Candidates for a world heritage

Egami church

(撮影:池田勉)

Address

Ookushi 1131, Naru-machi, Goto-shi, Nagasaki-ken 〒853−2202

A wooden church with a multi-layered roof, designed by Tetsukawa Yosuke and completed in 1918. It has three aisles and a rib vault ceiling. The nave walls are arcade and mock triforium.
During the Edo period, four families migrated to Egami from the Nishisonogi peninsula. Once the ban on Christianity in Japan had been lifted, it developed into a Catholic village.
The church has certain distinctive characteristics because it was built taking into account the surrounding area’s level of humidity and also the fact that this area has many typhoons.
The church was completed at a time when the main local industry, fishing, was prospering. It is the kind of church which you cannot see elsewhere.
This church is a representative example of a church showing the development from a time when private houses were used as churches (in the period just after the Hidden Christians were discovered) to the time when wooden churches using traditional Japanese architectural techniques began to start being built.
The way in which the altar has been designed shows that Tetsukawa Yosuke possessed a good understanding of Christianity (despite being a Buddhist himself).
Now there is only one Christian household left in Egami, but Christians throughout Naru island still continue to pray there and keep the flame of faith alive.

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