Saturday, October 17, 2015

Kita Arima Christian Monument: Nagasaki Prefecture

The Kita Arima Christian Monument is a symbol of the many Christians who died for their Christian faith mostly during the 17th century.  There are many of these statues, monuments, reminders, posts, tombstones and the like all over the Shimabara Peninsular in Nagasaki as this area of Japan was a hive of Christian activities during the 16th and 17th centuries.  I have been discovering and searching for these site for a while now and more keep popping up all over the place.

In 1549, St. Francis Xavier and two other priests arrived in Kagoshima to bring Christianity to Japan from Spain. There were an estimated 300,000 Christians by the end of the sixteenth century. Problems arose and Christianity was suppressed and the first Martyrs of Japan died in 1597.  250 years later, when Christian missionaries returned to Japan, they found a community of Japanese Christians that had survived underground and were approached cautiously by the descendants of the Christians after their suppression.

There were 205 Japanese Christian Martyrs between 1597 and 1637.  One of these incidents is documented with a Nagasaki Christian Monument in the town of Kita Arima on the Shimabara Peninsular.  Here 29 Christians were martyred in the Arima River, death by drowning for not renouncing their Christian faith, in times where Christianity was banned throughout all of Japan by the rulers.  It was quite an intense feeling to be at the site of such atrocities that were committed so many years ago but as with all shocking incidents it is better to learn from our past rather than hiding the real truth!

Please check out the Kita Arima Christian Monument on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

Remembering the dead

29 Christians died here

The place where the Christians were drowned

Remembering the turbulent times

Please click on the video below to see the Kita Arima Nagasaki Christian Monument:

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