沿革・経歴 History/Background


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In July, 2018, “Hidden Christians Heritage Sites in Nagasaki and the Amakusa Region”were registered as a cultural site of world heritage. It has been a year since the start of the promotion activities. However, the tradition of the religious activities of the so-called “Kakure Kirishitan (Hidden Christians)” that has been inherited in the regions through the generations is being lost with the passage of time, and there are a decreasing number of successors of the assets. This committee was established by the members who, after studying and researching the story of the Hidden Christians who played a significant role in the history of Japan and the promotion of art and culture, felt it was our mission to compile a record of our findings at this time. In 2015, we started seeking the cooperation of municipalities, organizations and experts and undertaking preparation activities, and we established “Hidden Christians Illustrated Reference Book Project Executive Committee” on December 20, 2016. We aim to make this unique culture known around the country and the world by compiling records of the Hidden Christians not only in Nagasaki and Amakusa but all around the country and producing a publication in both Japanese and English. We believe it will be a publication that is unprecedented in the world. In addition, we will tell the history of the Hidden Christians through symposiums and exhibitions for university and the general public. Simultaneously, we will conduct activities to raise funds for the project.


Christianity was brought to Japan by Francisco Xavier in the mid 16th century and captured the hearts of many Japanese people. For a while, prominent lords such as Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi accepted Christianity, and many Christian daimyo (feudal lords) appeared around the country. Later, when the persecution of Christians began, the dark ages arrived for Christians in Japan. However, there were people who secretly protected their faith for several hundred years. The existence of these people who were called “Kakure Kirishitan (Hidden Christians)” and presently referred to as “Senpuku Kirishitan (Underground Christians)” was recognized as a part of the history of Christianity. However, we cannot discuss the history of Japan without mentioning the existence of these people. This is because the religious lives of the Hidden Christians touched the very essence of the spirituality of the Japanese people. The evidence can be found, for example, in literary works such as the novel Silence by Shusaku Endo and the screenplay Seido no Kirisuto (“Christ in Bronze”) by Yoshiro Nagayo. Christianity in Japan went through a disturbing history that moved from prosperity to oppression, concealment and revival. Until now, people who kept their faith during the ban on Christianity were all called “Kakure Kirishitan.” However, they kept their faith alive in various ways. Furthermore, the religious lives of the Christians after the ban was lifted in the Meiji Period took various unique forms in different communities. As a result of recent research, separate names are now being used, including “senpuku (underground),” “kakure (hidden)” and “hanare (isolated).”

A total of 12 assets that tell the story of the religious culture and tradition fostered by the Hidden Christians in Nagasaki and the Amakusa region have been nominated for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2018. Meanwhile, the culture of the religious activities of the so-called “Kakure Kirishitan” is being lost with fewer successors carrying on the tradition. This project aims to study, collect and document the tangible and intangible relics and cultural assets of the Hidden Christians in Japan which could decline and be forgotten with the passage of time so that they could be passed on for future generations. At the same time, symposiums and exhibitions will be organized to shed a new light on the history of Japan.

本プロジェクトの活動Activities in the Project

  1. Supporting the activities for the listing of “Hidden Christians Heritage Sites in Nagasaki and the Amakusa Region ” as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2018.

  2. Providing an overview of the relics and cultural assets that were fostered by Christianity in Japan over a period of nearly 500 years to question the identity of the Japanese people and their “spiritual history.”

  3. Compiling a database of Christian relics and cultural assets that have been preserved in various regions around Japan to contribute to research on Japanese history and culture.

  4. Conducting symposiums and exhibitions in Amakusa, Nagasaki, Kinai, Tokyo, Sendai and Hokkaido, based on historical materials that were discovered in the process of compiling the “Illustrated Reference Book.”

遺物の状況The Present State of the Relics

Christian relics and cultural assets have been preserved in Japan despite the persecution of Christians that raged through the country for nearly 300 years. Today, they can be found mainly in Kyushu, in areas including Nagasaki, Amakusa, Hirado, Shimabara and the Goto Islands as well as other regions around the country such as Yamaguchi, Kinai in Ibaraki City, Osaka Prefecture, Tokyo, Sendai and Yamagata.


Christian sword guard
Amakusa Christian Museum in Amakusa City, Kumamoto Prefecture


Maria Kannon
Amakusa Christian Museum in Amakusa City, Kumamoto Prefecture


Bronze cylinder and wooden crucifix
Ibaraki City, Osaka Prefecture

メダイ 表・裏

Medal (front and back)
Amakusa Christian Museum in Amakusa City, Kumamoto Prefecture

Outline of the Proposed Composition of the Illustrated Reference Book

  1. ローマ法王メッセージ。
  2. 上智大学、東京国立博物館、長崎歴史博物館、澤田美喜記念館、島原城キリシタン史料館、日本二十六聖人記念館、平戸市切支丹資料館、茨木市立キリシタン遺物史料館などが所蔵する日本各地の遺物・文化財・史料などを中心におよそ1,500点を図譜に収録、解説を付記。
  3. 小史「日本におけるキリスト教(キリシタン)」。
  4. 解説「潜伏キリシタン・隠れキリシタン・復活とはなれ」。
  5. 世界遺産登録を目指す長崎市 佐世保市 平戸市 五島市 南島原市 小値賀町 新上五島町 天草市の教会群など。
  6. キリシタン大名の素顔とその周辺(高山右近、大村純忠、有馬晴信、支倉常長など)
  1. Message from the Pope

  2. Approximately 1,500 items consisting mainly of relics, cultural assets and historical documents in various locations around Japan will be included in the Illustrated Reference Book with commentaries. The items are owned by Sophia University, Tokyo National Museum, Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture, Miki Sawada Memorial Museum, Shimabara Castle Christian Archives Museum, Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum, Hirado Kirishitan Museum, Ibaraki Municipal Christian Heritage Museum and others.

