Candidates for a world heritage

Sakitsusuwa shrine

諏訪神社正面

Address

Sakitsu 505, Kawaura-machi, Amakusa-gun, Kumamoto-ken,〒863-1204

A shrine built in a small fishing village on Shimoshima island in Amakusa (which is part of Kumamoto prefecture).
The shrine’s torii (archway) is inscribed with the date 1685, and it remains standing in the spot where it was first erected.
During the ban on Christianity in Japan, many of the people living in Sakitsu village were Hidden Christians. The village's population was strictly monitored, and so the Hidden Christians joined Sakitsusuwa shrine as a way to avoid being discovered.
The shrine appears on maps from the Edo period. It has been loved by people in Sakitsu since it was first built.
In 1805, an event occurred which became known as the "Amakusa kuzure" (literally, "the falling of Amakusa"). Hidden Christians living in Amakusa were detected and were required at Sakitsusuwa shrine to present whatever Christian objects they had secretly been keeping.
The village leader is recorded to have said during the subsequent investigation: “We recite anmen riyusu when we visit the shrine”. These words are thought to be a corruption of either "Amen Jesus" or of “Amen Deus" (the Latin word for God).

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