This time, the latest real Jesus turns up at a tourist trap that’s basically “Another Roadside Attraction” set in Japan: Behold the Tomb of Jesus in Shingo, Aomori Prefecture, Japan!
Could the millennias-old enigma finally be solved–again? Might we finally have, for the umpteenth time, found the *real* explanation that give us the exciting alternative (that Jesus is dead and buried) to the Church’s boring claim that the God who hurled the universe into being became man, engaged in an epic struggle with evil, was crucified, rose again and now work miracles and promises eternal ecstasy to anybody who will trust in him (ho hum)?
Only if you are a particularly gullible sucker:
This, it turns out, is the story told in a peculiar collection of apocryphal papers called the “Takenouchi Documents.” They are said to have been copied about 1,500 years ago from even older documents, then passed down as a precious treasure from generation to generation of the Takenouchi family and made public (or fabricated, as the less gullible among us might say) in the late 1800s. Men from the same family also served for generations as priests at the Koso Kotai Jingu shrine in Isohara, which is now part of Kitaibaraki City in Ibaraki Prefecture.
A three-volume English translation of these papers sits in a display case in the Legend of Christ Museum, handily located adjacent to the graves, and may be perused by visitors.
The Japanese original is the work of the self-styled cosmoarcheologist Wado Kosaka (1947-2002), who not only transcribed the original “Takenouchi Documents” but also — according to the preamble to Volume 1 — attracted national attention in the 1970s when he contacted a UFO on live television.
Although the documents described in the book are widely considered a hoax — Kyoto University religious scholar Toji Kamata has called them “fakelore” — they nevertheless contain all sorts of fascinating material, including descriptions of how ancestors of the human race came from outer space, what happened to Atlantis, and where Jesus Christ ended his life (this small town in present-day Aomori Prefecture, of course).
In 1935, Kiyomaro Takenouchi, founder of a Shinto-derived religion based on the Takenouchi Documents, came to Shingo to search for the grave. When the headman showed him two mounds in a (now cleared) thicket of bamboo, Takenouchi declared them to be the graves of Christ and part of his brother — and a legend was born.
One thing I’ve noticed about how this stuff works with New Agers and neo-pagans is that this stuff gets proposed as the “truth” about what “really” happened (clearly assuming a traditional modern narrative which still believes there is such as thing as historical truth, and insinuating that the gospels are, to use quaintly moralistic language “frauds and lies and coverups”). But then, when you document that this whole thing is, in fact a load of bushwah with no historical grounding, the New Agers and neo-pagans go all postmodern on you and say, “My version of the story is as true as anybody’s” because it’s all just your personal truth of the moment etc. blah blah.
There was a time when that sort of con job could be seen through in an instant by people of common sense. It’s amazing how many people today get snowed by such rubbish.