The legend continues by teaching that Jesus then left Palestine and took four years to get to Shinjo, Japan. There he changed his name to Torai Taro Tenkujin, got married and fathered three children. After living a full life as a prophet and teacher, Jesus is said to have died at the age of 112 years. The Japanese of Shinjo commemorated his death with what they claim is Jesus’ tomb located in a small valley not far from the village. However, when asked if Jesus is really buried in this tomb, Shinjo mayor Genki Kosaka replied that he could not say either way.^63

62 C.H. Dodd, The Apostolic Preaching and its Developments(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980), p. 16.

63 John Peterson, “A Legend Says Jesus Died in Japan at 112,” The Detroit News, August 9, 1971, pp. 1A, 6A. There are other parallels of a similar nature in Ethiopia and Egypt.

Joyce’s hypothesis

Another hypothesis involving Jesus as a traveler is related by Donovan Joyce, who asserts that in 1964 he was told of a scroll which was stolen by a professor who would not give him his true name. This professor claimed that the scroll was found at Masada, on the Dead Sea, and was written by a man identifying himself as “Jesus of Gennesareth, son of Jacob,” an eighty-year-old defender of Masada who apparently died while fighting the Romans during the Jewish revolt of AD 66–73. Unfortunately Joyce never found out the professor’s real name and, in the meantime, the scroll has disappeared so that no one knows the whereabouts of it or of the professor!^64 Yet Joyce claims that there is a chance that this scroll was written by Jesus before his death at the age of eighty years. Therefore, there must be a history of what happened to Jesus during the almost fifty years from the time of his crucifixion until his death.