Search for article(Areas)
This is a list of all articles registered on this website.
"I want to untie the knots of this buried history..."
Inside a small shrine deep in the mountains, there is a stone statue…
The watercress which grows by Imatomi river is good for making both goma-ae and tempura
“Sawagi” is an old, end-of-year Shinto decoration, but in Imatomi village it is given a unique twist…
Sakitsu church is the pride and joy of the village’s Christians
A place where people tilled the land so that children could live, and where people prayed
Sakitsu village is an unusual mix of East and West
An unusual museum which tells of the history of the Christian faith in Sakitsu
Father Halbout had a special vision for Sakitsu church, the construction of which he himself oversaw
Oso church welcomes the centennial from its consecration in the summer of 2014. This occasion lends a special air to relooking at its history.
Tetsukawa Yosuke, a key figure in many instances of religious architecture, took on the challenges of building new kinds of churches while overcoming various obstacles involved in the process.
Even today this church’s bell tells the time and signals prayer sessions.
The magic of light filtered through stained glass comes from the composition of elements that either refract or absorb the colours of the glass.
Carved into the rock face of the mountainside and secured on its other side with a landfill, this beautiful brick structure stands on a site overlooking the harbour.
From Buddhist believer to follower of Christ. A family who sticks to love and offers prayers together.
The stained glass here is arranged in a way that takes the movement of the sun into consideration. A moving play of light!
Aosagaura church was built using Goto stones from nearby Kashiragashima, and with bricks and wood supplies brought from across the sea.
A man named Maeda Gidayu was responsible for the migration of Tainoura’s Christians to Kashiragashima, as well as for the founding Kashiragashima village
In the joy of presenting one’s lovingly grown flowers to God, one can see the important regard in which Kashiragashima church is held.
Kashiragashima church has a surprising “gap” between its exterior and interior; a place of prayer full of flowers.
A lengthy process of quarrying and construction, carried out not only by masons but by local Christians themselves, too.
Nagasaki is an area with a strong culture of quarrying as a means of livelihood. The high-quality Goto stone that was used to build Kashiragashima church is used elsewhere for paving slabs and walls.
During the Edo period, many Christians migrated to Nozaki island in search of a new life. Today, many of those who live on Ojika island have also arrived there from elsewhere, and these settlers have brought fresh energy to the island.
The cultural landscape of the Ojika island group has been designated as an Important Cultural Landscape by the Japanese national government. Much of the landscape remains as it has done for centuries, and so does the warmth and the kindness of the people who live there.
The last remaining residents in Funamori left the island as a group 5 years earlier than those living in Nokubi village did. These are the reflections of the only person living on Ojika island who is originally from Funamori.
The remains of Nokubi and Funamori villages are linked by a rugged trail, which the island’s Christians walked for over 100 years.
It is said that one of the ancestors of Taguchi Tomisaburou (a minshuku owner on Ojika island) assisted the first family who settled in Funamori village.
In 1971, following a period of depopulation, the last people left living on Nozaki island migrated together as a group. Nokubi church, built at such cost to the Christian families who had willingly embraced hardship in order to pay for it, was closed.
Searching for the roots of Nokubi and Funamori
A church which sits on high ground on a deserted island. It was the first brick church to be made by the carpenter Tetsukawa Yosuke, and it contains some beautiful donated ornaments which have very fine detail.
Christian burial methods sometimes help to manifest beliefs which lie at the very heart of the Christian faith
An early Japanese Christian tombstone which looks like a semi-cylindrical column that has been laid down. An epitaph has been engraved using the Roman alphabet, with the Christian era date and the name of the Japanese era written alongside one another.
After the Amakusa-Shimabara rebellion, there was group migration into Arima, with many people coming and settling there.
Although Hara castle was completely destroyed by the army of the shogunate, the area subsequently underwent a revival.
Many Christians were tortured and killed at Unzen, a place of numerous burning hot springs
Hara was destroyed out of fear that the dead might rise. People from a different religion later came here to mourn the dead.
A great number of Christian artefacts have been uncovered during archaeological excavations at Hara castle.
The Arima clan, which had governed the Shimabara peninsular for generations, left and moved to another domain.
