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The Purported Tombs of Jesus (Elsewhere Than Jerusalem)


Gone But Not Forgotten
May 20, 2002
There is this village in Japan that claims that it was Jesus' brother that was actually crucified and that Jesus lived in their village and got married, had kids, had a nice happy life. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the village. Time to go hunting!
Here it is :

Link is dead. The article is quoted in full below. It can be retrieved via the Wayback Machine:


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 Testament.

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 tomb.

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

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

[link fixed, Niles]
Last edited by a moderator:
Shingo: Jesus in Japan

When Jesus walked in Japan
While the thoughts of the world's Christians turn to events in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, the inhabitants of a little village a few hours' drive from Tokyo prefer another version of the Greatest Story Ever Told. David McNeill reports
15 December 2004

The village of Shingo nestles in a mountainous patch of pine forests, rice paddies and apple trees a six-hour drive from Tokyo. Known for its garlic ice-cream, and the unusually rapid flight of its young to nearby cities, it seems like an odd final resting place for the Christian Messiah.

In the Bible version of The Greatest Story Ever Told, Jesus Christ was crucified at Calvary and rose from the dead three days later to save mankind from sin. Not so, says local legend in Shingo; that was his brother Isukuri. In reality, Christ escaped the clutches of the Romans, fled across land carrying his brother's severed ear and a lock of hair from the Virgin Mary and settled down to life in exile in the snowy isolation of Northern Japan.

Here he married a woman called Miyuko, fathered three daughters and died at the age of 106. Two wooden crosses outside the village mark the graves of the brothers from Galilee and a museum makes the case that the man we call Jesus Christ the carpenter was known around these parts as garlic farmer Daitenku Taro Jurai.

Difficult to believe, perhaps, that a man in sandals from the Middle East found his way across Siberia, via Vladivostok, to this small corner of the world, but the villagers claim he had practice. A sign beside the grave reads: "When Jesus Christ was 21 years old he came to Japan to pursue knowledge of divinity for 12 years." After over a decade of study somewhere near Mount Fuji and by this time fluent in Japanese, he returned to Judea aged 33 but his teachings were rejected and he was arrested. His brother took his place on the cross and Daitenku began the second 10,000-mile trek back to his alma mater.

It all sounds a bit hard to swallow, even for a religion that gave us the Virgin Birth, the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and the Resurrection, but the case for a Japanese Jesus is made forcefully in the Shingo museum and enriched by local lore. The museum says the old village name - Herai - sounds more Hebrew than Japanese and notes odd similarities between local culture and the songs and language of the Middle East, including a mantra chanted for generations in Shingo which it claims, bears no resemblance to Japanese and may be an ancient Hebrew-Egyptian riddle.

Although the mantra, which goes "Na-Nee-Ya-Do-Ya-Ra", sounds more like a nursery rhyme than the missing link between the Mesopotamia and the Far East, the museum claims it can be traced to Hebrew texts from the first century. A website run by a supporter of the cult group, Christ in Japan, sniffs that journalists worldwide have ridiculed the song and the "efforts of simple people of the village to preserve tradition" but that they will remain defiant. "People from Herai will keep singing The Song, and no one on Earth, not even the Pope, can stop them."

One villager, Yoshiteru Ogasawara, does not feel quite so strongly about the song, but says: "There were always strange customs here and people didn't know how to explain them." For generations, he claims, children were blessed with a black sign of the cross on their foreheads, "even though it is not a Christian place at all". Other villagers have claimed newborn babies were draped in clothes marked with the Star of David. "Every now and then a blue-eyed baby is born and some people say that these children are the descendants of the original settler," says Mr Ogasawara. "Then we heard about these ancient scrolls that said Jesus had come to Japan, and we put everything together."

The documents, said to be written in archaic Japanese, were discovered in the hands of a Shinto priest outside Tokyo in 1935 and were claimed as Christ's last will and testament, dictated as he neared death in the village. The originals were destroyed during the war, but a copy of the scrolls sits in a glass case in the Shingo museum, brought to the village by Banzan Toya, a nationalist historian who said they referred to two burial mounds that had been in the hands of a local garlic-farming family called Sawaguchi for generations.

