February 5, 2013
Japanese Governors Want Christian Sites Added to World Heritage List
UNESCO honor sought for 13 locations in Nagasaki, Christianity's island gateway to Japan.
Two local governors are asking the Japanese central government to submit a list of Christian locations to UNESCO for World Heritage status—the first time Japan will honor Nagasaki's Christian past in this way.
And following a meeting between the Nagasaki and Kumamoto governors and culture minister Hakubun Shimomura last week, the government said it "will give due consideration to the proposal and welcomes more World Heritage sites in Japan."
The sites recommended for consideration all are located in the Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures on the western island of Kyushu. According to the Japan Times, 12 of the sites are in Nagasaki, including "the Oura Cathedral, a national treasure, in the city of Nagasaki, and the former site of Hara Castle in Minamishimabara. The site was a battlefield during the Shimabara Rebellion about 370 years ago."
Christianity entered Japan through Nagasaki, though "early Christians were eventually forced to go underground for about 250 years after the Tokugawa shogunate imposed a ban on Christian missions to Japan."
CT has also reported on Asian American religiosity, including that of Japanese Americans.