» 06/10/2014 JAPAN Nagasaki, government launches website to "rediscover" Japanese Christians The local prefecture publishes oratio.jp, which includes the history and traditions of the Catholics in the area., the Archbishop Mgr. Takami tells AsiaNews: "It 'a choice of an economic nature which the Church must transform into a new opportunity for evangelization. We hope that the Pope's love for Japan will help us in our mission within our own society."
Nagasaki (AsiaNews) - The Japanese government's decision to advertise the
presence of Christians in Nagasaki "is about the economy and tourism. It is to promote awareness of the historical sites
connected with the Church. It has
nothing to do with faith, but it is an excellent opportunity for the
evangelization of the country. We really have to take advantage of this", says
Msgr. Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, the Archbishop of Nagasaki, commenting on the new
website launched by the local government to raise awareness of Japanese
The site is called www.oratio.jp and
thus far is only available in Japanese: versions will soon be published in both
English and Korean. The purpose - admittedly - is to gain UNESCO "World
Heritage" recognition for the churches and castles in the area by 2016.
Built between the 16th and the 19th century, the 13 sites proposed to the UN
also include Oura Cathedral, where Christians
who had survived government persecution "reappeared".
According to a government official, "we placed
emphasis on introducing the story of Christianity through the churches as
places of prayer and in the manner in which people express their religious
beliefs". In this site you will find 150 articles written by experts and
residents of the area, which include the history of the churches and tourist
attractions associated with them.
In this context Pope Francis' love for Japan and the
recent visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Vatican are
certainly helpful: "The interest that the pontiff has for our country is
moving and important. We need to take advantage of this historic moment of the
Church, in which even Japanese society is interested in Catholics, to clarify
our mission and explain the Church's presence in Japan".