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(hidden Christians – in Japan)
A Japanese Christian sect, now nearly extinct, whose members practiced their faith in secret in Japan after the authorities no longer tolerated Christianity.  Kirishitans absorbed elements of  Buddhist practices and ancestor worship. Tsarak, one of the dealers  at the New York Arts of Pacific Asia Show offered a seventeenth century iron crucifix with Jesus portrayed as a seated Buddha-like figure.
Kirishitan, from the Portuguese cristao, Christian) relates specifically to the Roman Catholic missionaries and converts in 16th and 17th century Japan. The Portuguese traders arrived in 1543, Francis Xavier in 1549, hundreds of thousands were converted by the Jesuits and the Franciscans,  and eventually this played a role in  Japan’s policy of excluding from foreign trade everybody but the Dutch (confined to the Island of Deshima),  Koreans and Chinese. Shoguns and daimyos used the conflict between Christianity and Buddhism, between Franciscans and Jesuits and between the Spanish and Portuguese  for political gain.
On the Shunkoin Temple website I found these images. It explained  that the Kirishitans cleverly disguised their crosses and symbols as Buddhist figures, in this case on a Japanese lantern.
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