Religion and Beliefs
This article highlights the singularity of the most salient features of the Ohatsuhoage ritual event that constitutes one of the most persistent and deeply ingrained aspects of Kakure Kirishitan survivors in Nagasaki. By bringing together these significant characteristics from the lived religious experiences of three Kakure Kirishitan communities, I attempt to forge a significant positive correlation between the corporate identities and ritual resources that the material gives evidence to. The synthesis demonstrates that the ritually-prepared communal meal—Ohatsuhoage—constitutes a stable part of Kakure Kirishitan dominant ideology in which its followers critically take up membership in and identity with the divine and human community. Intriguingly, its core elements conspire together to signal, shape, and heighten collective self-definition, psycho-religious imagination, cherished memories and emotions, while also grounding their identity formats and adaptation processes. The analysis reinforces the startling assumption that the Ohatsuhoage ritual event continues to be, for the most part of the actor-participants, an historical and valuable religious activity deemed important enough to maintain their minimal survival in urban settings. In general, therefore, this study provides a refined interpretative tool for further understanding how the Ohatsuhoage ritual activity has increasingly proved to be a definitive component of the various processes that ultimately enables Kakure Kirishitan survivors to be nurtured by the strands of their longstanding spirituality and religion in the flux of social change.