Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Na-Nee-Ya-Do-Ya-Ra

I know that the title might not make any sense to you right now, but it will. As long as you keep reading, and then check out the article I've linked in this entry, the title will make complete sense.

Sign directing visitors to the Tomb of Christ in Shingo, Japan. (via japanvisitor.blogspot.com)

OK. I'm sure most folks have at least a passing familiarity with the Jesus in India theory. Nicholas Notovitch's The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, Shirley Maclaine's Out on a Limb, Janet Bock's The Jesus Mystery, Elizabeth Clare Prophet's The Lost Years of Jesus and Holger Kirsten's Jesus Lived in India all make (documented?) claims that Jesus traveled to India in his formative years. These, and other books like them, state that Jesus -- or St. Issa -- studied the Vedas, shared his wisdom, and performed miracles in India, Kashmir, and Tibet before returning to Palestine to begin his mission there. But this article [see update below] is the first I have heard of Jesus traveling to Japan ... and dying there. When Jesus Walked in Japan, a story currently running in The Independent, reports a completely different version of the Greatest Story Ever Told. According to local legend in the village of Shingo, a six-hour drive from Tokyo, Jesus did not die on the cross -- that was his brother Isukuri. You see, instead of dying on the cross:
Christ escaped the clutches of the Romans, fled across land carrying his brother's severed ear and a lock of hair from the Virgin Mary and settled down to life in exile in the snowy isolation of Northern Japan. Here he married a woman called Miyuko, fathered three daughters and died at the age of 106. Two wooden crosses outside the village mark the graves of the brothers from Galilee and a museum makes the case that the man we call Jesus Christ the carpenter was known around these parts as garlic farmer Daitenku Taro Jurai.

From MOBY Garden's Blog entry for Planting Garlic

So, is Jesus big (and dead) in Japan? We may never know for sure. The locals won't let researchers dig up the Tomb of Christ because, according to villager Yoshiteru Ogasawara, "It is considered a bad thing to do." Color me fascinated.

Update 2/29/2012: The Independent moved the story to this link and Religion News Blog has archived the full text of the story here.

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