Monday, June 12, 2006

It's official: the Japanese are the oddest culture ever.

Treasure hunters attracted to Japan's legendary Holy Grail

The military standard used by 17th century Japanese Christian Amagusa Shiro during a
Christian rebellion against the Shogun is preserved in Kumamoto's Amagusa Kurisuchian
Museum in Hondo, Kumamoto Prefecture.

"This standard is, along with the standard of the Western European crusaders and the flag of
Joan of Arc, regarded as one of the three great flags of Christendom. The Holy Grail is in the
center of the flag, while above it is bread to symbolize the body of Christ. Written on the flag is the Latin acronym INRI (Iesus Nazarenus Indaeorum -- Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews)," a Kumamoto historian tells Weekly Playboy, which says that Amagusa Shiro's
decision to use the Holy Grail as his standard entitles him to claim to be the direct descendant of Christ."

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"Christian samurai duped people into believing Shiro was the Second Coming. They told
people he could walk on water from one island to another. They also said that all he needed to do was extend his arm and a dove would fly down and lay an egg in his palm. Breaking the egg open would reveal a Christian scripture. The Christian samurai who organized the Shimabara Rebellion used Shiro by claiming he was the Messiah and getting ordinary folk to join their fight," the historian says. Though Amagusa Shiro was also cut down in the rebellion, he left plenty of mystery in his wake."

Then, further down, there's this gem from December '03:

Redoubted Rising Son true raider of the lost ark

"Despite being firmly entrenched in the Buddhist and Shinto camps, Japan claims a number of biblical ties, such as being home to one of the lost tribes of Israel and the site of Jesus Christ's grave in a small town in Aomori Prefecture, so the idea of the lost ark being in the Land of the Rising Sun isn't as outlandish as it seems."

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Takane's theory has it that the Gospels say God denoted lions, oxen, eagles and humans as four symbols of His glory, while the mythical creation of Japan outlined in the Kojiki notes that Shikoku, which literally translates as "four countries," was said to have four faces. Tsurugizan, as the most sacred mountain on Shikoku, was thus the logical hiding place for the ark that symbolized God's glory, according to Takane, anyway.

Takane's son, Mitsunori, the head of an academic society devoted to studying Tsurugizan, argues in his book "Alexander the Great Died in Japan," that the Macedonian marvel didn't die in 326 BC as is generally presumed, but instead faked his demise and headed to Japan, where he became the Emperor who founded Shikoku.

Alexander the Emperor ordered Tajima-mori, another legendary figure in the Japanese Creation myth, to Jerusalem. Tajima-mori spent 12 years in Israel, returning to his homeland with the Ark of the Covenant, which he hid in Tsurugizan.

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"Japan is one of the few places throughout the world where shrines are carried around in public and some say the practice came from having seen the Jews carrying the ark with them on their Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Giving the Japanese propensity for adaptation, some say the theory has plenty of plausibility."

I love the Japanese. They're so adorable. Even if they are, like I said, the oddest culture around.


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