Did you know?: Christianity and Japanese history

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

In Japan, Christianity was outlawed during the 17th and 18th centuries. More than 40,000 Christians were martyred then, so followers went underground pretending to be Buddhists in public. Called “Kakure Kirishitans” in Japanese, their home and sanctuary is in Hirado City near Sasebo Naval Base. Though the threat of persecution has long since passed, they still keep religious artifacts under wraps and pray in secret. Churches and facilities relating to the hidden Christians in the city are designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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