A Strange Japanese
By James Donahue
Because of books and
films on the subject, most people by now are aware of the story of a possible link between Mary Magdalene and possibly Jesus
with the area of Rennes-le-Chateau, France.
But there is another
story, told by the people of Shingo, Japan,
that strangely links Jesus with that community. The people there not only believe this story, they have a complete legend
and even grave markers to indicate that not only Jesus, but his family lived there 2000 years ago.
The Christian story,
from the New Testament, claims that Jesus was crucified at Calvary, rose from the dead three
days later, and thus became a blood sacrifice to cover the sins of mankind.
But the Shingo story
is very different. It claims that Jesus escaped the clutches of the Romans and fled to Japan where he lived a life in exile in this northern mountain village. There he
married a woman called Miyuko, and they became parents of three daughters. Jesus died at the age of 106.
Two wooden crosses outside
the village mark the graves of Jesus and his brother, Isukuri, and there is even a museum
that remembers Jesus as a garlic farmer known to the Japanese as Daitenku Taro Jurai.
Isukuri, the people say,
was crucified in Jerusalem instead of Jesus. When Jesus came
to Shingo he brought with him the severed ear of his brother. Apparently it is only the ear that lies buried in that ancient
tomb beside Jesus.
In the museum is a scroll,
said to be a copy of an original document that was the last will and testament of Jesus. The original document, first discovered
in the hands of a priest in 1935, was reportedly destroyed during the war. But a copy exists and is contained in a glass case.
A sign beside the grave
explains that when Jesus was 21, he came to Japan
to study the divinity of the masters there. He remained there for 12 years, living somewhere near Mount
Fuji, and became fluent in Japanese. When he was 33, Jesus returned to Judea
and began his ministry there.
The community was called
Harai when Jesus arrived. Many locals say it was a Hebrew name. They also claim a song, or mantra, recited by the people for
generations, also sounds more Hebrew than something spoken in the Japanese dialect. It goes: "Na-Nee-Ya-Do-Ya-Ra."
clip about the community cites villager Yoshiteru Ogasaware as saying that there are other strange and unexplained customs
in Shingo that may link the community to some kind of Hebrew origins.
there is a strange blessing of the children with a black sign of the cross on their foreheads, even though the people are
not Christians. Also many villagers wrapped newborn babies in cloth marked by the Star of David.
not and then a blue-eyed baby is born and some people say that these children are the descendants” of Jesus, Ogasaware
said. “Then we heard about these ancient scrolls that said Jesus had come to Japan, and we put everything together.”
Jesus grew garlic and gave up his ministry when he arrived in Japan.
Some say that if the
real tomb of Jesus is a marked grave in Japan,
the story could be proven if the bones could be exhumed. But Japanese tradition forbids this.
Thus the Japanese people
of Shingo have their legend, complete with graves and a scroll that neither proves nor disproves their story.
While Ogasaware says
he does not believe the Jesus story, he notes that even before the scroll was found, the ancient tomb was always said to contain
someone very important, “although nobody knew who.”