新郷村
Shingō-mura

Shingō is a large village (pop. ~3000) in the Sannohe District of Aomori Prefecture on Honshu island of Japan. It is found on Route 454 on the Western coast of Japan, in an area that is not known as a particularly desirable vacation spot. Shingō is a rural farming village, growing chrysanthemum (for chrysanthemum tea), Japanese yam and tobacco; it also has a number of cattle ranches. Traditionally it was known for breeding horses, although this is less important to the local economy in modern times. It would remain largely unknown, except that it is said to be the final resting place of Jesus Christ.

The Grave of Christ

In 1935, a kôso Kôtai Jingû (Shinto) priest named Kiyomaro Takeuchi discovered a 1900-year-old document in the Ibaraki Prefecture of Japan. This document, commonly referred to as the Takeuchi Document, contained evidence that Jesus did not actually die on the cross, but instead traveled to Japan, and eventually died in 'Herai Village' (now called Shingō). The Takeuchi Document was quite controversial, and was seized by the government, to eventually be lost in the bombing of Tokyo during WWII. Fortunately the Takeuchi family had made copies of the document, and the later life of Jesus is accepted by some branches of the Shinto religion.

The Takeuchi Document also contained Jesus' will, which requested that his brother, Isukiri, be buried next to him. As it is said that Isukiri sacrificed himself by going to the cross in place of Jesus, thus leaving Jesus free to travel to the orient, it is unclear how his body made it from Jerusalem to Shingō... But he did, and they lie next to each other for eternity.

The plaque next to the graves reads:

When Jesus Christ was 21 years old, he came to Japan and pursued knowledge of divinity for 12 years. He went back to Judea at age 33 and engaged in his mission. However, at that time, people in Judea would not accept Christ's preaching. Instead, they arrested him and tried to crucify him on a cross. His younger brother, Isukiri casually took Christ's place and ended his life on the cross. Christ, who escaped the crucifixion, went through the ups and downs of travel, and again came to Japan. He settled right here in what is now called Herai Village, and died at the age of 106. On this holy ground, there is dedicated a burial mound on the right to deify Christ, and a grave on the left to deify Isukiri. The above description was given in a testament by Jesus Christ.

Of course, very few, if any, Christians accept that Jesus is buried in Shingō, and very few Shintoists care one lick about Jesus, so the Tomb of Jesus is not the tourist attraction you might expect. It is enough of a curiosity that Shingō receives a small but diverse flow of tourists from around the world, making it the biggest tourist attraction in the area. The family owning the grave plot is claimed to be descended from Jesus, although as they are not Christians (but rather Buddhists), this is probably the worst kind of blasphemy. The family themselves do not make this claim.

As of this date, no one has excavated the grave, so we do not know who or what may be buried in Shingō.



References:
Wikipedia: Shingo
The BBC: The Japanese Jesus trail
Encyclopedia of Shinto
Emperor and World Renewal in the New Religions: The Case of Shinsei Ryûjinkai

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