About Otometoge & Maria Seido Chapel:
The original Jesuit missionaries arrived from Portugal in 1542 were welcomed by the rulers of Japan…they brought with them gunpowder and other modern advances. They also brought with them a new religion: Christianity..specifically Catholic Christianity. Eventually, however, the new religion was banned during the Edo period, 1603-1867 and severe penalties were exacted to anyone practicing Christianity.
Some Christians continued to practice the faith in secret. The Meiji Restoration in 1867 gave them the mistaken belief that the ban on Christianity had been lifted and so they made their faith known publicly. This resulted in their immediate arrest and banishment to other parts of the country in an attempt to get them to abandon their religion. When they refused to give up the Christian faith they were tortured, starved to death and killed.
The Otome Toge Maria Chapel was built in 1951 in memory of those Christians, mostly from Nagasaki, who were forcibly relocated during the persecutions to various remote parts of Japan in an effort to get them to abandon their religion. Tsuwano was one of those places.
Winter came and they were often locked up in small cages and subjected to harassment to persuade them to renounce Christianity. One young man, 30-year-old Yasutaro, was locked in a cage shortly after the death of the first three Christians. His companions feared for his life, knowing that he had been sharing his food with others, and as result was very weak. Despite this, he seemed incredibly happy….and reported that the Blessed Virgin Mary had been appearing to him every night. He told some of his companions “Every night, a beautiful lady comes here and tells me wonderful things. She is dressed in blue and looks like the statue of Mary in our church in Nagasaki. But please, do not say anything to the others until I am dead.” When asked what they should tell his mother, Yasutaro, smiling replied: “Tell her I’m happy to die here. I am on the cross with our Lord, Jesus Christ.” He died that same night. You will find a cage with his statue in it here at the site.
Traveling to Maria Seido Chapel:
Address: 699-5605, Tsudano-cho Goda, Tsukano- gun , Shimane Prefecture 66-7
Tel: +81 (0856) 72-0251 Fax: +81 (0856) 72-0282