It was one of only a handful of instances of serious unrest during the relatively peaceful period of the Tokugawa Shogunate's rule. The construction of a new Castle in Shimabara City caused taxes to be drastically raised, which provoked anger from local peasants and the lord less samurai of the time. Religious persecution against the local Christians exacerbated the discontent, which turned into open revolt in 1637. The Tokugawa Shogunate sent a force of over 125 000 troops to suppress the rebellion, and after a lengthy siege against the 37 000 rebels at Hara Castle, defeated them.
In the wake of the rebellion, the rebel leader Amakusa Shiro was beheaded and persecution of Christianity became strictly enforced. Japan's national exclusion policy was tightened and formal persecution of Christianity continued until the 1850's.
With all this knowledge and still many visual clues available today, it is quite surreal and at times a somber feeling to stroll around the ruins of the Castle and try and visualize all that anger and hatred of opposition forces coming together in death and bloodshed and in many ways a massacre of ordinary people rebellion against injustice. The site is widely visited by many people today and is a reminder of how Christianity flourished in Japan all those years ago.
A compulsory visit by anyone interested in Christian History in Japan or any History Buff.
Come and checkout the Hara Castle Ruins in Nagasaki on a map:
Click on the photos below to enlarge:
|The outer walls still remain
|Fight over Christianity
|Amakusa Shiro, the Rebellions leader
|The remains of the grounds
|The site of the Christian Rebellion