The key to deciphering the mystery lies in the cultural climate of the time. In 1935, Japan was dominated by an extreme, militaristic ideology. Like Germany in the 1930s, much of Japan's finest brainpower was expended in an effort to prove racial and cultural superiority over the hordes in Asia, leading this almost exclusively Shinto and Buddhist country up some odd intellectual avenues. It was during this period that another document was uncovered, "proving" Moses had come to Japan and been presented with the Ten Commandments, and the Star of David, by the Emperor.

Banzan Toya became a one-man industry in this effort to place Imperial Japan at the centre of the world's great religions. The day after he found the "Tomb of Christ" in Terai, he also "stumbled" on the remains of one of Japan's seven ancient pyramids nearby, which, he claimed, predated the Egyptian version. Of the pyramids today, there is little trace except for a mound of stones close to the village bus stop. A sign says they collapsed during the 19th century.

It does not sound much of a threat to 2,000 years of Christian mythology and the beliefs of millions worldwide who have been raised thinking it was Jesus up there on the cross, even though the story neatly explains his "lost years" before he began preaching the gospel. But none of this has stopped more than 30,000 people from visiting Shingo's museum annually, or from participating in the Christ Festival in May, with a motley crew of serious pilgrims, pagans and the curious mix of Shinto, Buddhist and Christian rites. Nor has it destroyed the belief that something out of the ordinary happened in this village.

While Mr Ogasawara says he does not believe Christ is actually buried here, he thinks there is more to the story than tourist-friendly hokum. "The tomb has been there for generations and it was said to contain someone very important, although nobody knew who. It could have been a foreign pilgrim or teacher." Modern independent scholars have waded into the debate, claiming the origins of the myth may be in an early Middle Eastern diaspora, a claim given apparent weight by the unveiling of a plaque this year by the Israeli Ambassador in Japan, commemorating the friendship between the village and the city of Jerusalem.

Gil Haskel, at the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo says it is possible there was migration of Hebrew tribes from West to East, and into Japan via Russia, although the embassy considers it unlikely, and the plaque is simply "a symbol of friendship rather than an endorsement of the Jesus claims". If true, would this entitle the villagers to the right of return to Israel? "There would need to be very solid proof, but yes, like every Jew they would be entitled to come to Israel," says Mr Haskel. "There are other claims of this sort. You should check out the Tomb of Moses in Ishikawa Prefecture [on Japan's West coast]. It claims Moses came to Japan, spoke to a local girl and died here in Japan."

Some prefer to see Shingo as another example of the Japanese genius for making things their own. Professor Mark Mullins of Sophia University in Tokyo, who has written a book about religions in Japan, said: "The story shows how people here use and interpret Christianity to make sense of it, rather than simply mimicking it. It's not unique to Japan but part of the cultural reinterpretation of Christianity." He cites another cult near Kyoto called The Holy Ecclesia of Jesus, an artful blend of Western and Japanese traditions, which runs the Maria healing spring, where pilgrims go for spiritual comfort in a hot spring watched over by a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Japan's genius for absorbing all things foreign and making them its own can be seen in the run-up to Christmas. The appearance of frosted pine trees, Santa and a riot of tinsel, glitter and fairy lights might make it look like the West's favourite season, but do not be fooled. This is an example of what happens when you graft an essentially Western religious festival onto a rich Eastern country, where less than 1 per cent of the population is Christian.

Japanese chocolate makers, jewellers and hoteliers have re-branded Christmas into a kind of Valentine's Day with bells on. Hyped by television, which features tales of romantic alliances transformed by the "miracle" of Christmas, this is now the time of the year when it is uncool to be without a date. Today's younger set knows the season only as an opportunity to shop, eat and - for many - lose their virginity. Come Christmas Eve, many of Japan's hotels will be packed with fornicating couples, which may not be what Jesus of Shingo had in mind when he left his little brother hanging on the cross.

