Skip to content

Jesus of Japan

August 26, 2011

According to the good people of Shingo, a tiny village in far northern Japan,

Jesus spent his 20s not woodworking in Nazareth, but trekking through Japan where—like many a gaijin teacher after him—he fell in love with the culture and learned Japanese. At age 33, he returned to Judea to preach about the “holy land of Japan” and was soon condemned to crucifixion for this heresy. However, Jesus’ twin brother Isukiri somehow took his place on the cross, while Jesus escaped back to the promised land of Japan. He settled in the farming village of Shingo, where he married a local girl, had children and happily tilled the rice fields until his death at 106. You can find his burial place in the village today—just look for the sign that says “Tomb of Christ: next left.”


Granted, the accuracy of Shingo’s gospel revisionism may be slightly doubtful—the legend only dates back to 1935, when a Japanese priest discovered what was supposedly Christ’s will. But what is certain is that the story has attracted thousands of tourists to an otherwise undistinguished mountain town four hours or so from Tokyo on the bullet train.

Read more: TIME Magazine

Color me a tad skeptical.

Unsurprisingly, however, there are a variety of ‘Jesus’ items for sale in the Shingo village including everyone’s favorite

Jesus Sake!

Seems legit…

10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2011 9:02 am

    I talked with a guy the other day who leaned toward the idea that Jesus and family lived in the British Isles during his adolescence… *smh*

    • August 26, 2011 9:42 am

      I heard that one too! Almost had a huge fight at the Christmas table with the father of a good friend of mine when I tried to explain that I had very strong doubts that “scientists have found proof that Jesus spent time in Britain” because I don’t think documentaries on the Discovery channel necessarily count as science. Now I kind of wish I tried harder to learn what this alleged scientific proof was!

      • August 26, 2011 12:22 pm

        This gentleman, to his credit, did not assert this as fact, but as a mere (though strong in his opinion) possibility. I think he made reference to something in some art over there that suggested such. Anyway, I had to humor him while making know my skepticism (though I did so kindly!).

  2. August 26, 2011 9:44 am

    I love the bit there about how Isukiri *casually* took Jesus’ place on the cross. Mel Gibson must have brainwashed me, I had no idea crucifixion could be casual!

  3. August 26, 2011 9:52 am

    So, at first glance it is easy to just roll our eyes and just assume it is some batshit crazy person who came up with this. I wonder if it might be related to the hidden Christian movement. When Christianity was banned in the late 1600s, believers went underground. The religion was shaped for hundreds of years by uneducated peasants with no solid concept of doctrine. After the ban was lifted, many of these “hidden Christians” rejoined organized religion and accepted those doctrines. Some continued on with their evolved and hybridized versions. I could see something like that contributing here. Obviously it is still crazy, but there might be an understandable social dynamic that brought it about.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy permalink
      August 29, 2011 11:14 am

      Worth looking into, Jeremiah.

  4. August 26, 2011 2:01 pm

    Jesus has his own Sake? Oh, for Christ’s Sake!

  5. Nazani14 permalink
    August 29, 2011 8:48 am

    All these saintly pilgrimage places are cool little towns, in Asia as well as Europe. Often, there’s something interesting about their geology or their pagan past. I certainly respect the ingenuity of the locals in pulling tourist trade to their dorfs.
    Hmmm….it’s a good day to watch Eye of the Devil, starring David Niven and Deborah Kerr.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: