Our Lady of Akita

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Our Lady of Akita
Virgin Mary of Akita Japan.jpg
The wooden image statue enshrined
Location Yuzawadai, Akita Prefecture,
Japan Japan
Date 1973 - 1979
Witness Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa
Type Marian apparition

Our Lady of Akita is the Roman Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with a wooden statue venerated by Japanese faithful who hold it to be miraculous. The image is known due to the Marian apparitions reported in 1973 by Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in the remote area of Yuzawadai, near the city of Akita in Japan. The messages emphasize prayer (especially recitation of the Rosary) and penance in combination to cryptic visions prophesying sacerdotal persecution and heresy in the Catholic Church.

The Marian apparitions were unusual in that the crying of the statue of the Virgin Mary was broadcast on Japanese national television, and gained further notoriety due to the sudden healing of hearing impairment experienced by Sasagawa after the apparitions.[1] The image also became affiliated with the devotion to Our Lady of All Nations venerated in Amsterdam, from which the image shares close similarities.

The local Ordinary-Bishop of Akita, