I’ve come across several articles recently on the Grave of Christ in Japan. Many journalist from well known news networks like CNN and the BBC have written on their experience visiting Shingō, Aomori and exploring the Grave of Christ and it’s local festival. An article from The Japan Times included an interview from the only registered Christian living in the area. A few years after moving to the area she was visited by a municipal official who invited her to participate in the annual Christ Festival at the grave.
“I went and led some hymns. Afterward a Shinto priest came out and did a ritual blessing, and I thought to myself, ‘Oh no, this is bad.’ I haven’t got involved with the festival since then,” she said.
Another article from Japan Today elaborated on some of the connections the Christ Festival has with Dracula and the pyramids… No matter how you approach it you are going to run into some strange stuff with this topic.
The most comprehensive article I found on the grave of Christ in Japan was from Smithsonianmag which even explained some of the Christian history in Japan. YouTuber Ronin Dave expresses some of the same information in his video which explains about the grave, it’s festival, and it’s origins.
Dave’s commentary was humorous and shared some perspectives that all of the other articles I read didn’t touch on with the exception of Smithsonianmag. For example, the museum near the grave has a will and testament that Jesus supposedly wrote in Japanese by his own hand… five to six hundred years or so before Japan had a written language. He also shared a bit about the historical circumstances in Japan during the mid 1930’s around the time that the grave of Christ was discovered. Radical imperialism leading up to WWII and cult worship of the emperor fueled a religious conspiracy that depicted Jesus as first visiting Japan at the age of 21 to study Shinto, returning to Israel to start his ministry based on Shinto teachings, escaping crucifixion in Jerusalem with his brother crucified in his place, fleeing back to Japan, having a family, and dying in Aomori. This would negate the entire faith of Christianity that Jesus Christ is God and resurrected from death further fueling emperor worship and nationalism.
There is something even more unusual that also contributes to the Christ grave story in Japan. Locals of Shingō who perform a dance during the annual Christ festival sing a song with words that have no meaning in Japanese, but apparently does have meaning in hebrew. There are other interesting hebrew language connections… So much so that in 2004, Israeli ambassador Eli Cohen visited the Christ grave during the annual festival and presented the town with a gift.
I continue to discover strange and interesting things about Japan’s Christian history. But when it comes to the grave of Christ in Japan, the truth is that Jesus never traveled more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) from his birthplace, he was a devote Jew who believed and fulfilled everything in the Old Testament of the bible, he resurrected from his temporary grave just outside Jerusalem about 2000 years ago, and he is alive and well today.