The mystery of the Tomb of Christ might be cleared up if the locals would allow researchers to dig around the graves. "It is considered a bad thing to do, so they won't allow it," says Mr Ogasawara. As evening falls on the crosses of the doppelganger deities, teenagers Hayato Itabashi and Yui Takahashi have come to pay their respects. "I'm not religious at all, but think it's true," says Yui. "And even if it isn't, it's a nice atmosphere at Christmas." Does he really think it likely that Christ really came this far, whether on foot or on a donkey? Hayato ponders the question for some time. "I dunno," he finally says. "Stranger things have happened."
If Jesus left his little brother on a cross and skipped town, wouldn't his little brother then be the savior? And if not, then why bother with all the cross symbolism? And what relevance would Jesus then have outside of Shingo?

I wouldn't doubt that Jewish people, perhaps Christian missionaries, made it out to Japan around that time, though.
The Japanese Jesus trail

By Duncan Bartlett
BBC News, Japan

A Japanese legend claims that Jesus escaped Jerusalem and made his way to Aomori in Japan where he became a rice farmer. Christians say the story is nonsense. However, a monument there known as the Grave of Christ attracts curious visitors from all over the world.

The Grave of Christ has become an international tourist attraction
To reach the Grave of Christ or Kristo no Hakka as it is known locally, you need to head deep into the northern countryside of Japan, a place of paddy fields and apple orchards.

Halfway up a remote mountain surrounded by a thicket of bamboo lies a mound of bare earth marked with a large wooden cross.

Most visitors peer at the grave curiously and pose in front of the cross for a photograph before heading off for apple ice cream at the nearby cafe.

But some pilgrims leave coins in front of the grave in thanks for answered prayers.

The cross is a confusing symbol because according to the local legend, Jesus did not die at Calvary.

His place was taken by one of his brothers, who for some reason is now buried by his side in Japan.

The story goes that after escaping Jerusalem, Jesus made his way across Russia and Siberia to Aomori in the far north of Japan where he became a rice farmer, married, had a family and died peacefully at the age of 114.

A villager hinted that I might be able to meet one of Jesus' descendents - a Mr Sajiro Sawaguchi, who is now in his 80s.

His family owns the land on which the grave stands and his house is at the foot of the mountain.

I set off to find him but was told he was too ill to speak to me.

Jesus' descendant?

However, his grandson Junichiro Sawaguchi did agree to talk. Was I about to meet someone with a true touch of the divine?

The tubby middle-aged gentleman in glasses who spoke to me did not seem particularly Messianic.

Local legend says Mr Sawaguchi (r) is a living descendant of Jesus
"Actually, my family are Buddhists not Christians," said Mr Sawaguchi.

"And I don't claim to be a descendent of Jesus although I know some people have said my grandfather is connected to the legend. However, when I was a young child, my mother drew the sign of a cross upon my forehead as a symbol of good fortune," he told me.

Certainly the cross has brought good fortune to the villagers, who make money from the visitors and the media who seek out the grave.

It has become the region's only internationally recognised tourist attraction.

However the legend of Jesus the rice farmer does not stretch back very far. It only began in the 1930s with the discovery of what were claimed to be ancient Hebrew documents detailing Jesus' life and death in Japan.

Those documents have now mysteriously disappeared and the grave has never been excavated. I asked a village official, Masaoki Sato, if he realised that the grave might cause offence to Christians who believe in Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.

"We're not saying that the story is true or what is written in the Bible is wrong," he politely explained. "All we are saying is that this is a very interesting old legend. It's up to the people who come here to decide how they interpret it."

Ritual and tradition

Many Japanese find it hard to make sense of Christianity. Schools are banned from teaching any religion and people are generally more interested in ritual and tradition than theology.

However, Christian-style weddings are enormously popular. They are often held in hotels which have special chapels, complete with crosses and stained glass windows.

Foreign students are sometimes hired to play the part of the priest, although the whole event has no official sanction from any church.

Churchy-looking buildings have other entertainment purposes too.

In the city of Nagoya, I went to a theme restaurant where diners could choose either to have dinner in the chapel, seated on pews and surrounded by paintings of Jesus and the saints, or on the floor below, which is decorated like a prison, complete with metal bars around each table.

Only 1% of Japan is officially Christian. However, there are some lively churches, such as the New Life Ministry in Tokyo.

When I arrived on Sunday afternoon it was packed with young worshippers, clapping along to songs of praise and raising their hands in joy.

