Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kindness of Strangers, Part 3



At the fork at the back of the high school, I headed up the stairs.  About 60 feet back, there's a stone cenotaph to the left with some carvings in the wall behind, and a little trail to the right that goes behind the Fukushoji ruins past a whole new set of statues and gravestones.






(Carving in the wall behind the cenotaph.)


(Along the right trail behind the Fukushoji ruins.)





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"Christian Cemetery
When the Meiji Government recommenced the repression of Christianity and worshippers fled Uragami (Nagasaki) to twenty different clans. In 1870, 375 came to Kagoshima and stayed here in Fukushoji. Although 53 of them passed away before being allowed to return to Nagasaki in 1873, it is said that the Christians were treated well here. In 1905, Father Emile Raguet brought their remains to this cemetery and had a magnificient memorial gravestone erected. It was Fukushoji that, three centuries earlier, Francisco Xavier and the 15th priest, Ninshitsu, had held friendly discussions concerning missionary work."

The cemetery is in a wide, shaded area about a third of the way up the hill.  It's really just the memorial marker, a stone block marked "Christian grave", and a larger stone block with the cross carved on top.



As I was looking around, a group of school boys wearing baseball uniforms walked up the steps and continued up the path to disappear uphill.  They were all friendly, and greeted me with something that sounded like "bosu".  No idea if this was a local dialect, or if they were just insulting me while smiling.  I followed them up the stairs, and came out behind a school practice field at the top of the hill.



The school could be seen on another hill at the other side of the field.  Nothing else here, so I went back down. Some of the trail was rough enough that I kept stubbing my left foot, which seemed counter to the idea of strengthening it up along the walk.





(The front of the main high school at the bottom of the hill, looking at the hill in the back where the Christian cemetery is located, and the baseball field at the top.)

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