Everybody loves a happy endingAccording to the town, Jesus was never crucified on a cross. Instead, his brother "casually" took his place and Jesus escaped. Jesus traveled around a little before settling in sleepy Shingo village. He became a rice farmer, got married and had a family. He lived to the ripe old age of 106.
Local farmer Sajiro Sawaguchi (who owns the land where the grave is located) says he found ancient Hebrew documents written by Jesus himself in the 1930s. According to him, the documents were confiscated by the government before WWII and were likely destroyed in the firebombings of Tokyo.
Local rumors take the legend further — suggesting that Sajiro Sawaguchi is a descendant of Jesus. The Sawaguchi family has never made such a claim themselves. The family is Buddhist and don't seem interested in Christianity whatsoever.
(Photo: the grave in the foreground is supposedly the grave of Christ, the grave in the background is said to contain the ear of Jesus' brother)
There are several prayers to Jesus written in Japanese at the site.
A plaque indicating a friendship exists between the town and Jerusalem.
Several media organizations have asked town leaders if they worry about offending Christians with their wild claims. The town says it's only a interesting legend and people can choose to believe what they want.
Whatever people believe — the legend has boosted tourism to the area.