26 people had been arrested in Kyoto and Osaka on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (the national ruler) for preaching Christianity which had been outlawed at the time . They were imprisoned, then later marched approx. 800kms through the snow to Nagasaki, so that their execution might serve as a deterrent to Nagasaki's large Christian population. Hung up (crucified) on 26 crosses with chains and ropes, the Christians were martyred in front of a large crowd.
Today, the site is a revered as a holy site for pilgrims from within Japan and abroad! In today's society it is hard to believe that something like this even took place but one has to remember the fight, battles and wars between countries and people to protect their independence and to fight against injustices brought upon them by the rulers and Governments of the time. Considering all this one can realize that events like this did occur and should be remembered through Monuments and ceremonies highlighting their struggles and ultimately their lives.
Seeing the busts of the 2 boys within the 26 Martyrdom Site Nagasaki was especially difficult to fathom but I guess in order to really make the strongest point possible to the citizens of Japan and especially Nagasaki the powers to be at the time decided to make an example of the youth which would have been extremely difficult for the believers and those at a crossroads in their religious developments.
Well worth a visit and a stroll down memory lane although i must warn you the site can pull at your heart strings.
Check out the 26 Martydrom Site in Nagasaki City on a map:
Click of the photos below to enlarge:
Here is a video showing the 26 Martyrdom Site in Nagasaki: