The tomb of Jesus in Shingo, Japan
Is the final resting place of Jesus Christ in a small town in northern Japan?

Thought you knew Jesus? Think again.

You might think that if you’ve read the gospels, you know quite a bit about the life of Jesus Christ. According to Christianity, Jesus was immaculately conceived, grew up in Nazareth, performed some pretty nifty miracles, and then died on the cross at Calvary, only to be resurrected three days later as the savior of humanity.

Christians, you might want to sit down for this one. According to one Japanese legend, that’s wrong, wrong, wrong. In this alternative version of events, Jesus came to Japan when he was 21. And that wasn’t him on the cross, that was his brother, Isukiri, taking one for the team. In fact, the real Jesus lived to the ripe old age of 106 and fathered three Japanese children. Oh, and he was actually named Daitenku Taro Jurai.

It’s a lot to take in for Christians who might’ve thought they knew a lot about the king of kings. Here’s the untold story of a strange local legend claiming Jesus Christ died in Japan.

Jesus Goes To Japan

Shingo, a small village in the snowy wilds of northern Japan, says it's the real final resting place of Jesus Christ. Erm, make that Daitenku Taro Jurai. 

According to local legends, Jesus of Nazareth came to Japan as a young man. He landed on the coast of the Sea of Japan, settling in the area that is now Toyama Prefecture.

Over the next twelve years, Jesus studied the Japanese language, literature, and philosophy under the tutelage of a wise master at the base of Mount Fuji. At age 33, he returned to Judea to share the wisdom of the East with his homeland.

That didn’t go so well. The Japanese legend of Jesus and the generally accepted version of Christianity agree on one thing: The Roman authorities weren’t buying what Jesus was selling. Jesus was convicted of heresy for preaching about the “sacred land” of Japan, and he was sentenced to death by crucifixion.

But in this version of Jesus’ story, he escaped the crucifix, and his brother Isukiri took his place instead. Not much is known about Isukiri; Details on his life or even his motivation for taking Jesus’s spot on the cross are long forgotten. 

Following Isukiri’s death on the cross, Jesus fled back to Japan, with a lock of the Virgin Mary’s hair and one of Isukiri’s ears as mementos. As this story goes, Jesus embarked on a four-year trek from Judea through Siberia and Alaska, finally catching a boat from Alaska to the northern tip of Japan.

Exiled back in Japan, Jesus adopted the Japanese name Daitenku Taro Jurai and lived a humble life as a garlic farmer. He married a local woman, Miyuko, they had three daughters, and the savior formerly known as Jesus lived to be 106 years old. When he died, his body was left on a hilltop for four years, then buried.

Christ's Real Resting Place?

In Shingo, the grave of Jesus is marked with a cross atop a mound of dirt, alongside a twin grave housing his brother's ear and the lock of Mary’s hair. A plaque describing Jesus's story can also be found at the site:

Many locals in Shingo insist that it’s the real final resting place of Jesus. They say that in ancient times, Jesus’s influence on the tiny Japanese hamlet was obvious, with men and women dressing in styles more Middle Eastern than Japanese. Some in Japan still claim to be the descendants of Jesus, despite being practicing Buddhists.

Others, however, aren’t so convinced. Interviewed by Smithsonian, Junichiro Sawaguchi, the eldest of Jesus’s alleged Japanese descendants and a Buddhist himself, says he’s not certain he even believes the story. But perhaps literal belief isn’t the point: “The Christ tomb has given Shingo a sense of identity,” he claims.

Every small town has its local legends, but not many involve the king of kings. What do you think of this one? Is it possible that Jesus visited Japan, or is this local tale just a work of fiction?

23 comments

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    Jesus was a very popular name 2,000 years ago. It's highly likely there was a man, if not many men by the name of Jesus who claimed to be the son of God just like today. Same thing was going on in the Middle East.

  1. Rev. Dr. G. Waldron's Avatar Rev. Dr. G. Waldron

    Very strange, but perhaps one of the disciples or early evangelists made it to Japan, and the story got confused in history.

    I know, I know what the atheists are going to say.

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    Pictures of always like Asian food and Asian women. So this makes perfect sense to me. I even married a Chinese one. In fact, in our family and larger tribe, BC stands for "Before Chinese."

  1. Shango MasterExorcist, D.D.'s Avatar Shango MasterExorcist, D.D.

    There is as much reason to believe this version as any other version. Last time I studied a Theology course at university (last year), the professors said that one proof that Jesus was an amazingly different person, was that he was brought up in Nazareth, and the city of Nazereth did ot exist till several centuries later.

    "Nazarene" is somebody with a new message. Somebody made a tiny accent in the wrong place, and miracle! A city got invented.

    1. Erica Chappuis's Avatar Erica Chappuis

      The confusion of words is very interesting. However, I have stood in 1st century ruins in the place we today call Nazareth. That town or settlement did indubitably exist at the appropriate period.

      An even more impressive place, with gorgeous mosaics, was the Hellenistic city of Sepphoris, a very walkable 6km from "Nazareth". Some speculate that Jesus' father, a fairly prosperous builder rather than a poor carpenter ("tekton" is another possibly mistranslated word and there is almost no wood in the region) may have worked in that city daily. Jesus may have had at least some familiarity with the famous theatres of that city, as well as the Greek language spoken there since he used the word "hypocrite", a Greek-derived word meaning someone who wears a mask.

