Here
and
Now

opinions

Jesus Christ lived in Aomori - really?

60 Comments
By Kaz Morran

An active conspiracy theory that rivals the revelations of "The Da Vinci Code" awaits visitors to the sleepy village of Shingo, between Hachinohe and Lake Towada in Aomori Prefecture. Every year in June, a ceremony unlike any other in Japan awakens Shingo (called “Herai” in times long ago) and women in kimono dance around the grave of Jesus Christ. Yep, THE Jesus Christ.

You didn’t know? You can visit his grave in a beautiful park in Aomori. But, behold, there is a lot more to this legend. Back in 1935, a well-known researcher dug up some ancient scriptures in Herai. They were written in Hebrew and supposedly signed by none other than the man, Jesus Christ, himself. These scripture allege that Jesus came to Herai when he was 21 to study religion for 12 years. Then he returned to Judea to teach everyone what he had learned in Japan.

As the story goes, people there didn’t agree with what he was trying to preach and arrested him. It seems however, that here’s where the story takes a twist. Jesus managed to escape crucifixion by having his little brother take his place on the cross. Jesus had a brother? You ask. Apparently so. The real Jesus did a bit of backpacking, then came back to Japan where he settled down in Herai. He married a Japanese woman named Miyu and became a rice farmer. His gravesite marks the end of his 106-year life (or 118 according to some people). His brother’s grave sits comfortably beside Jesus’ grave.

The burial mounds were done in a way that is consistent with how the tombs of important figures of that time were buried at the time. Nearby are the grave sites of the Sawaguchi family. According to the Hebrew writings, the Sawaguchis, who continue to live in the area, are the true descendants of Christ. Indeed, photos of them and their ancestors reveal faces obviously different that typical Japanese. They are taller, their noses longer, and their skin lighter than others in the village.

The family emblem of the Sawaguchis marks the outside of their present home in the village. It is a star, remarkably similar to the Star of David. As if to fuel the legend, in 2004, the ambassador of Israel visited Shingo and donated a plaque, written in Hebrew.

The meanings of the words chanted by those who perform the annual ceremony have long since been forgotten by locals. However, it is an old Hebrew tongue, and some parts sound familiar such as the word “Nazareth.” Furthermore, the name Herai is likely derived from the ancient “Hebron,” or home of the Hebrews. Some documents refer to the village as New Herai.

Also of interest is that linguistics experts say the Japanese language has several words that bear remarkable similarities to the Hebrew language. They are puzzled at how this could have happened since there is no historical connection between Japan and ancient Israel. Or is there? Other legends say that a lone man arrived by boat one day, long, long ago, from exactly that area of the world, he spoke Hebrew, and taught locals many things.

There exists today a very unique custom in Shingo. When a new baby comes into the world, a cross is drawn upon its forehead. Locals do not know why, but like many Japanese customs it is followed merely out of respect for tradition.

The Christ Tomb museum has many other artifacts of local traditions such as unique clothing and weaved baskets that are oddly similar to those in ancient Israel.

Of course, with every legend comes doubt. Alas, our amazement is stifled when we learn that the alleged authentic documents, written in perfect Japanese and signed by Jesus, were found by Kyomaro Takeuchi, who was employed by the mayor of Shingo. At that time, the mayor had been on a desperate journey to promote his town’s appeal to tourists. With 10,000 people a year coming to his little village now, it looks as though he was successful.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

60 Comments
Login to comment

Aomori was probably a welcome change from the desert, and hey, the lost tribes of Israel are in Kyoto and other areas, so why not take a little break from the disciples and go backpacking?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hahahahahahahahaha... this is hilarious. Whether you care about any of that Christianity stuff or not, this is a very entertaining read.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

From a detached viewpoint, what the citizens of Shingo profess to believe is no more ludicrous than most of the mumbo-jumbo that passes for organized religion. As long as they don't launch a reformation, run amok and start burning heretics at the stake, it looks like they've come up with a harmless cash cow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let me guess - he was visiting Aomori on a hot tip from Adam and Eve that it was a beautiful paradise and every apple coming out of Aomori now is descended from THAT tree?

