Of Kami and Buddhas: Domo, er….Shalom?

The Old Testament concerns itself, largely, with the story of the interaction between the 12 tribes of Israel and their God.  This is oversimplifying the matter, but when the Assyrian Empire conquered Israel, ten of the twelve tribes of Israel were lost to history.  Today, we refer to these tribes as the “Ten Lost Tribes.”

Recent scholarship and speculation has led many to believe that perhaps one or more of the tribes scattered to the east; some may have ended up in Japan. 

That’s right – many Japanese people may be of Jewish descent.

I came across a video from an investigative Japanese television program.  If you’ve ever seen Asian programs of this sort, they’re terribly entertaining, but must be taken with a grain of salt.  “Oooohs” and “aaaaahs” often cover a lack of hard evidence.  Such is the case with the following videos.  They make connections between the Israelites and Japanese based on a number of similarities, including:

  • language (a Rabbi seems to connect the name for Mount Moriya to Mount Moriah)
  • festivals (Gion Festival = Zion Festival)
  • symbolism
  • artwork (including that of Rebecca and Isaac)
  • vocabulary (500 Japanese and Hebrew words are extremely similar in sound and meaning)
  • customs

The video prominently features a leading scholar in this debate, Arimasa Kubo. It also focuses on belief that the lost Ark of the Convenant may be hidden in a mountain on Japan.  What a find that would be!  Cue the Indiana Jones theme (which, in fact, the video does).  In one part, we see the differences in interpretation depending on cultures, as the ark is called a “portable shrine.”

Links to the videos are below:

Japanese are Jewish? Part 2
Japanese are Jewish? Part 3


For more reading, check out the following pages:

Lost Tribes of Japan
This site presents a number of interesting connections between the two cultures.

The Japanese Are Not Hebrews!
This is page on the Brit-Am site, which discusses the Ten Tribes of Israel.  This particular page refutes the evidence given by others, while explaining that another Semitic people may be connected with Japan.


2 thoughts on “Of Kami and Buddhas: Domo, er….Shalom?

  1. In Japan, the Sukyo Mahikari also claim ties to ancient Israel and Jesus Christ. When I was in Takayama I was made aware of the Sukyo Mahikari Golden temple. The person I was with made it plain that the rest of the town doesn’t go along with them. They king of remind me of Mormonism and its revisionist view of biblical history. I feel The Book of Mormon is the first alternate history novel based on the Kings James Version of the Bible. Believe it or not, the Book of Mormon is a very good read.

    1. That’s really interesting…thank you for adding that. Yay – new thing to research!

      Ya know, I’ve always wanted to read the Book of Mormom, particularly since I always saw it available for free growing up through all those commercials the LDS put on TV. My mom, I’m sure, wouldn’t have let me order it – she was worried enough about my faith as it was. 😛

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