      1. William Melvin Ferrell's Avatar William Melvin Ferrell

        Would it be possible that they were stone masons and were called builders with little or no wood in the area.

        1. Erica Chappuis's Avatar Erica Chappuis

          I believe it's possible. Or, perhaps the word referred to what we might call, "contractors", who might oversee or contract workers for a building project.

  1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

    ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is POSSIBLE BUTT NOTHING is EVER 100 %

  1. Marius Gabriel Burja's Avatar Marius Gabriel Burja

    People say all kinds of things, it doesn't make them true.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Actually when I attended the Alpha Course in the UK They had scientific proof that Jesus was found in his final resting place.He was sealed in a cave with a big boulder and he was wrapped in his robes after his crucifixion 3 days later.When the cave was unsealed his body had disappeared. Or rose from the dead only his robes remained We were never taught at school 50 years ago that he had a brother nor were we told he had crossed the seas into Japan.

    1. JaZe's Avatar JaZe

      Why do you bother with such courses? They are there to reinforce the traditional teachings, not to break new ground.

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    The only source for the Jesus myth, is what’s called “The New Testament” which was put together, by “who knows who” several hundreds of years after Saul (who Christians call Paul) — and according to Christian mythology, Saul never came in contact with the mythological Jesus, so evertything we now know about the Jesus myth, is just that - mythological.

    The Earth’s greatest historical hoax, created by Jews who wanted a better deal than they were currently getting from the Hebrew myths.

    Eternal life — In return for accepting the Jesus myth; kill all the people you care to, and still go to the Christian Heaven, as long as you accept Jesus before you die (as Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin did)

    Who could resist accepting Christian mythology?

  1. Frank Peter Guarino's Avatar Frank Peter Guarino

    Historical records sometimes can be misleading, for example- if you were to take the historical records of MSNBC News only, you'd have only 1 side of the story. The story of how the Holy Bible was certified as such, is the same. Holding the Bible to be the absolute is what has caused many riffs throughout history. The belief that Jesus is our Lord and Savior can still be upheld without Him dying on the cross. It is a belief, an organized historical book that was agreed upon by one group to be the absolute, which should truly be alarming to those that seek for truth.

    For me, God, our Heavenly Father, is the absolute, which is recorded several times that Jesus proclaimed Himself per the Bible. Jesus is recorded as the most recognized prophet in the world but was He the only one? It is recorded that Jesus grew figs upon a fig tree by simply touching it and telling the disciples with Him that they too could do the same if only they believed in God the Father.

  1. Keith Graham Ainsworth's Avatar Keith Graham Ainsworth

    There is also a story about he and Mary travelling to India after the crucifixion. You can google it, there are photos of his grave too.

  1. Glyn Askey's Avatar Glyn Askey

    I have an open mind, and am willing to listen to all sides of a story, but I feel this for a christian is a story too far. We all have our own thoughts on the biblical stories, and I will stick to those, but you cannot close your mind to what other people believe, if they believe Jesus went to Japan, then that is their chose, I myself will stick with the holy book. Glyn.

  1. Jeffrey Stoecker's Avatar Jeffrey Stoecker

    The ear is a nice touch. All the best religious stories -- both the apochryphal and the even more probably apochryphal -- have a good hook like that.

    Has anybody ever posted here about the ancient story that the Roma (a.k.a. Gypsies) have about how they saved Jesus from having a golden nail driven into his heart on the cross, and in return God granted them dispensation to (conditionally) steal? Now THAT is a really great legend. I'm surprised it's never been made into a movie.

  1. Diane Gaia Bayley's Avatar Diane Gaia Bayley

    It was a hoax: https://www.iias.asia/the-newsletter/article/authentic-fakes-case-tomb-christ-japan

  1. John Casillo's Avatar John Casillo

    WHY NOT.....EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE THEIR OWN JESUS IF THEY WANT....IMAGINE THE MARKETING!.....JACKETS, CROSSES, YOU NAME IT.....FOR AVIATOR JACKETS..."JESUS BUGS OUT".....CROSSES AROUND YOUR NECK WITH INSCRIPTIONS LIKE...."NOT ME"....OR HOW ABOUT "GONE FISHING"...MAYBE EVEN "WTF".....IT APPEARS FOR WAY TO MANY REASONS THAT JESUS HAS BECOME GOD'S MIDDLEMAN....REV john

  1. Lady Celynia's Avatar Lady Celynia

    I have to say it again, Jesus was not the Immaculate Conception. His mother was conceived without sin (immaculate-clean of original sin) so she could be a vessel for the Son of God.

    As for the rest of the article I would not be surprised to find this to be the truth. I’m not a Bible only Christian. Of course Christians the world over will vehemently disavow this.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Please get well 🤗

      🦁❤️

  1. Laurel Lee Newman-Curry's Avatar Laurel Lee Newman-Curry

    There are also 'supposed' to be ancient texts at, if memory serves me, in Tibetan temples where Jesus went as a youth and studied.

  1. Andy Khong's Avatar Andy Khong

    Jesus supposedly survived the crucifixion and went to live in Srinagar, present capital of Jammu & Kashmir, in India. There is a run down shrine dedicated to him! So did he pass away in India, or Japan?

  1. David Bartlett's Avatar David Bartlett

    Really because some of my French ancestors were convinced that Jesus went to France to raise a family there and our last name is derived from the village where he supposedly died.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
Don't have an account yet? Create Account