  3. Short history on “Christianity (Christians) in Japan.”

  4. Commentary on “Senpuku Kirishitan (Underground Christians), Kakure Kirishitan (Hidden Christians), Revival and Isolation.”

  5. Churches and Christian sites in Nagasaki City, Sasebo City, Hirado City, Goto City, Minamishimabara City, Ojika-cho, Shinkamigoto-cho and Amakusa City, which are nominated for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage.

  6. Profiles of Christian daimyo (feudal lords) and the people around them (Takayama Ukon, Omura Sumitada, Arima Harunobu, Hasekura Tsunenaga, etc.)

マリア十五玄義図(東家本) 大阪府茨木市
“The Madonna and Her Fifteen Mysteries”/Higashi family version
Ibaraki City, Osaka Prefecture

ロレート聖母子像 大阪府茨木市
“The Madonna of Loreto”
Ibaraki City, Osaka Prefecture


Introduction of the relics discovered in the process of compiling the Illustrated Reference Book. Reexamination of the relics included in the Illustrated Reference Book. Display of historical documents (materials) discovered or included in the Illustrated Reference Book
Amakusa, Tokyo, Nagasaki, Kyoto, Sendai, Hokkaido
To be held in order from October 2017 to November 2018.

Hidden Christians Illustrated Reference Book Project Members (tentative)

会長 President

Toshiaki Koso (Chancellor of Sophia University) [Publisher]

副会長 Vice President

Genjiro Ito (Professor at Seisa University) [Editor in Chief]
Kagefumi Ueno (former Ambassador to the Holy See) [in charge of public relations]

委員 Members

Hajime Inoue (President of Seisa University)
Masao Ogawa (former Director of the Miki Sawada Memorial Museum)
Rumiko Kataoka (President of Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University)
Seiichi Kondo (former Ambassador to UNESCO,former Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs)
Mitsuaki Takami (Archbishop of Nagasaki)
Renzo de Luca (former Director of the Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum)
長﨑輝章(前駐バチカン大使 東京外国語大学特任教授)
Teruaki Nagasaki (previous Ambassador to the Holy See, specially-appointed professor at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
濱口敏行(ヒゲタ醤油株式会社 代表取締役)
Toshiyuki Hamaguchi (President of Higeta Shoyu Co. Ltd.)
Pedro Canavarro (former professor at Universidade de Lisboa, Chairman of Fundação Passos Canavarro)
Manyo Maeda (Archbishop of Osaka)
Ryoji Miyahara (Bishop of Fukuoka)
村田興文(インナーブレイン株式会社 代表取締役)
Okifumi Murata (President of Innerbrain, KK)
Tetsuo Yamaori (Philosophers of religion)
Toru Yamashita (extraordinary Ambassador to The Vatican Apostolic Library)

*50音順 In Japanese alphabetical order

編集委員Editorial Committee Members

Genjiro Ito (Professor, Seisa University)
Kagefumi Ueno (Specially-Appointed Professor at Kyorin University, former Ambassador to the Holy See)
小川早百合(聖心女子大学 国際交流学科教授)
Sayuri Ogawa (Professor of Comparative Culture at the University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo)
Kazutoshi Kakimori (Akogi Kakure Kirishitan no Sato <Akogi Village of Hidden Christians>)
Rumiko Kataoka (President of Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University)
Masao Kume (Affiliate Professor at the Osaka University of Arts)
Toshiaki Koso (Chancellor of Sophia University)
Takashi Gonoi (Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo)
濱田直嗣(宮城県慶長使節船ミュージアム館長 元仙台市博物館長)
Naotsugu Hamada (Director of the Sant Juan Bautista Museum in Miyagi Prefecture, former Director of the Sendai City Museum)
Toyohiro Hirata (Amakusa City World Heritage Promotion Office)
Michitaka Yamaguchi (parish priest in Yokohama)

*50音順 In Japanese alphabetical order


協力(予定) Cooperation (tentative)

Nagasaki Prefecture, Kumamoto Prefecture, Nagasaki City, Sasebo City, Hirado City, Goto City, Minamishimabara City, Ojika-cho, Shinkamigoto-cho, Amakusa City, Ibaraki City, Oiso-machi, Tokyo National Museum, Kyoto University, Sophia University, Seisa University


NTT DATA Corporation
Mitsubishi Corporation


潜伏キリシタン図譜プロジェクトは公益社団法人企業メセナ協議会の「2021 芸術・文化による社会創造ファンド(2021Arts Fund)」に採択されました。これにより企業メセナ協議会を通じた本プロジェクトへの寄付金が税制上の優遇措置(寄付金控除)の対象となります。潜伏キリシタン図譜プロジェクト実行委員会事務局までご連絡いただくか、企業メセナ協議会のホームページより直接お手続きください。皆様のご支援・ご協賛をお願い申し上げます。


サンファン館 石巻市澤田美喜記念館 大磯町キリシタン遺物史料館 茨木市天草キリシタン館