At least he had the sense to avoid Tokyo. Murder on the Birkenstocks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Didn't any of the apostles make the trip with him? What about Mary Magdalene? Imagine if the Last Supper had taken place in Japan - they would have used sembei rice crackers and sake instead of bread and wine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The mormons think Jesus went to South America. Maybe he was planning to go there and missed tiera del fuego and ended up in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What would they sing as Christmas carols? "Oh, little town of, no, wait..."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ha ha ... Well, it's not really any more ludicrous than the idea of a bearded man sitting on a cloud controlling the universe, is it ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well it's only a short walk across the Sea of Japan.

And come to think of it, those robes he wore look suspiciously like a yukata...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Leaving aside the other fascinating questions, the idea that Jesus had a brother is actually not so far fetched. There are several references in the Gospels to Jesus' brothers and sisters and many mainstream Christians accept the fact that Mary and Joseph went on to have a regular family. However Catholics and others who like to believe in Mary's perpetual virginity tend to interpret things differently...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

However, it is an old Hebrew tongue, and some parts sound familiar such as the word “Nazareth.”

Says who? And what is "old Hebrew"? If the writer means ancient Hebrew, that was already a dead language in the 1st century AD -- the languages of the Holy Land during Jesus' lifetime were Aramaic and Greek.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I believe Jewish people did have contact with Japan, along the old Silk road route. There are also similarities between Judaism and Shintoism. If you look at the myth of the Tengu and the drawings. They look like Hebrew or like European men. If they had no contact with the west then how could they draw Caucasians. When cultures draw Gods and well as Demons they draw them in the image of the own culture. It is like Westerners drawing Jesus as blue-eyed and blonde haired and believing it to be true. Even though the first paintings by Europeans were almost 500 years after his death and Jesus was never seen by European eyes. Tengu is the exception to this rule.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Come on Japan, this is a religion, you can't make up gossip like this. I wonder what Japanese would think if they said their religious icon was a backpacker around Europe or something like that?

Sounds like an excuse for a party to me, who dances around a grave anyway?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

or you could listen to the people that live around the Tango peninsular of Kyoto who believe that Japan was settled from there by the lost tribe of Israel..etc etc

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hmm... nice story.. is the book out yet?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know about the lost tribe thing. Especially since the lost tribe has already been found in Ethiopia.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Then which prefecture did Muhammad end up in? Saitama?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think Jesus was in Nihon but I do think Westerners possibly Jewish had contact with Japan earlier than Commodore Perry. People can't even confirm Jesus lived let alone the specifics of his life. So people should relax. Especially, when they expect others to believe everything about their religion based on faith alone yet can't do the same for others. What's the Golden rule? Do on to others as you would have them do onto you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

so the hot gravure idol-politician from Hachinohe is the descendant of Mary Magdalene?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

**

I don't know about the lost tribe thing. Especially since the lost tribe has already been found in Ethiopia.

What about Burma, Myinmar Jews??**sorry but its the truth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People can't even confirm Jesus lived...

Few historians would deny the actual existence of Christ, especially since the Roman historian Tacitus refers to his execution and the "mischievous superstition" (Christianity) which developed afterwards.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

it doesn't strike me as any more fantastical than the claims of christianity, scientology, hinduism or any of an endless bunch of sky-fairy worship.

We learn to outlive santa claus and the tooth fairy...why not these other blatant, unsubstantiated stories?

Are people so really dense or desperate that they cannot make the very small logical step to atheism?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the work of Tacitus does NOT refer to jesus. It is also quite disputed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

** What about Burma, Myinmar Jews??sorry but its the truth.

The truth is Judaism arrived in Burma in the 18th century. Like most of the Jews in Israel they are converts. Most of the Israeli population aren't even genetically connected to the original tribes. Most of the Arab and African peoples were connected to the original tribes.

Moderator: Back on topic please. Posts should refer to Aomori.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most christian know that Jesus spoke mainly in aramaic, he only knew little of hebrew and greek.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bacster,

Alot of people don't know what language Jesus spoke. You are giving most people even if they are Christian too much credit. There is quite a lot of information people don't know about when it comes to the Bible and the way Jesus is described in it. You usually see religious figures only focusing on the more popular parts. You don't see them talking about how in the Bible it is OK to sell your daughter or you can stone your children if they disobey. That is where the heated debates come in because people think you are lying when you tell them about this stuff. This why people are complaining about this Aomori article no matter how unlikely it is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jesus: "I turn their water into wine, and all they can talk about is how good I am at using chopsticks"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, if the Mormons believed Jesus visited the Native Americans then why not!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"When a new baby comes into the world, a cross is drawn upon its forehead."

