buddhism is one of the most famous religions in the world. 
It came to Japan in 538 or 552 A.D. 
Since then, many schools have spread its teaching. 

When it comes to Christianity,  the current Christians in Japan are only less than one percent of the total population.
Christianity came to Japan in 1549.
At the beginning,  it spread quickly and brought the benefit of trade which was welcomed by feudal lords.
However, serious issues which posed a security threat occurred.
For example, these feudal lords donated a part of Japanese land to the Society of Jesus, it became as a fortress, and Japanese people were sold to overseas as slaves.
Hence, the government banned Christianity as the national policy in earnest in 1587. 
Since the government still stuck to the trade, the ban was not so strict.
In 1596, when the government heard from Spaniards that Christianity was used as a means of colonization. 
Sadly, Jesuit missionaries and Japanese Christian leaders were expelled or executed because of this.
Later in 1615, Anti-Christian Edicts were enacted and Japan’s seclusion policy perfectly executed in 1635 by prohibiting Japanese people travel overseas and allowing several foreign ships to sail only in Nagasaki. 

Oura Church is a Catholic church located in Nagasaki and is registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site.
It was built in 1864 for foreign Christians who started living in Nagasaki.
Next year, the secret Japanese followers of Jesus came out of the closet (their beliefs) there.
It was amazing that they had believed Christianity for about 250 years without Christian ministers. 

【Translation for language learners of either English or Japanese】/英語・日本語学習者向け翻訳 えいご ・  にほんごがくしゅうしゃむ  ほんやく



一方、仏教は、世界的に有名な宗教であり、日本には 538 年あるいは 552 年に伝来しました。





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