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[escepticos] ¿queríais el cuerpo de Cristo?

Pues tomad:


Strangest Story Ever Told
Weird Legend of Jesus in Japan

It?s a story of Jesus Christ, and it goes a little
something like this: Jesus didn?t die up on his cross
at Golgotha. That was his brother. Christ himself fled
across Siberia and, after a brief detour through
Alaska, landed in Japan ? where he got married and
raised a family.

The town, Shingo, calls itself Kirisuto no Sato:
Hometown of Christ. 

Not many burgs outside of Bethlehem make that claim. 

Today, Shingo is known more for its garlic farms (they
even make garlic ice cream there) and apple orchards
than the Tomb of Christ ? that is, if it were to be
known for anything at all (it?s not). 

The site itself, a few minutes? drive from the town?s
tiny commercial district, is rather unspectacular. Two
8-foot-high wooden crosses surrounded by a white
picket fence sit on a bluff in the woods overlooking a
gravel parking lot. A small museum sits at the other
side of the parking lot.

On a typical day, dozens of people wander through.
Some leave a small offering ? five-yen coins,
considered lucky, are common ? in a basket at the
gravesite. Some even pray.

The idea of Jesus visiting, much less settling down
in, Japan?s equivalent of the Ozarks may sound
patently absurd. Even many locals doubt the tale. But
some residents of Shingo say it?s entirely plausible
that the man many call Messiah came here, and claim
they can prove it. 

An Ancient Scroll and a Remarkable Tale

In the years leading up to World War II, ancient
scrolls turned up in the hands of a Shinto priest just
outside of Tokyo. They pertained to two small,
forgotten graves in the remote mountains of northern
Honshu, the main island of Japan

The scrolls ? written in a Japanese so archaic that
only experts can read it ? recount the unlikely tale
of Christ?s escape from death, and were purportedly
written ? or at least dictated ? by Jesus himself as
his last will and testament. Call it the Last

When the priest realized what he had uncovered, he
summoned Banzan Toya, an artist/researcher
specializing in ancient Japanese history. Together,
they located two graves in a bamboo grove on the
ancestral land of the Sawaguchi family, whose
tradition held that the burial site remain
undisturbed, but did not explain why.

According to the scrolls, one tomb holds the ears of
Jesus? brother, Isukiri, and a lock of the Blessed
Virgin Mary?s hair, while Christ himself rests in the
one directly opposite.

The scrolls talk of Christ?s ?lost? years, during
which, they say, he traveled to Japan for spiritual
training. Years later, when he was condemned to die in
Judea, he escaped to his adopted hometown. 

In Shingo, locals held him in awe as the ?long-nosed
goblin.? Christ supposedly changed his name to
Daitenku Taro Jurai, sired a biblical three daughters
and lived to the ripe old age of 106. 

A Dubious Character and His Hunt for Pyramids

The original scrolls were lost in the war, but a copy
survives, and is on display ? in a glass case ? at a
museum on the Tomb of Christ grounds.

There are some obvious problems with this tale. First,
if true it would undermine the entire basis for the
Christian faith: for the religion to be valid, Jesus
had to die on the cross. It also contradicts the
Bible, which details his crucifixion. 

The scroll was discovered in the intensely
nationalistic climate of the prewar years; similar
?discoveries? document Moses? trip to Japan, where the
divine emperor gave him the Ten Commandments and the
Hebrew language, not to mention the Star of David.

Toya himself was a bit of a dubious character; he
traveled Japan in search of seven ancient pyramids,
far older than those of Egypt. The day after he
uncovered the Tomb of Christ, Toya ?found? one of the
pyramids nearby ? a strange collection of rocks atop a
small hill and a large, flat slab he claimed was a
fallen monolith. 

A surreal road sign near the tomb of Christ today
features notations in English and Japanese denoting
the locations of ?Tomb of Christ? and ?pyramid.? This
just before the chapel-shaped Tomb of Christ bus stop,
where nearby ads would lead a passing tourist to
believe the site was in some way sponsored or
recognized by Coca-Cola. 

But the tale cannot be dismissed offhand. It is very
likely the someone ? or something ? is buried in the
tomb below. Locals say archaeologists have confirmed
that a very old crypt does, in fact, exist beneath the
gravesite, and the town claims some interesting
customs that predate the modern ?rediscovery? of the

Until recently, for example, newborn children in
Shingo were decorated with a black cross on the

Locals Make a Living Off the Jesus Legend

Even if they don?t quite believe the story, the people
of Shingo know a good thing when they see it. 

?It?s just a way of attracting tourists, making
money,? said Father Marcel Poliquin, a Roman Catholic
priest in Towada, about 45 miles from Shingo. 

At local gift shops, believers and nonbelievers alike
can buy Jesus coasters, Jesus thermometers, Jesus
telephone cards and more. 

One shop even sells ?Kirisuto no Sato? sake.

Visitors to the tomb also inevitably pony up a few
hundred yen to visit the museum, and the town?s big
annual draw is a festival at the gravesite. There,
local dancers march around the graves banging drums
and singing in a language no one understands ? but
some say is derivative of ancient Hebrew. 

?Maybe it?s true, maybe it?s not,? says one friendly
local in a neighborhood bar. ?It?s a legend.?

A schoolgirl who lives in a nearby town says she?s
never been to the gravesite. 

?But it?s probably a lie,? she adds. 

Father Marcel tries to see the humor in the heresy. 

?I say it as a joke: ?Christ died in my parish.?? 

So who, if anyone, is buried in the Tomb of Christ? 

Some speculate that it was an early leader of Japan?s
indigenous Ainu population. Some say an ancient wise
man. Others believe that an early Christian missionary
rests below. 

Or, perhaps, nothing at all. 

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