Goto Islands

Goto IslandsThe Goto Islands are off the west cost of Kyushu in the East China Sea. The island chain served as a refuge for many Sempuku Kirishitan. In 1797, Christians hiding in part of Nagasaki fled to the Goto Islands. The crackdown after the Shimabara rebellion, along with increasing persecutions, prompted many others to flee to these islandsĀ as well. The remoteness of the islands allowed for Christians to escape the watchful eye of government officials.

Even with persecutions on the islands, the Christians lasted generation after generation. The distance from highly populated areas is a common trait in the areas as Sempuku and Kakure Kirishitans were able to remain hidden and to survive while holding onto their traditions.

The many Catholic churches on Goto commemorate the Sempuku and Kakure Kirishitan struggles. Like Tsuwano, Goto had Christian prisons where many people were tortured and died. Many children died in the prisons because of the horrid conditions.