Many Christians fought in the Amakusa-Shimabara rebellion. At Hara castle, an estimated 27,000 men, women and children lost their lives.
Through the ruins of Hara castle, we can witness the early days of the stone wall fortification technique which was in fashion around the time of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Castle construction was in a period of transition between medieval and early modern times.
If you wish for peaceful coexistence, many barriers must first be overcome.
The Jesuits put a lot of effort into training young men who could engage in missionary work. One after another, young boys were educated in subjects such as fine arts, music, Japanese and Latin.
Towards the end of the 16th century, four Japanese boys (who had been equipped with a good education) began a trip to Europe. They were deeply moved by their experiences.
The gold-leaf roof tiles which have been discovered in the ruins of Hinoe castle suggest that the Arima clan was deeply connected with the centre of political power
Love is central in Christianity. Within the Arima domain, the missionaries’ emphasis on this core aspect of the Christian Gospel made a profound impression on people
Ceramics from places like China and Southeast Asia have been excavated from the remains of Hinoe castle. These items help to show how much the Arima clan prospered from trade.
During the Warring States period, feudal lords in Japan were competing against one another and were therefore eager to attract Portuguese trade. This provided an opportunity for Christianity to be spread within their domains.
Children whose parents could not afford to raise them were cared for and brought up by women living on Goto. Today, the institution which was formed continues to retain its original ideals.
Dozaki church is beautifully situated on a cape, and in former times a conch shell was blown to announce that Mass was starting.
During the Edo period, many Hidden Christians from Sotome crossed the ocean and settled in the Okuura district of Fukue. This was the beginning of the resurrection of the Christian faith in Goto.
Many fishermen on Naru keep holy objects within their boats
In 2001, Egami church was painted a distinctive white and pastel-coloured light blue. Local Christians themselves got involved with the repair work which was needed.
You can see the influence of Tetsukawa Yosuke everywhere in Egami church, including in the way he designed the altar
Egami church has some interesting design features. In 2018, it will celebrate its 100th year anniversary
Although Naru island is gradually becoming depopulated, Christians who live there are still managing to keep the flame of faith alive
Former Gorin church’s architectural style is, in certain ways, very distinctly Japanese
In the Meiji period, Christians on Goto were persecuted for their faith. Hisaka island is where these persecutions began. After the Japanese government was strongly criticised for this by foreign countries, it opted to formally lift its long ban on Christianity.
Camellia flowers have, in the past, been used by Japanese Christians to represent the Virgin Mary. They grow wild on Goto, which has a long history of producing camellia oil
A cemetery which tells of the Christian belief in the resurrection of the body
It seems that St. Joseph’s earnest and sincere life resonated with local Christians
In 1985, a new church was constructed in Gorin, and Former Gorin church became disused.
Former Gorin church was originally located in a different part of Hisaka island
The Christians who lived in Houki during the Meiji era were very devout, and they played their part in the church’s construction.
On either side of the church, stained glass windows open out onto a colonial veranda
An award awaits those who make the climb
Tabira church was at the very heart of peoples’ lives. Some would walk for hours in order to attend Mass.
Next to the church is a graveyard, where earlier generations of Tabira’s Christians are buried
Stained glass from Germany and Italy helps to illuminate the church’s interior
A red-coloured adhesive, made with shells from the surrounding area, was used in the church’s construction
As the Sotome region’s Catholics increased in number, some chose, under the guidance of foreign missionaries, to leave the villages where they had been living and go in search of a new life.
On the 100th anniversary of the canonization of the 26 martyrs, a church and a monument were built to commemorate them
Today, churches dedicated to the 26 martyrs can be found in several different countries. An event which faded from Japanese history became famous throughout the world.
In 1597, twenty six men and boys, including foreign missionaries, were crucified together on Nishizaka hill in Nagasaki. The youngest was only 12.
Ono church’s structure resembles that of an ordinary house. Other notable architectural features include its "de Rotz walls" and its brick window frames, as well as the windbreak in front of the entrance.
Ono church is a peripatetic church of Shitsu church. Both churches were built by Father de Rotz. Nowadays there is only one mass a year at Ono church, which is held in commemoration
In contrast to the nearby Shitsu church, Ono church was built in a quiet and secluded location
Oura Cathedral has a mixture of three sets of stained glass. These each help to tell of the history of the cathedral.
