During the ban on Christianity, one thing that helped to sustain Sotome’s Hidden Christians were the prophecies of a Japanese catechist named Bastian. Shortly before his execution, Bastian prophesised that the underground Church would have to suffer for seven generations and then after that priests sent by the Pope would return to Japan and Christians would again be able to go to confession. He also prophesied that they would again be able to sing Christian songs in a loud voice. And sure enough, after 250 years (roughly equivalent to seven generations), the ban on Christianity was lifted and Father de Rotz was appointed to Sotome.

Father de Rotz taught the Christians in Sotome hymns and sent away for an organ from France. It is a harmonium made by a company called Dumont, on which you can chord with only one finger (usually you need at least three). The Catholics in Sotome were full of deep happiness that Bastian’s prophecies, which their ancestors had handed down, had finally turned out to be true, and they joyously sung hymns together with the priest. These hymns resounded around Shitsu village, and marked the dawn of a new era. The organ is on the second floor of Former Shitsu Aid centre and sometimes Shitsu’s nuns play it for visitors. Its gentle tones remain the same as they were 130 years ago.