During the height of the Tokugawa dynasty in 17th century Japan,
Christianity, which had reached an alarming popularity, was outlawed. The
shoguns feared that this foreign influence was the forerunner to conquest by the
West and that, left unchecked, it would cause the destruction of Japan. All
Christians and their families, even their friends and associates, were sought
out and mercilessly killed by torture as traitors. But the authorities soon
learned that the Christians were clever. They met in secret places. They did not
at all mind dying for Christ. They continued to grow in numbers, despite all
systematic and persistent efforts, until it became apparent that a new and more
effective device to stop them had to be invented.
In Nagasaki there lived a young sculptor, a professed non-Christian. The only
man in Japan who knew how to cast in bronze. It was he the government officials
chose to help them in their diabolical plan. Would he make for them a bronze
cast of Christ, durable, life like, which they would use to trap Christians?
They would lay this image of the Christians’ God down in a public street and
force all passers-by to grind it under their feet. Those who refused – no
torture would be spared them.