Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region

Sunday, 4 September 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  3 minutes

Remains of Villages on Nozaki Island © Pachopi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Remains of Villages on Nozaki Island © Pachopi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region is a group of twelve sites in Nagasaki Prefecture and Kumamoto Prefecture relating to the history of Christianity in Japan. The Nagasaki churches are unique in the sense that each tells a story about the revival of Christianity after a long period of official suppression. Proposed jointly in 2007 for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria ii, iii, iv, v, and vi, the submission named at the time Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki on the Tentative List, was recognized on January 30, 2018, as a World Heritage Site.

The initial nomination included 26 sites; however, after reconsideration the Nagasaki Prefecture reduced the monuments to 13 sites. Twelve sites were recognized. Concerns over the Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region have been widely discussed in the academic literature.

Villages on Kuroshima Island © Atsasebo/cc-by-sa-3.0 Egami Village on Naru Island © Indiana jo/cc-by-sa-4.0 Kasuga Village and Sacred Places in Hirado - Mount Yasumandake © Daisuke fukumoto/cc-by-sa-3.0 Kasuga Village and Sacred Places in Hirado - Nakaenoshima Island © Indiana jo/cc-by-sa-4.0 Ono Village in Sotome © Sapphire123/cc-by-sa-3.0 Oura Cathedral © STA3816/cc-by-sa-3.0 Remains of Hara castle © Chris 73/cc-by-sa-3.0 Remains of Villages on Nozaki Island © Pachopi/cc-by-sa-3.0 Sakitsu Village in Amakusa © STA3816/cc-by-3.0 Shitsu Village in Sotome © Pachopi/cc-by-sa-3.0 Villages on Hisaka Island © Indiana jo/cc-by-sa-4.0 Villages on Kashiragashima Island © Kenmintaro/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Kasuga Village and Sacred Places in Hirado - Mount Yasumandake © Daisuke fukumoto/cc-by-sa-3.0
Christianity arrived in Japan in 1549 with the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier. Fanning out from Nagasaki, the new faith won many converts, including a number of daimyōs. Toyotomi Hideyoshi then Tokugawa Ieyasu persecuted those professing to be Christian. After the Shimabara Rebellion of 1637–1638, the official suppression of Christian practices was combined with a policy of national seclusion that lasted over two centuries. With the advent of Western powers and reopening of Japan in the 1850s and the reforms of the Meiji Restoration, missionary activity was renewed and a number of Hidden Christians resurfaced. Ōura Cathedral of 1864 is the first of the churches built in subsequent years (History of Roman Catholicism in Japan, Kirishitan, and Kakure Kirishitan).

On 30 June 2018, thanking the UNESCO for the admission in the World Heritage List, the then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe publicly declared that the Hidden Christian Sites “convey the ‘shape’ of a faith that is unique to Japan and they are truly unparalleled worldwide as heritage of humankind.”

Read more on japan.travel – Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region (UNESCO), japan-guide.com – Hidden Christian sites in Nagasaki and Amakusa region, UNESCO.org – Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region and Wikipedia Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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