おらしょ こころ旅

Oratio Story (2)

The Ban on Christianity and the Secret Transmission of the Faith

under construction

Related Component

History

1797 Migration from Sotome to the remote islands gets underway.

Learn More

  • Japanese Forms of Faith Based on Tradition and Local Social Customs

    Despite the severity of the repression, Hidden Christians existed throughout Japan until the mid-seventeenth century. However, a series of campaigns of detection and persecution in the 1650s and 1660s in Kōri (Nagasaki), Bungo (Ōita), and Nōbi (Gifu/Aichi prefectures) left the Hidden Christian population limited principally to the Nagasaki region.

    Under the guidance of lay leaders and in line with the church calendar, the Hidden Christians observed feast days and penitential days and conducted rites such as baptisms and funerals. Since they had no churches, they would gather secretly in the houses of religious leaders known as chōkata (“official of the book”) and mizukata (“water official”) and conduct prayers and rituals, while venerating the places where their ancestors had been martyred or were buried.

    While the faith was maintained, it was gradually influenced by native Japanese traditions. The pronunciation of the Latin and Portuguese prayers (oratio) that had been brought to Japan in the sixteenth century became garbled, and certain prayers and ceremonies were altered by the influence of folk religions as they were transmitted from generation to generation.

    © Shoji Yoshitaka

  • Hidden Christian Villages Take Shape in the Gotō Islands

    From the 1630s, the prophecies of the Japanese evangelist Bastian spread throughout the Sotome region of Nagasaki. Among the prophecies was this belief: “When seven generations pass, priests will appear and the day will come when you can be open about your faith.” Other ideas that were transmitted orally include the contents of a pamphlet providing guidance on contrition when priests were not available for confessions, and a catechistic book on the Old Testament, called Concerning the Creation of Heaven and Earth. These traditions show the symbiotic relationship that developed between Christianity and Japanese culture and how certain beliefs were passed down to later generations.

    Toward the end of the eighteenth century, peasants from Sotome in the Ōmura domain migrated to the Gotō Islands at the request of the Gotō domain. Since many of these peasants were Hidden Christians, their migration resulted in the text of Concerning the Creation of Heaven and Earth also being transmitted to the Gotō Islands. The settlers who clustered in family units to cultivate the cramped hillsides formed Hidden Christian communities throughout the Gotō Islands.

    Thanks to the detailed instructions provided by the missionaries when Christianity first reached Japan, the Hidden Christians were well equipped to keep their faith going in a systematic way.

    © Shoji Yoshitaka

Related Keywords

オラショ

[おらしょ] 16世紀に伝わったラテン語・ポルトガル語の祈りの言葉(oratio) 。

崩れ

[くずれ] 禁教下、厳しい取締や密告によって、キリシタンの信仰組織(集落)が壊れる(崩れる)こと。大規模なキリシタン検挙事件を指し、大村の郡崩れ、浦上崩れ(1〜4番)、五島崩れなどがある。

殉教

[じゅんきょう] キリスト教の信仰や道徳を捨てるよりも、死を選んで神に命を捧げること。

潜伏キリシタン

[せんぷくきりしたん] 禁教時代に、表向き仏教徒として生活し、密かに信仰を継承した信徒たちのこと。

洗礼

[せんれい] キリスト教徒になるための儀式で、「マリア」や「フランシスコ」などの洗礼名(クリスチャンネーム)をもらう。

弾圧

[だんあつ] 支配者が権力によって活動を抑圧すること。キリスト教史で見られる弾圧とは、信仰を辞める(棄てる)よう、さまざまな手段を講じることをいう。

帳方

[ちょうかた] 潜伏キリシタンの信仰組織において、教会暦に基づいた儀式を司る役職。

バスチャン

[ばすちゃん] 禁教時代、外海地方で活動していた日本人伝道士。信仰を守り続けるために欠かせない教会暦(日繰り)や、潜伏キリシタンたちに希望を与える予言などを残したことで、外海や浦上、五島の人々が語り伝えてきた。

日繰り

[ひぐり] 潜伏キリシタンが使用した1634年の太陰暦による教会暦。バスチャンが伝えたためバスチャン暦ともいう。クリスマス、復活祭などの祭日を繰り出し、約250年におよぶ禁教時代に信仰を守り通した。

水方

[みずかた] 潜伏キリシタンの信仰組織において、洗礼を授ける役職。外海地方では「帳方」と兼任する場合がある。平戸・生月では「水の役」という。

人名・用語辞典(en) >>

トップ