By Julian Ryall
On Dec 25, the round-faced Mr Sawaguchi will get up in the icy predawn of northern Japan, put on his uniform of suit and tie and head off for another day as a civil servant in the construction division of Aomori Prefectural Government.
But on his way out the door of his home, in the hamlet of Shingo, he will probably give a nod in the direction of the mound of earth topped by a wooden cross that is the last resting place of the man that Christianity reveres as the Messiah.
"I'm not really planning anything at all for the 25th as it doesn't really matter to us," said 52-year-old Mr Sawaguchi. "I know I am descended from Jesus but as a Buddhist it's just not all that important."
Married with a son and daughter, Mr Sawaguchi may display the same degree of religious flexibility that is common in Japan, but his beliefs are firm. Jesus is buried in the neighbouring field, along with his brother Isukiri, and nearby are the scattered remains of pyramid that was larger than those in Egypt but toppled in an earthquake in 1857.
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