October 25, 2015

1984, 1985 JAPAN (Kyūshū) - Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

1984 Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki - Ōura Church

Christianity was introduced in Japan by Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier in 1549 and spread rapidly in the western part of the nation. The Jesuits established their mission base in Nagasaki, where a port of foreign trade with Portugal was developed. The city of Nagasaki played an important role as a key base for the missionary work in Japan. Churches and Christian culture flourished here, and the Young Delegates of Tenshō set off from Nagasaki in 1582 for Europe, where they had an audience with the Pope.

1985 Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki -
Monument of the 26 Martyrs

With the Tokugawa shogunate's anti-Christian policy which banned the religion, Christianity was severely suppressed, resulting in the revolt against the regime in 1637. During the prohibition on Christianity, adherents moved to remote islets and islands where they passed down from generation to generation the traditions of baptism and orasho (the prayers and hymns originally taught by the Jesuit missionaries and passed down orally) and continued in their faith until the ban was lifted in the Meiji period (1868-1912).

Nagasaki Prefecture and the surrounding area are home to many churches built after the long period of suppression. These Christian churches are considered as excellent examples of the quality structural design resulting from the fusion of the Western architectural techniques brought by the foreign priests and Japan's traditional architectural techniques. The churches form particular cultural landscapes, associated with distinctive natural settings surrounding them.

Built soon after the end of the Japanese government's Seclusion Policy in 1853, Ōura Church is also known as the Church of the 26 Japanese Martyrs (executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597, at Nagasaki). Finished in 1864, was originally a small wooden church with three aisles and three octagonal towers. The present structure is a much larger Gothic basilica that dates from around 1879. This version was built of white stuccoed brick with five aisles, vaulted ceilings, and one octagonal tower.

About the stamps
On the postcard 1984
The first stamp, depicting "Secret Horse" Straw Toy, from Iwate Prefecture, was issued on January 20, 1966, to celebrate the Year of the Horse. The second stamp, depicting Snake Straw Toy, was issued in 1965, to celebrate the Year of the Snake. About the last stamp I don't know anything.

On the postcard 1985 
The first stamp, depicting bullet train, was issued in 1964. The second and the third stamp, depicting Short-tailed Albatross (Diomedea albatrus) and Bonin White-eye (Apalopteron familiare), are part of the series Nature Conservation, issued on January 16, 1975. The last stamp, A Balloon Rising, was issued on April 20, 1972, to mark the philatelic week.

References
Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki - Wikipedia
Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki - UNESCO official website

Sender 1984, 1985: Akiko Watanabe (direct swap)
Sent from Kitakyūshū (Kyūshū / Japan), on 09.10.2015

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