90415-0019 - Takabokojima Island

Japanese junks sail nearby Takabokojima Island, Nagasaki. On the foreground is Kaminoshima. The small farms feature fields reaching the edge of the waterfront. Villages like these, often including “kami” (God), were the homes of underground Christians (Kakure Kirishitan).

Takabokojima Island was also known as Papenberg (パーペンベルグ). “Papen” is a mildly derogatory Dutch word for Catholics, “berg” means mountain. It got this name because it was mistakenly believed that early Japanese Christians were martyred here during the Edo period.

More probable is that the (Protestant) Dutch called the island by this name because they observed the ships of (Catholic) Portuguese at anchor at this place.

Authors: Kjeld Duits

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