Samurai X: Shogo Amakusa the Anti-Christ

In 1542, the first Christian missionaries arrived from Portugal in Japan.  The only religious orders that were allowed were the Jesuits, primarily because of the esteem by the Japanese barons (daimyos)  for St. Francis Xavier, who reached Japan in 1549.  When the Franciscans came, 26 of them were executed in 1597 (Japan Guide).  From 1603 to 1867, the Edo Era under the Tokugawa dynasty, the Christians were persecuted.  One of these is our first Filipino saint, St. Lorenzo Ruiz, who died in 1637 by hanging in the pit (after his water-filled belly was rolled by a barrel and his fingernails were replaced with needles).  His last words were: “Even if I have a thousand lives, I will give them all to God.”  Because of failing economy due to protectionism, the Edo Era ended.  In the succeeding Meiji Restoration (1868-1912), a constitutional government was made with the emperor as the head.  One of the reforms in this restoration is the freedom of religion.  At last, Christianity can once again be practiced without fear of persecution.

The Samurai X anime series is situated at the end of the Tokugawa Era and the beginning of the Meiji Restoration.  Kenshin Himura, the Battousai or the Slasher, was once an assassin for hire.  He mastered the sword style called Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu (Flying Heaven Honorable Sword Style) taught by his teacher,  Seijuro.  This technique is only handed down from one teacher to one student only, and the final test is for the student to defeat the master using the technique called Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki.  One student who failed in this test is Hyoue.   He nearly died.  But he lived and taught it to a child prodigy named Shogo Amakusa.

Shogo is a Christian and he saw how his parents died in Shimabara during the Tokugawa persecution.  And as he sailed away to escape, looking at the rows of crucified men along the cliff, he vowed to return and defend Christianity.  On his return to Shimabara at the age of 24, he styled  himself as the “Son of God”, and coincided his coming with the eclipse of the sun.  As his boat passed through the waters to Shimabara, the waters burst into flames, forming not the sign of the cross † but the sign of a C and its reflection connected by a horizontal bar: ⊃-⊂.

Shogo and his followers have ceased to be Christians, but their practices have vestiges of Christianity.  In the cave they prayed something similar to the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who love God; He will lead them to God’s country.”  This is similar to “Blessed are the meek; they shall inherit the earth.”  They have a Mary figure, Shogo’s sister, the Lady Magdalia, the ever-virgin.  They also have a church—probably underground—with a single circular stained glass window.  The altar is attached to the wall with six candlesticks burning—perfect setting for the traditional latin mass.  But they have no priests.  This is the law of entropy and devolution: “Leave a village without a priest for fifty years and the people shall worship rocks and trees” (said by the Cure d’Ars, if I am not mistaken).  This is what happenned to the Israelites when Moses went to Mt. Sinai to get the Ten Commandments: they made a golden calf and worshiped it as their god and savior.  And this is what happened to villagers of Shimabara:  they worshiped Shogo as god.  (See the trailer here.  Note the Christian elements.)

Shogo is an Anti-Christ.  Shogo aims to establish a kingdom on earth; Jesus told Pilate that his kingdom does not belong in this world.  Shogo blinds a man using his Rai-Ryu Sen;  Jesus cures a man born blind.  Shogo displays his divinity by his unbelievable swordsmanship; Jesus told Peter to put his sword back.  And as a twist of fate, it was the Pagan Kenshin Himura who acted more Christ-like: he read Shogo’s heart and he refused to use his ultimate sword technique of Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki to defend himself against Shogo, in order that by this deed Shogo will realize that “a sword is not for killing but for protecting people”—Kenshin’s motto (c.f. “to protect what is valuable” as Yeon Soha said in the Shadowless Sword).  In his dismay and anger, Shogo punished Kenshin with “a punishment much worse than death: eternal darkness!”  And the blinded Kenshin fell from the cliff into the sea.  (See the battle between Kenshin and Shogo in here.)

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About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

One Response to Samurai X: Shogo Amakusa the Anti-Christ

  1. Frances says:

    Thanks for the Information, well this one helps me a lot in understanding the story behind the anime “samurai X”

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