Came To Ancient Japan
Many of the traditional ceremonies in Japan seem to indicate that the
Lost Tribes of Israel came to ancient Japan.
Ark of the covenant of Israel (left) and "Omikoshi" ark of Japan (right)
In Nagano prefecture, Japan, there is a large Shinto shrine named "Suwa-Taisha"
(Shinto is the national traditional religion peculiar to Japan.)
At Suwa-Taisha, the traditional festival called "Ontohsai" is held on
April 15 every year (When the Japanese used the lunar calendar it was
March-April). This festival illustrates the story of Isaac in chapter
22 of Genesis in the Bible - when Abraham was about to sacrifice his
own son, Isaac. The "Ontohsai" festival, held since ancient days, is
judged to be the most important festival of "Suwa-Taisha."
The "Suwa-Taisha" shrine
At the back of the shrine "Suwa-Taisha," there is a mountain called
Mt. Moriya ("Moriya-san" in Japanese). The people from the Suwa area
call the god of Mt. Moriya "Moriya no kami," which means, the "god of
Moriya." This shrine is built to worship the "god of Moriya."
At the festival, a boy is tied up by a rope to a wooden pillar, and
placed on a bamboo carpet. A Shinto priest comes to him preparing a
knife, and he cuts a part of the top of the wooden pillar, but then
a messenger (another priest) comes there, and the boy is released. This
is reminiscent of the Biblical story in which Isaac was released after
an angel came to Abraham.
The knife and sword used in the "Ontohsai" festival
At this festival, animal sacrifices are also offered. 75 deer are sacrificed,
but among them it is believed that there is a deer with its ear split.
The deer is considered to be the one God prepared. It could have had
some connection with the ram that God prepared and was sacrificed after
Isaac was released. Since the ram was caught in the thicket by the horns,
the ear might have been split.
In ancient time of Japan there were no sheep and it might be the reason
why they used deer (deer is Kosher). Even in historic times, people
thought that this custom of deer sacrifice was strange, because animal
sacrifice is not a Shinto tradition.
My friend went to Israel and saw a Passover festival on Mt. Gerizim
in Samaria. He asked a Samaritan priest how many rams were offered.
The priest answered that they used to offer 75. This may have a connection
with the 75 deer which were offered at Suwa-Taisha shrine in Japan.
Abraham and Isaac
People call this festival "the festival for Misakuchi-god". "Misakuchi"
might be "mi-isaku-chi." "Mi" means "great," "isaku" is most likely
Isaac (the Hebrew word "Yitzhak"), and "chi" is something for the end
of the word. It seems that the people of Suwa made Isaac a god, probably
by the influence of idol worshipers.
Today, this custom of the boy about to be sacrificed and then released,
is no longer practiced, but we can still see the custom of the wooden
pillar called "oniye-basira," which means, "sacrifice-pillar."
The "oniye-bashira" on which the boy is supposed to be tied up
Currently, people use stuffed animals instead of performing a real animal
sacrifice. Tying a boy along with animal sacrifice was regarded as savage
by people of the Meiji-era (about 100 years ago), and those customs
were discontinued. However, the festival itself still remains.
The custom of the boy had been maintained until the beginning of Meiji
era. Masumi Sugae, who was a Japanese scholar and a travel writer in
the Edo era (about 200 years ago), wrote a record of his travels and
noted what he saw at Suwa. The record shows the details of "Ontohsai."
It tells that the custom of the boy about to be sacrificed and his ultimate
release, as well as animal sacrifices that existed those days. His records
are kept at the museum near Suwa-Taisha.
The festival of "Ontohsai" has been maintained by the Moriya family
ever since ancient times. The Moriya family think of "Moriya-no-kami"
(god of Moriya) as their ancestor's god. They also consider "Mt. Moriya"
as their holy place. The name, "Moriya," could have come from "Moriah"
(the Hebrew word "Moriyyah") of Genesis 22:2, that is today's Temple
Mount of Jerusalem. Among Jews, God of Moriah means the one true God
whom the Bible teaches.
The Moriya family have been hosting the festival for 78 generations.
And the curator of the museum said to me that the faith in the god of
Moriya had existed among the people since the time of B.C.E.
Apparently, no other country but Japan has a festival illustrating the
biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. This tradition appears to provide
strong evidence that the ancient Israelites came to ancient Japan.
Japanese Religious Priests "Yamabushi" Put A Black Box on their Foreheads
Just As Jews Put A Phylactery on their Foreheads.
"Yamabushi" is a religious man in training unique to Japan. Today, they
are thought to belong to Japanese Buddhism. However, Buddhism in China,
Korea and India have no such custom. The custom of "yamabushi" existed
in Japan before Buddhism was imported into Japan in the seventh century.
On the forehead of "Yamabushi," he puts a black small box called a "tokin",
which is tied to his head with a black cord. He greatly resembles a
Jew putting on a phylactery (black box) on his forehead with a black
cord. The size of this black box "tokin" is almost the same as the Jewish
phylactery, but its shape is round and flower-like.
A "yamabushi" with a "tokin" blowing a horn
the Jewish phylactery placed on the forehead seems to have come from
the forehead "plate" put on the high priest Aaron with a cord (Exodus
28:36-38). It was about 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) in size according
to folklore, and some scholars maintain that it was flower-shaped. If
so, it was very similar to the shape of the Japanese "tokin" worn by
A Jew with a phylactery blowing a shofar
Israel and Japan are the only two countries that in the world I know
of that use of the black forehead box for religious purpose.
Furthermore, the "yamabushi" use a big seashell as a horn. This is very
similar to Jews blowing a shofar or ram's horn. The way it is blown
and the sounds of the "yamabushi's" horn are very similar to those of
a shofar. Because there are no sheep in Japan, the "yamabushi" had to
use seashell horns instead of rams' horns.
"Yamabushis" are people who regard mountains as their holy places for
religious training. The Israelites also regarded mountains as their
holy places. The Ten Commandments of the Torah were given on Mt. Sinai.
Jerusalem is a city on a mountain.
In Japan, there is the legend of "Tengu" who lives on a mountain and
has the figure of a "yamabushi". He has a pronounced nose and supernatural
capabilities. A "ninja", who was an agent or spy in the old days, while
working for his lord, goes to "Tengu" at the mountain to get from him
supernatural abilities. "Tengu" gives him a "tora-no-maki" (a scroll
of the "tora") after giving him additional powers. This "scroll of the
tora" is regarded as a very important book which is helpful for any
crisis. Japanese use this word sometimes in their current lives.
There is no knowledge that a real scroll of a Jewish Torah was ever
found in a Japanese historical site. However, it appears this "scroll
of the tora" is a derivation of the Jewish Torah.
Ten Tribes in Japan - Part 2
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