Jesus and Buddha do Christmas in Tokyo I Christmas Curator’s Nook

published on July 3, 2020

I'm Nicole Rousmaniere I'm the IFAC
Honda curator of Japanese arts

Welcome to my corner

In 2015 we wanted to do an
exhibition of three generations,

with Tetsuya Chiba, Hoshino YukiNobu and Nakamura Hikaru So we went to meet Nakamura

she was fantastic and she was
very cooperative and in fact she donated

a whole story and she said you can
choose but I would think you should have

Christmas I thought oh! This will be

So with a little trepidation, we
got this fantastic story and we

displayed it and it was really, really good the only

challenge that we had was in translating
her work because she uses really witty

language and witty puns and we wanted to make sure that it worked in English and

there was no English translation up to
that point

You see the family home You see a Christmas dinner

You see a church You see a priest

And he's hearing the confession of this man right here and this man is telling him that he's

jealous We look at it we can actually
see that it's Jesus Then we kind of

flashback to what happened
that morning and we see Buddha and

Buddha and Jesus are together and what's
happening here is that Jesus is leaving

he's a little bit excited, he's a little
bit, you know, it's winter he's got his cap on

and his shades on

and Buddha's wondering what's up

Well, actually it's the 25th of December it's
Jesus's birthday and Jesus wants to see

how he's going to be celebrated in Japan
on his birthday and Buddha is worried

because Buddha knows something else is
going to happen

Jesus goes to a department store and he sees this huge
cake he gets really excited,

he thinks it's for him, and finally Jesus
is realising that all the people around

who are excited on the birthday cake and
the trees it's for Santa Claus

So he's still optimistic he actually
sees someone dressed like Santa Claus

and he calls Buddha to check and he says
"Is this some kind of joke?

Of course they're planning a party for me!"
and then Buddha is getting very very

worried Jesus is saying "Maybe it's just
the residents of Takikawa" where

they're living "have organised some kind
of mega birthday surprise? and you must

have been told to keep quiet about it I
think you're the only one who will let

me in on the secret"
But you see Buddha is getting really

worried Buddha doesn't want Jesus to be
upset or or worried Here she writes

"The self affirmation of the Son of God is as hard as steel"

Jesus is finally coming to terms with
the fact there will be no surprise for

the people but actually Buddha has
lovingly bought him a birthday cake and

Buddha says can you please go to the
patisserie and pick it up So Jesus goes

to the patisserie and he's welcomed by a
woman selling the cakes and he looks and

he sees that they are Christmas cakes in
Japan which means they're all with

Santa decorations! Jesus says
"decorations any other than Santa Claus?"

and she said "yes from this selection are
you looking for anything in particular?"

"I'd kind of like one of me half-naked
and dying they should at least have one of those"

and she's really shocked
you can see the sweat coming down

"Would you really want to put that on a cake? We don't do human figures"

"But Santa's an old man in a red costume in a hat!" Well she says "Well Santa's more like a

mascot and he's chubby and cute" But that
doesn't make Jesus very happy

"So no one will put me on a cake because I'm too skinny?!"

"Why would you want to be on a cake?"

"Okay put all of them on I
will eat them and put on weight I'm feeling pretty sad"

Buddha will be worried about me if he sees me in this state and he walks off

Jesus says right here, remember we start here, he says

"I should chill out somewhere"

Then he goes in and he sees

himself in a church and he says "When I
think of how much worse it was then

feel a little calmer now" and then you
see in the church pew right here

"I came here without thinking" he's saying
"I've avoided churches until now why

today of all days?"
Here he hears from this young boy

"Mum! Today's Jesus birthday isn't it?"


"Ah, surely they're speaking about me this

Jesus is a little happier "But they could
also mean a TV character with the same name"

"That little crib figure of Jesus
at the church entrance that was so cute wasn't it?"

"Jesus was born in a stable" "Blessings to Jesus"

"Thank you Jesus" "Amen"
Jesus, here he is right there, Jesus, Jesus

he's hearing this all the time he says
"I'm happier now but actually I feel

embarrassed! I feel ten times more
embarrassed than when Buddha caught googling myself"


So here he says,

I can't bear it anymore I'm gonna crawl into a hole! Hey, this looks promising!"

and he runs in there and where is it?

It's the confessional! And he runs into the priest
that we saw in the very beginning and

the priest says "So you're feeling
jealous about Santa Claus"

If things go on like this I might act impulsively

and descend to the Vatican and expel Saint

Nicholas so I've come instead to talk to
you Father I know you won't repeat what

you've heard in the confession will you?
Knowing that I can tell you that I am

Jesus Christ" and this priest is saying
"Oh here's a lamb going seriously astray"

He doesn't realise that actually he's
talking to Jesus Christ he says right

here he is playing along and he says
"Thank you for always taking care of us"

and Jesus says "I apologize for being
such a misery"

"No, as you say Christmas in Japan is rather strange"

And the ending of the story is really kind of beautiful,

The priest says

"Someone must be waiting for you" and Jesus says "Yes
there is someone a friend remembered my

birthday and also ordered a cake in an
in advance

he'd been preparing tasty food since
early this morning

How silly I am I must rush back to
him" "You have a lovely friends mr Jesus

God will forgive your sins
let us pray together and that you should

hurry home So here they're praying and
"Yes thank you very much" and the priest

says very happily "Yes thanks to God" "Amen and to Buddha!" because that's his roommate

and the priest then gets a little

unhappy he says "Oh he's a Buddhist"


And then we go back to Buddha and Buddha says

"Jesus, is there a message in here?"
and you see all the Santas have fallen

and they've all melted into
to the Christmas cake and it's "just like

King Herod's massacre of the innocence
because he was he feared for his throne

you've killed all the Santa's because
they were more popular!" Jesus says "no no

it's just that I wanted to gain weight
and took too long to bring the cake back

it's not what you think!"
Anyway, that's how Jesus spends his birthday

This is just one story of
many that this chronicles It goes

seasonally it's amazing you go through
January all the different seasons and so

to find more I think you're gonna have
to come to the British Museum

Thank you very much for joining me on our manga
adventure today there are many more

curators that are doing many different
types of adventures through the British

Museum YouTube channel I hope you'll all
subscribe but first of all I want you to

tell us what you would like to see what
is your favorite manga and what manga

you would like to see the British Museum
collect please write it in on the

comment section and subscribe to the
YouTube channel of the British Museum


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