Historians have hailed the discovery of Sengoku era documents that shed new light on the work of Christian missionaries in Japan. The scrolls, which date back to the rule of famed Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga, describe in detail the early interactions between the Japanese government and missionaries from abroad. In particular, they focus on the explanations of great Christian mysteries given by early visitors.
With only limited Japanese skills to draw on, missionaries were greatly aided by the use of pictures and hand gestures. An excerpt describing the celebration of the birth of Jesus appears to support many of the modern day Japanese interpretations of Christmas.
“The foreigners came to the court of Lord Nobunaga again this time explaining a ritual they refer to as Christmas,” the anonymous author writers. “From what we could understand, on this day a man and a woman must go out together in search of a place to stay. All hotels are filled with couples, so some are forced to stay at dirty places, cheaper than a normal Inn, with no services. The woman must be given many presents, including gold. At this point a baby is made.”