I met Pastor Shintaro Watanabe, who was dressed in a floral Hawaiian shirt and had an almost permanent smile on his face.

Wasn't he shocked by the legend of Jesus' grave? He laughed and said it was just a silly story which caused him no particular offence.

"I suppose that many Japanese people feel respect for Jesus and the Bible," said the pastor. "The legend ties in with that. Perhaps it shows that people are looking to make a connection with Jesus in some way."

His church is trying to satisfy that spiritual curiosity, just as countless missionaries to Japan have attempted before.

Yet many Christians have discovered that the Japanese view of religion can be rather baffling - as the grave of Christ the rice farmer reveals.

From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Saturday, 9 September, 2006 at 1130 BST on BBC Radio 4. Please check the programme schedules for World Service transmission times.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/f ... 326614.stm
Jesus' tombs

A quick question, really...

There are claims that Jesus' tomb is in Kashmir, India. And other claims that it is in Japan. What other locations have (even minor) claims to his tomb besides Israel, India and Japan?
Although I'm sick of hearing about it, Rosslyn could well be a contender.
are they though, or is that just Dan Brown and them other fellas what wrote that book?
ghostdog19 said:
are they though, or is that just Dan Brown and them other fellas what wrote that book?

As opposed to them other fellas what wrote them other books?
jefflovestone said:
ghostdog19 said:
are they though, or is that just Dan Brown and them other fellas what wrote that book?

As opposed to them other fellas what wrote them other books?
You know the blokes. them fellas. Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Priory of Sion now established as a hoax makes it somewhat null and void.
ghostdog19 said:
jefflovestone said:
ghostdog19 said:
are they though, or is that just Dan Brown and them other fellas what wrote that book?

As opposed to them other fellas what wrote them other books?
You know the blokes. them fellas. Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

Yeah, you know them other blokes too. Them fellas. Everyone that wrote everything hundreds and even thousands of years after the alleged event.
jefflovestone said:
ghostdog19 said:
jefflovestone said:
ghostdog19 said:
are they though, or is that just Dan Brown and them other fellas what wrote that book?

As opposed to them other fellas what wrote them other books?
You know the blokes. them fellas. Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

Yeah, you know them other blokes too. Them fellas. Everyone that wrote everything hundreds and even thousands of years after the alleged event.
elaborate. As far as I can figure it, that's it, but if you know more, share. Where else claims to have the tomb of Christ?
ghostdog19 said:
jefflovestone said:
ghostdog19 said:
jefflovestone said:
ghostdog19 said:
are they though, or is that just Dan Brown and them other fellas what wrote that book?

As opposed to them other fellas what wrote them other books?
You know the blokes. them fellas. Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

Yeah, you know them other blokes too. Them fellas. Everyone that wrote everything hundreds and even thousands of years after the alleged event.
elaborate. As far as I can figure it, that's it, but if you know more, share. Where else claims to have the tomb of Christ?

My comments were regarding this:
ghostdog19 said:
are they though, or is that just Dan Brown and them other fellas what wrote that book?

I got the impression, perhaps wrongly, that you were a bit dismissive of "Dan Brown and them other fellas" compared to other theories as to the whereabouts of the tomb of Jesus. I was just pointing out that, at the end of the day, that it's all fellas writing books whether it's the gospels, Ghulam Ahmad or Dan Brown. :)
jefflovestone said:
My comments were regarding this:
ghostdog19 said:
are they though, or is that just Dan Brown and them other fellas what wrote that book?

I got the impression, perhaps wrongly, that you were a bit dismissive of "Dan Brown and them other fellas" compared to other theories as to the whereabouts of the tomb of Jesus. I was just pointing out that, at the end of the day, that it's all fellas writing books whether it's the gospels, Ghulam Ahmad or Dan Brown. :)
oh right. No, I was being dismissive of current trends, ie: Dan Brown and the like, for the simple fact that for them the dubious nature of the Priory of Sion upon which much of their hypothosis (which the authors of Holy Blood Holy Grail had to backpeddle and call) has become just that...self proclaimed "hypothesis". So, technically, there's no tombs in France etc. We were talking about sights that have been recognised as tombs, after all.
Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Tourists flock to 'Jesus's tomb' in Kashmir
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/f ... 587838.stm

By Sam Miller

A belief that Jesus survived the crucifixion and spent his remaining years in Kashmir has led to a run-down shrine in Srinagar making it firmly onto the must-visit-in India tourist trail.
Rozabal shrine, Srinagar
Jesus is reputed to be buried in this run-down shrine in the Kashmir capital

In the backstreets of downtown Srinagar is an old building known as the Rozabal shrine.