I suspect that Jesus was not all that fond of crosses. Stars maybe... One never knows, though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LOL, Altria. Maybe if you'd made it Beaujolais Nouveau there'd be more converts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

wikipedia. great source. one who hates jews couldn't have worshipped a jew. it's just logic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Biglittleman

I don't think Jesus was in Nihon but I do think Westerners possibly Jewish had contact with Japan earlier than Commodore Perry.

That is a fact that 99% of people living in Japan would know. Think of the Portugese who arrived here back in 1543. Do a wiki search on Namban Trade for more info'. Jesus was just as likely to have come to Aomori as he was to have risen from the dead. Only difference is that Shingoites are less fanatical in their beliefs, thank God.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the work of Tacitus does NOT refer to jesus. It is also quite disputed.

Oh, really? Here's the text from Tacitus:

"Christus, the founder of the name [Christian], had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus, and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judaea..." (Annals 15:44)

JmannGod: If this "Christus" doesn't refer to Jesus Christ then to whom does it refer? You say it's "quite disputed" - if so, by whom? In what way?

I'm NOT defending Christianity per se but it's one thing to dispute the claims of Christianity and quite another thing to say that the historical Jesus never existed. Perhaps you are not really aware of the facts but the fact is that the overwhelming weight of historical scholarship (both Christian and non-Christian) is against your opinion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Jesus was way cool. Anything he wanted to do, he did. He turned water into wine, and if he wanted to he could have turned wheat into marijuana, or sugar into cocaine, or vitamin pills into amphetamines. He could have played guitar better than Hendrix, he could have told the future, he could have baked the most delicious cake in the world. He could have scored more goals than Wayne Gretzky. He told people to eat his body, and drink his blood. Thats so cool. Jesus was so cool. But then some people got jealous of how cool he was, so they killed him. But then he rose from the dead! He rose from the dead, danced around, and went up to heaven! Jesus was so cool. No wonder there are so many Christians." - King Missile. Seriously doubt he lived in Aomori though...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In addition to Aomori, Jesus also has a tomb in Kasmir, I guess. It seems he got married and lived to 120 there. So much to do, so little time.

http://www.tombofjesus.com/2007/core/tomb/photos.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Spudman,

Even earlier than 1543 between 1000-1300. Not in large numbers like the Portugese but small contacts. The Tengu legend is much older and one description he looks like a bird with a beak. The other description is a light skinned man with rosy red cheeks, light brown hair, eyes and long straight nose. If that ain't the stereotypical description of a Caucasian male or Santa Claus then I don't know what is. Add on type of the fact people were still superstitious and ignorant. The Tengu were said to have taught different groups new methods of warfare and other things. They were said to also raid villages and people. Sounds like reality turning into myth and legend. It is exactly how many religions develop.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

mmm, alot of religious experts here. anyway back to the real world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder if JIZASU KURAISUTO-san enjoyed Aomori's delicious apples and garlic?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

honne: that is an ignorant post which falls flat. Japanese for Jesus is the Portugese name.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

halycondays. Where is the name Jesus in that section? He refers to a tittle "Christus", they are NOT the same thing. It's possible inclusion at a later date is still under debate.

You must checjk your fact before you make an assertion -

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You must checjk your fact before you make an assertion -

