Kirishitan Kosatsu

One large & thick wooden board (800 x 370 x 25 mm.), issued by a Bugyo (magistrate), with characters written in black ink (some characters faded but still legible).

Stating in an approximate & abbreviated translation: “Regulation. If anyone knows of Christian disciples, already banned, please report to the Government. Rewards are as below: Padre (bateren): 500 pieces of silver coin. Priests (iruman): 300 pieces of silver coin. Christian disciples: 300 pieces of silver coin. Anyone knowingly living with a Christian: 100 pieces of silver coin. If a family member identifies a Christian within his family, the reward is 500 pieces of silver coin. Anyone identified as having hidden a Christian will bear responsibility along with his landlord and his five-person unit (goningumi). May 1711.” With the name at end in brush and ink: “Yoshitaro.” [Japan]: May 1711.

This kosatsu (official bulletin board) provides an important historical reminder of the extraordinary risks to communities suspected of faith in Christ during the long era of the Kakure Kirishitan (Hidden Christians) in Japan. The communal — not just individual — risk was enormous. Authorities in every city displayed kosatsu in public spaces — mounted on a pole, hung at village government sites (of which ours shows evidence), or secured to a bigger structure located in strategic areas (crossroads, vicinity of bridges, harbors, etc.). They were generally inscribed with regulations, edicts, and notices.

While the ink is occasionally faded, the characters are absolutely legible. In fine condition. One crack in the wooden board. One can see three holes along the top edge where hooks for hanging were once inserted.

Price: $5,500.00

Item ID: 6755

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