Hidden Christian in Japan
Hidden Christian refers to the Christian believers who adhered to the Christian faith in secret
during the period of prohibition of Christianity in Edo period ( 1603-1868). Many Christians
were forced to apostatize to avoid being persecuted. However, some went underground secretly
to keep their faith, and some remained true to their faith in secret in remote area.
Some Christians disguised themselves as Buddhist by keeping an image of Virgin Mary which
looked like the Kannon, Buddhist deity of mercy (Maria-Kannon Image).
Some kept crosses hidden in their homes, along with Jesus disguised as Jizo-Bosatsu ( the
Buddhist guardian deity of children ). Suspected Christians were forced to step on pictures of
Virgin Mary and infant Jesus (Fumi-e) in order to prove that they were not Christians.
In 1873, during Meiji Restoration, the prohibition of Christianity was abolished after appeals by
Jan. 11, 2022