Discover Local Culture, History, and Japan’s Hidden Christians
Beyond the natural beauty of Fukue, visitors can come to the island to explore a lesser-known aspect of Japanese history. The Edo Period of Japan (1603-1868) is best known for Shogun, samurai, and being one of the longest eras of peace in Japanese history. However, it was also a period of intense persecution for Japanese Christians. Although the persecution had begun before the Edo era, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu formally expelled the Portuguese Jesuits from Japan in 1612 and declared Christianity illegal. Those found to practice Christianity were imprisoned, tortured, and murdered, often along with their families or entire villages. Fearing for their own lives and those of their loved ones, many Japanese Christians chose to go into hiding, practicing their faith in secret and fleeing areas where Christianity was once prevalent.