It's in a part of the city where the Indian security forces are on regular patrol, or peering out from behind check-posts made of sandbags.

There are still occasional clashes with militants or stone-throwing children, but the security situation has improved in recent times and the tourists are returning.

When I first searched for Rozabal two years ago, the taxi circled around a minor Muslim tomb in a city of many mosques and mausoleums, the driver asking directions several times before we found it.

The shrine, on a street corner, is a modest stone building with a traditional Kashmiri multi-tiered sloping roof.

A watchman led me in and encouraged me to inspect the smaller wooden chamber within, with its trellis-like, perforated screen.

Through the gaps I could see a gravestone covered with a green cloth.

When I returned to the shrine recently though, it was shut - its gate padlocked because it had attracted too many visitors.

The reason? Well, according to an eclectic combination of New Age Christians, unorthodox Muslims and fans of the Da Vinci Code, the grave contains the mortal remains of a candidate for the most important visitor of all time to India.

'Crazy professor'

Officially, the tomb is the burial site of Youza Asaph, a medieval Muslim preacher - but a growing number of people believe that it is in fact the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.

Map showing location of Srinagar

They believe that Jesus survived the crucifixion almost 2,000 Easters ago, and went to live out his days in Kashmir.

"What else could they do? They had to close it," Riaz told me.

His family home almost overlooks the shrine, and he is witheringly dismissive of the notion that Jesus was buried there.

"It's a story spread by local shopkeepers, just because some crazy professor said it was Jesus's tomb. They thought it would be good for business. Tourists would come, after all these years of violence.

"And then it got into the Lonely Planet, and too many people started coming.

"And one foreigner…" he gave me an apologetic look, "broke off a bit from the tomb to take home with him. So that's why it's closed now."

On cue, a couple of unwashed and exhausted Australians appeared, carrying the latest edition of the Lonely Planet travel guide to India, which, sure enough, carried the tale of Jesus's tomb, with some caveats about crackpots and blasphemy.

They asked me to take a photo of them outside the shrine - but were not desperately disappointed that it was closed.

The tomb of Jesus was just another place to tick off on their tourist-in-India must-visit list.

Famous meeting
Buddhist monastery, Srinagar
The remains of a Buddhist monastery which some believe Jesus visited

The ruins of a Buddhist monastery in a spectacular location halfway up a mountainside north of Srinagar are not, yet, mentioned in the Lonely Planet.

It's a spot that I had previously been unable to visit, because as a senior police officer told me, it was "infested with terrorists".

But the watchman now seemed prepared for the arrival of mass tourism, with his 50 words of English, and his hidden stock of ancient terracotta tiles for sale.

He informed me that Jesus was among the religious leaders who attended a famous Buddhist meeting here in AD80, and even pointed to the place where he sat.

The stories of Jesus in India are not just aimed at gullible tourists - they date back to the 19th Century.

They were part of attempts to explain the striking similarities between Christianity and Buddhism, a matter of great concern to 19th Century scholars - and also a desire among some Christians to root the story of Jesus in Indian soil.

Missing years

There is talk of the missing years of Jesus, unmentioned in the gospels, when he was between the ages of 12 and 30.

Woman kisses statuette of Jesus, in Srinagar Cathedral
Christians form a little more than 2% of India's population

Some say he was in India, picking up Buddhist ideas. These aren't notions that have entirely died out.

The US-based Christian sect, known as the Church Universal and Triumphant, is the best-known modern supporter of the belief that Jesus lived in Kashmir, though they don't believe he died there.

And in Islam, in which Jesus is the penultimate prophet, there is also a minority tradition adopted by the controversial Ahmadiyya sect , that Rozabal does contain the grave of Jesus.