Oura Cathedral was called a "Furansu dera" (a “French temple”). Inside are a great number of gifts with some connection to France.
The man who spent his life working to bring about the resurrection of the Christian faith in Japan is buried at Oura
The Hidden Christians handed down with staunch fidelity prophecies which they had received from their ancestors. When priests returned to Japan, these prophecies were fulfilled.
The French priests who came to Japan spent their days wondering whether all the Japanese Christians of the 17th century really had died out (as was assumed). Soon, a miracle occurred…
Even though Japan had been opened, Christianity still hadn't been officially recognised. The construction of Oura took place in the midst of this.
Although foreigners were delighted that Oura Cathedral had been constructed, because the ban on Christianity was still in place few Japanese dared to go near there
At the time of its foundation, Oura Cathedral was a small church with three aisles. It was later expanded.
Father Petitjean made great efforts to raise the funds needed for the church’s construction. You can sense the troubles he experienced from his letters.
When Oura Cathedral was constructed, it sent the Hidden Christians a secret message…
The old organ on the 2nd floor of Former Shitsu Aid centre was sent away for from France by Father de Rotz. Nowadays, Shitsu's nuns sometimes play the organ for visitors.
Father de Rotz, together with the local people, grew wheat which was used to make a variety of produce
After arriving in Sotome, Father de Rotz worked particularly hard to help women lead self-sufficient lives
When Father de Rotz was appointed to Sotome, he was shocked by how poor its inhabitants were. He gave the whole of the fortune which he acquired through inheriting his parent's house to Sotome.
n Sotome today, there still remain "Hidden Christians" (known in Japanese as Kakure Kirishitan) whose ancestors chose not to rejoin the Catholic Church once the ban on Christianity had been lifted.
Father de Rotz, who gave himself wholeheartedly to relief work in Sotome, is still referred to affectionately by the local people as "Doro-sama".
After arriving in Sotome, Father de Rotz came up with a new way of building walls. These walls have become known as “doro kabe” (“de Rotz walls”) and were made using stones from the local area. They have the air of southern Europe.
Nakae no shima is a tiny, uninhabited island where Christians were once martyred. It came to acquire profound significance for local Hidden Christians, who crossed raging waves in order to collect the water which seeps out from its rocks.
A rosary hidden within a “kamidana”, an old man’s mysterious way of praying…
“Maruoyama” is a hill where an early Japanese Christian graveyard was excavated. It sits amid terraced rice fields.
Kasuga village remains in much the same state as it was in the sixteenth century. Its natural environment has hardly changed since the Sengoku period, and the livelihoods of the village’s inhabitants also remain the same as they have been for centuries
Following the ban on Christianity in Japan, Mt. Yasumandake came to acquire deep significance for Hidden Christians in the surrounding area; one can see its form from far out on the ocean.
One striking feature of Kuroshima church is its magnificent rib vault ceiling. Interestingly, its wood grain was painted on by hand.
Father Marmand gave his all to construct Kuroshima church. However, spiralling financial costs meant that construction had to be halted for a while.
On Kuroshima, there is a special adjective meaning “pious” or “devout”. All of the islands Christians possess a picture of the Virgin Mary, a crucifix, a rosary and such like.
Local materials were used in Kuroshima church’s construction
Kuroshima Church took two years to complete. Among the carpenters who took part in the church’s construction was a young shipwright from the Goto islands…
When the first mass was celebrated on Kuroshima, Christianity was still officially banned within Japan. The priest who went there to say Mass crossed the ocean in disguise so as to avoid detection.
Kuroshima church is built in a beautiful Romanesque style. Many of the items within the church are of French origin, having been sent away for by Father Marmand.
Those Hidden Christians who migrated to Kuroshima during the Edo period came in search of new land.
Father Marmand decorated Kuroshima church’s pulpit with ornamentations which he himself carved by hand. There are only a small number of pulpits in Japan.
It is said that 400,000 bricks were used to construct Kuroshima church. Some of these were made on Kuroshima itself by the Christians who were living there.