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: