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Migration from Sotome

Searching for the roots of Nokubi and Funamori

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Candidates for a world heritage

Remains of Nokubi village Remains of Nokubi village
Remains of Nokubi village

According to old documents which remain on Ojika, in around the early 19th century two families came and settled on Nozaki island. The roots of one of these two families can be traced back to a married couple called Choukichi and Yone, who were Hidden Christians. They had migrated from Sotome to Fukue island in the Goto islands. Life in Fukue was hard, and so they migrated again to Hisaka island. Their descendants then moved to Amakusa, before finally coming to settle on Nozaki island.
In around 1800, another family from Miiraku in Fukue also came and settled on Nozaki. It is said that both of the families who migrated to Nozaki around this time originally settled in Haedomari (between Funamori and Nokubi), before later moving to Nokubi. They are said to be the ancestors of Nokubi church.
In around 1845, a man named Taguchi Tokuheiji brought a father (named Juuzou) and his twin sons (named Fukumatsu and Fukuzou) to Funamori from Makinoin in Sotome.
In other words, it is plausible that the roots of both Nokubi and Funamori villages originally lie in Sotome. A few years ago, an important clue was discovered in Funamori which has lent weight to this theory. Under the floor of a house which had once belonged to a former oshiekata, a stone was discovered into which a cross had been carved, as well as the word tenchi (meaning "Heaven and Earth"). It is thought that this may be a reference to an oral tradition from the Edo period, believed to have originated in Sotome, whereby certain episodes from the Bible were handed down (albeit with many corruptions) among Hidden Christian communities. This oral tradition was later written down, and is known as Tenchi Hajimari no Koto, or "The Beginning of Heaven and Earth" (a reference to the first verse of the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament). Research is still ongoing, but the stone which was discovered seems to constitute tangible evidence that the roots of the Hidden Christians who migrated to Nozaki island originally lie in Sotome.