Kakure Kirishitan: The Hidden or Secret Christians of Nagasaki | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 47, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



This article describes the typical Japanese changes in the belief system of a small group of descendants of Christians in the Nagasaki area of Japan who kept their faith in spite of the persecutions of the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1868). They are called Kakure-kirishitan: hidden Christians. The Kakure-kirishitan in a syncretistic way united Christian elements with Buddhist, Shinto and folklorist elements. In ascribing hundred forms to Deusu they even devised a new type to Buddhist monotheism and made him superior to Kannon in its 33 forms. In replacing three divine persons in God with three bodies they identified Deusu to other gods of the Shinto pantheon. In their rituals they added many Shinto and Buddhist elements to the original Christian sacraments.


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