ICC Note: The story of Christianity in Japan over the past 500 years has not risen to the same effect of prolific evangelism and church planting that nearby world powers China and South Korea have experienced, but it is nonetheless a rich story that would command even more attention if Japan’s earliest church was to be made a World Heritage Site. Some of the world’s hardest Christian persecution was conducted in Japan from the early 17th century until Emperor Meiji’s reign some 260 years later; it would be fitting that the extraordinary faith of the Japanese Christians who kept the church alive in the country during that time finally be commemorated as testimony to the goodness and faithfulness of God in preserving His church.
8/1/2016 Nagasaki, Japan (CBN News) – The earliest church in Japan, built on a site where 26 Christians were martyred by crucifixion in 1597, is a candidate to become a World Heritage Site by 2018.
According to Japan Today, Nagasaki’s Oura Church was the main target of extensive Christian persecution from 1603-1868, when the faith was banned in the country.
From 1614-1640, up to 6,000 Christians were put to death for their faith.
Christianity was “presumed extinct” for many years, according to Christian Today. However, thousands of believers survived by living in the remote islands of Nagasaki and Sakitsu village, keeping the traditions of their martyred fathers.