The Burial of Jesus in Japan?

The Burial of Jesus in Japan? December 26, 2011

I’m planning on revising my book The Burial of Jesus: History and Faith and releasing the second edition as an ebook.

Having spotted a post on IO9 about the claim that there is a tomb of Christ in Japan (a topic that has come to my attention from time to time), I am wondering (1) whether I need to include something about that subject in my book, and (2) whether I need to see about getting The Burial of Jesus translated into Japanese!

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  • Of course, this makes sense, because the Japanese are actually Jewish. Or something.

    By the way, I’ve got contacts in Inochi no Kotoba, the biggest Japanese Christian publishers, if you need ’em.

  • Brad Matthies

    I love this part:

    “According to local lore, Christ didn’t commit any miracles while residing in Shingō, but instead was just an extremely pleasant fellow to be around.”

    It’s like he got fed up with the Middle East and retired in Japan!

  • LOL. Simon, thanks for your offer. I am curious whether this is a topic that anyone in Japan takes seriously. Is this something that most people are even aware of, much less concerned about, I wonder?

  • Brad Matthies

    Alleged Hebrew documents from the 1930s that have since disappeared. Plus 1% of Japan is Christian. An interesting story for sure.

  • Nobody here takes it seriously, no. It’s somewhere between a local legend and a bit of fun.

    But I think there is a serious point. Bizarro-world Christian apologists such as Daniel Kikawa and the Japanese-are-the-lost-tribes folk seize on the flimsiest pieces of correlation between the Bible and Japanese culture, seemingly taking Japanese folk mythos and religion at face value and all the while hoping you won’t notice that correlation doesn’t imply causation; if their methodology was worth anything, then surely we should be using it in this case as well. Jesus is buried in Japan, mystery solved.

  • Gakuseidon

    I lived in Japan for a number of years many years ago. and I came across this topic a few times. It seems to get rediscovered every few years. I read an article by someone who went there to research this, and IIRC they thought that there was evidence in the local dialect for early Jewish or Christian influence, though ‘early’ here means in the last few hundred years. IIRC the author speculated that, when Christianity was banned around 1600, one or more ex-pat Christians acclimatised to Japan decided to settle in the area, passing along some traditions including religious ones.

    Unfortunately most articles seem to assume the story is a recent one and present it as a hoax. But it could be evidence that “kakure kirishitan” (“Hidden Christians”) had settled there. By the time Japan opened back up to the outside world in the mid 19th C, the Hidden Christians had adopted many features of Buddhism and Shintoism.