A Buddhist Temple, a Christian Museum, a Kindergarten.
After the visit to Kakure Christian Museum in Kyoto, I had a chance to explore another Christian Museum - 栄国寺 in Nagoya City. It is a place with combination of three themes: Buddhist temple, Christian museum and a kindergarten.
The temple received the bodies of the persecuted Christians in Edo period, to provide a burial place, and prayers for the rest of their souls after the mass execution.
The picture (left top): a stone that wrote 遗迹切支丹 Christian Monument. It stood before the narrow entrance to the burial ground.
The picture (left bottom): a sign that shows us the entrance to the burial ground of the mass execution, where a tomb was stood for a thousand souls.
The picture (right bottom): a weird combination: A monument built by a Catholic priest, illustrating the stories of the thousands persecuted souls (left), the tomb of a “famous” Christian man of the time (middle), the “worship” monument that states the protection of Buddha over these executed Christians’ souls (right).
“A resting place for the souls...” how kind were these people that had offered a resting place and set their gods to look after the executed Christians, so that the dead could find peace. What can we do to help them to understand the eternal life that these persecuted Christians had even that they had went through time of turbulence. How can we in return help them to realize that they themselves who had portrait such a good example of Samaritan brother could simply have the same eternal life by believing and receiving the name of Jesus?
The picture (right top): a buddha statue which was claimed to be substitute of Jesus in Hidden Christian worship.
To be honest, I do not think that the Christian museum really give us any concrete account of hidden Christian in Japan. Nevertheless it is interesting to see how the temple or the state officers had valued these artifacts.
栄国寺, an unique place: a very traditional Japanese style of architecture building adjoint to a kindergarten, with a display room that full of “Christians” artifacts that joined to a meeting room and a Buddhist temple. Let's pray that in this strange setting, it will provoke the interest of the kids to find out TRUTH as they realize the challenging messages that is embedded in this place.