Professional historians tend to laugh out loud when you mention the notion that Jesus might have lived in Kashmir - but his tomb is now firmly on the tourist trail - and a growing number of credulous visitors believe that he was buried in the Rozabal shrine.

And for those who scoff, remember that others have argued, just as implausibly, that Jesus came to Britain.

A theory that was much in vogue when the poet William Blake famously asked: "And did those feet in ancient time, walk upon England's mountains green? And was the holy Lamb of God on England's pleasant pastures seen?"

How to listen to: From Our Own Correspondent

BBC Radio 4: Saturdays, 1130. Second weekly edition on Thursdays, 1100 (some weeks only)

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Download the podcast

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Story by story at the programme website
He’s not the Messiah, locals tell Rough Guide ‘Jesus tomb’ tourists


The idea that Jesus visited Kashmir and died there first arose in the mid-19th century as European scholars sought to explain similarities between Christianity and Buddhism. Some Christian groups were keen to link Jesus with India to win more converts, while others were exploring what he did between the ages of 12 and 30, which is not explained in the gospels.

The theory was also espoused by the controversial Ahmadiyya sect, which was founded in 1889 but is not recognised by many Muslims. A US-based Christian sect called the Church Universal and Triumphant, founded in 1952, also supports the belief that Jesus lived in Kashmir, but not that he died there. The latest edition of Lonely Planet, published last year, says: “The very act of visiting this place is highly thought-provoking.”

The story gained currency in India with the publication of a book called Christ in Kashmir, by Aziz Abdul Kashmiri, in 1968. “Kashmiri history books tell us that Yus Asaf came from abroad,” he told the BBC. “He came from Israel. He came to spread his teachings. He lived and died here. Yus Asaf was Issa. He was Jesus.”

Most Christian scholars and historians ridicule such theories but in the past three decades they have been popularised by a series of books, including Jesus Lived In India by the German author Holger Kersten. That work, published in 1981, claims there are hidden details at the shrine such as carved footprints marked with Crucifixion wounds — an idea which has inevitably grown more popular since the publication of The Da Vinci Code in 2003.

Suzanne Marie Olsson, the New York-based author of another book on the subject, has suggested exhuming the remains for carbon dating and DNA testing to check for Jewish ancestry. But she was forced to leave Kashmir several years ago after shrine managers filed a police complaint accusing her of “causing hurt to Muslim beliefs”.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 085207.ece
I just read that they had to close the Rozabal shrine as it appeared in the latest edition of the Lonely Planet India.

Can I just say that I hate the Lonely Planet guides? Anywhere that is nice and gets a mention in the LP immediately gets swamped with German, American and Japanese LP devotees.

I'm so tired of these backpackers who ruin everything for genuine travelers who follow their nose and local knowledge...

(Sorry for that rant)
Jesus in Japan and India

8) In Catholic Digest magazine one time, they had about this tomb in Kashmir. I don't think that Jesus is buried there.
Now, could He have gone there in life,yes it's possible. St.Thomas the Apostle went to India, and there are still St.Thomas Christians as they are known in India. Some scholars lean more towards Jesus being with the Essenes, or He could have gone to Eygpt too.
As far as Jesus in Japan, that I doubt. I think that some Jesuit, Dominincan,or whatever missionary priest was in Japan and taught christianity to these people. Marking the forehead with a black cross reminds me of Ash Wendsday,when the priest makes the sign of the cross on your forehead with ashes.,There were Catholics in Japan.The shoguns or Emperor outlawed christianity and many were killed.Those who survived,went underground.That's what i think happend in that village.
The Catholic Church has a feast day to honor the martyers of Japan.
The astonishing claims over the final resting place of Jesus: Why Japan, India and Glastonbury have all been put forward as places where he's buried
  • One theory dating back to the Middle Ages suggests that Jesus studied in Glastonbury as a youth
  • The Ahmadi Muslim faith believes Jesus lived and died in Kashmir region of India, where a shrine stands
  • Another shrine in Shingo, Japan, stems from the belief that Jesus fled Jerusalem to be a rice farmer

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/t...ry-forward-places-s-buried.html#ixzz4PhrmzJH6
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