Japanese Jewish Connection?

Japanese Tefillin?
Japanese Tefillin?

It seems like a long shot, but there may have been some kind of Japanese Jewish or Japanese Israelite connection in ancient times. The fact is that in the Nagano prefecture, on the island of Honshu, there is a a mountain called “Mount Moriya”, as in the Biblical “Mount Moriah”. The locals believe that there is a god associated with this mountain. Even more interesting, every year the story of the near sacrifice of Isaac on Israel’s Mount Moriah told in Chapter 22 of Genesis is reenacted. This is part of a Shinto ritual. Shintoism is the traditional religion unique to Japan. During the festival, a boy is tied up to a wooden pillar and a Shinto priest comes to him with a knife, as if ready to sacrifice him. But then, as in the Bible, a messenger comes (another priest) and stops his knife wielding colleague. The boy is then released, and animals are sacrificed in his stead. The people call this festival “Mi-isaku-chi” which may be a play on the Hebrew “Itzhak” i.e., “Isaac”.

There’s more. I’m not aware of any people other than the Japanese and the Jews who wear phylacteries (small boxes called “tefillin” in Hebrew, “tokim” in Japanese) on their heads during religious rituals. Also, there seem to be some new moon celebrations in Japan, complete with torch lighting as in ancient Israel. And, finally, in Kyoto prefecture, there is a shrine that uses the Star of David as its symbol.


For more on all this, check out this link: and this link:

The following video is not very academically sound, but is fun and suggestive:

About the Author
Simcha Jacobovici is a Canadian-Israeli filmmaker and journalist. He is a three-time Emmy winner for “Outstanding Investigative Journalism” and a New York Times best selling author. He’s also an adjunct professor in the Department of Religion at Huntington University, Ontario.