Sorry, my mistake - I guess Tacitus must have been talking about another Christ who was executed by Pontius Pilate and had a following of people who called themselves "Christians"... Anyway, this isn't the place for an academic debate so whatever you think dude! Besides, how could I argue with a "J-Mann-God". You're probably one of his Japanese descendents!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of course I never lived in Aomori: it's a dump.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have lived in Aomori and I can tell you it's not a dump.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Aomori city is a little on the shabby side but Hirosaki is very pretty and Aomori prefecture on the whole is a great place! Plenty of nice scenery and some of the most interesting culture in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ biglittleman I really dont know what you are talking about, but it seems you used a lot of arguments against the few words i wrote. I am not giving too much credit to Christians but thats your assumption. what im trying to disprove is that Jesus visited Nihon due to the fact that he mainly converse in aramaic. I didnt say that my basis is the bible (which you assumed again) since I think the bible didnt mentioned about Jesus speaking in aramaic, but the bible was written by people who mainly speaks hebrew, thus its written mainly in hebrew form. If you base it in historical facts, the place where Jesus grew mainly uses aramaic as the dialect, and little only of greek (since during that time its under the Romans). If history can trace people who spoke Sumerian language in Sumer, they could atleast trace of what dialects people used in a particular area during Jesus' time (regardless even if you assume that Jesus didnt exist in the first place).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is such an old story.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Altria, that was pretty funny.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The person who wrote this drivel does not know anything about the REAL Jesus, and this article about Him living in Aomori is the worst garbage I have read in a long time. Why does JT print such inane rubbish?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thw only thing that approaches reality in this article are the vague references to connections between Shintoism and Judaism. For more on this, read the book "The Japanese and the Jews."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is amazing that you post this subjecet on your facebook. As the matter fact my new book: "Rediscovering Japan, Reintroducing Christendom is all about such things. In fact Christianity did not enter Japan during the 1500s by the Catholic Missionaries, but rather through the Church of The East, who came from Assyria and Persia. Also the tribes of Israel came to Japan, some of these were also Christian Jews. Judaism as well as Church of the East have strongly influenced Shintoism as well as Japanese Buddhism. All this in details you will find in my new book which will be published by Hamilton Books, Univ Press of America.

Concerning the grave of Jesus: that grave is belonging to some early missionaries of the Church of the East and some believers in the Hatta (Hada) clan. The researchers in the past have interviewed the family who owns these graves, and they all admitted that it may have belonged to some holy people. Here is a fragment from my book, Rediscovering Japan, reintroducing Christendom: 2000 Years of Christian History in Japan (Univ. Press of America: Release Time: January 2010):

"The So-Called Grave of Jesus There is a legend in Japan which claims that Jesus Christ was not crucified on the Mount of Golgotha, but came to Japan and lived there to the age of 106 in Shingo Village; it also claims that he is buried there. This village is not far from Hachinohe City in Aomori Prefecture, where a Christ festival has become a tourist attraction in Japan. Historically, it has never been proven that Jesus ever came to Japan. Even the suggestion that this was the case has no basis in theological and/or historical evidence. Still, there might be some remnant of Christian history behind this local festival, even if it is now used by the authorities to make money by attracting tourists. Keiko Nagai wrote an article in Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, on July 31, 1996 about this legend. She interviewed the Sawaguchi family, which owns the land where the graves are located. They, who have inherited the land from generation to generation, never suggested that this grave belonged to Jesus Christ, but rather to an unknown exalted person. The family was urged to care for it from generation to generation. It was only in 1935 that rumors about the grave involving Jesus were started by someone from Ibaraki. Keiko Nagai asked the village mayor, Junpachiro Hosogawa, at the time also the high priest of the village shrine, about this matter. He answered: “We are often asked that it is a wonder that Christians don’t file claims, but we have never had any complaints. They understand that we are not treating the matter comically or as a lark.” Also, a local official confirmed that there is no evidence that Christ is buried there (Nagai, 1996). Why there is such a legend in this particular Japanese village if it is factually not the case that Christ ever visited Japan? Upon his travel there, Joseph Ken, Jr., also interviewed the family who owned the land on which the tomb was located. They, too, confirmed that it was not the tomb of Jesus. However, they did mention that there were seven graves of foreigners located there. A local tradition developed in the village that the tombs must not be disturbed; supposedly, a curse would come upon anyone who tried to open them. But, in the pre-war years, the grandmother of the family had decided to open up one grave in spite of this. She brought out some artifacts. Subsequently, the military police to came and dug up all of the graves and took their contents to Osaka. It appears that they were the graves of ancient Christian settlers (Ken, Jr., 2008), perhaps missionaries or merchants. Joseph Ken, Jr. notes in his work, Lost Identity, that, in this area, there were people with some very interesting surnames, such as “Yohane” or “John” in the Bible, and “Yakobu”, or “Jacob.” Another fact worth noting is that the old name of this village was Herai, which resembles the Japanese pronunciation of Hebrew or Heburai. In this village, people of Shingo have certain song sounds similar to some in Hebrew. Those who learned this song from generation to generation sing Nanyadoyara Nanyadonasareno Nanyadoyara as they dance around the grave. These words have no meaning in Japanese, but in Hebrew it could mean “We praise your Holy Name; we will destroy the aliens and praise your Holy Name” (ibid)." Kind Regards

prof. Samuel Lee Lecturer in Japan's Christian History & Cultural Sociology of Japan Amsterdam, The Netherlands / www.ProjectJapan.org

