A church built with the help of local Christians
A red-coloured adhesive, made with shells from the surrounding area, was used in the church’s construction
Tabira church stands on gently sloping land directly overlooking the Hirado strait. Before Christians began migrating to the area, a man named Yoshimura Heizou had been living there. In 1887, he received baptism from Father Matrat, although two months later he passed away. Christians in the area bought his land and decided to build a church there.
In 1914, Father Nakata Toukichi from Chuuchi church on Kamigoto (one of the Goto islands) took up a new post in Tabira. Soon, he began raising funds and gathering the materials needed to build a church.
At this time, there were around one thousand Christians in Tabira, and they also played their part in the church’s construction. The church’s bricks were laid using an adhesive called amakawa (a mix of red clay and caustic lime) which Tabira’s Christians made themselves by hand. They acquired the caustic lime they needed by burning seashells in a kiln (some of these shells were from the seafood they ate at home, and some they had collected from the nearby islands of Hirado and Ikitsuki). First, they laid firewood at the bottom of the kiln, and then they alternately added a layer of shells and then a layer of firewood several times over before allowing it all to burn for one night. Owing to its red colour, it can be said that the amakawa helps to enhance the beauty of Tabira church’s red bricks.