Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hachirao Christian Tombstones

The Shimabara Peninsular, Nagasaki is dotted with Christian tombstones.  It's hard to imagine that once there used to be many Christian communities and schools located all over the place in this largely Buddhist and Shinto dominated country.   One of these communities was the Hachirao Jesuit School in present day Kita Arima.   It was responsible for bringing Western Style painting and copperplate engraving to Japan.  In 1588 there were 75 Japanese students at the preparatory school in Kita Arima and by 1596 the number had grown to 112.

Eventually these schools closed or went underground as a result of Japan's ban on Christianity and as a result today less than 0.5% of the Japanese population regard themselves as Christian.

Come and check out the Hachirao Christian Tombstones on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

In Kita Arima
The graves

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