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I give you props SAMIEE!!! Your statement was ten times better, entertaining, and factual than the original article. With the way you explained things I could definately want to read more. The original article shouldn't speak as if what he/she was saying was factual because it will only bring hatred from Christians due to the history of so many false profits. Many can probably agree with me that it was a ploy to gain tourism. And I respect the family for not stating that it was not Jesus Christ. I see it as another way of brainwash or scheme to make japanese people think this is the chosen country of importancy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good post, samlee!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah, interesting post Samlee, but while the names may suggest some Jewish Christian influence it seems a bit of a leap to attribute that to some ancient Wise Men from the East. Is there any hard evidence for that?

Also, if the graves have been protected from generation to generation then it begs the question as to how long ago that area was settled by the Japanese?

To me it seems more likely that it's just the legacy of some stray believers in the Edo period. However, it would be interesting to somehow date those graves in Shingo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

read about this years ago. If the J-Man travelled all the way to Japan, don't you think he might have gone to Kyoto or Nara, which were the happening cities at the time? BUt if this story tweaks the bible-literalists, more power to it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interesting. This is the first I have ever heard of this story. I do not believe the person was the Jesus Christ however I do believe he could have been a from long ago Israel. Thank you for the story. It is interesting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not to be long winded, just type in the words "Axum, Ethiopia" and go from there. Jesus worked with Solomon to build the Church of Mary and it still stands dome 2000 years plus. USE YOUR COMPUTER AND SEE WHAT YOU WILL SEE.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the alleged authentic documents, written in perfect Japanese and signed by Jesus, were found by Kyomaro Takeuchi, who was employed by the mayor of Shingo. At that time, the mayor had been on a desperate journey to promote his town’s appeal to tourists

Of course, this doesn't stop people in believing what they're doing is something old, traditional and genuine:

like many Japanese customs it is followed merely out of respect for tradition

And sadly, this same blind belief can be seen in so many of the festivals, prayers and whatnot here.

Obviously the wild claim in the article attracts a lot of comments and questions of what's real. Wish people would do the same with so much else here, and not take it at facevalue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hi, everyone. Thanks for your interest and suggestions on my post (my reaction to the post "Jesus in Japan"). Some asked me if there are more evidence specially about the Jewish influences. Well, my answer is yes. My book "Rediscovering Japan, Reintroducing Christendom: 2000 years of Christian History in Japan" will be released in February 2010. In this book of almost 250 pages you find hard facts concerning this. The name of the publisher is University Press of America / Hamilton books. I am not sure how much the book will cost, but I think it will be something like 29.95$.(I think from coming December, you can pre-order this book, from the publisher)http://www.univpress.com/

I have done more than 4 years research on this subject, and tried to write the book as objective as possible. For instance there are almost 500 words in Japanese that resemble Hebrew words with similar meanings. Also some Japanese festivals resembles with those in the Old Testament Jewish festivals. Well, you can find all these in my book. Best wishes to you all.

Samuel Lee (Lecturer in Japan's Christian History & Cultural Sociology of Japan Amsterdam, The Netherlands / www.ProjectJapan.org)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The relationship between Japan and Judaism is in fact much stronger than it would appear at first sight. The following book is a good introduction on the topic for anyone interested: 'The Biblical Hebrew Origin of the Japanese People' by Joseph Eidelberg. Another very good source of information can be found via Google if you search for: 'Israelites Came to Ancient Japan' (click on the first link in the search results)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@samlee it's an interesting approach but have you critically analyzed the concept of Jesus being buried there? Yes there are markings which suggest that Christianity must have been there but to assume that this actually is the grave of Jesus Christ don't you think it's a bit far fetched. My point being are there any proofs which suggest that this grave in question is actually his grave or it's just a myth

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites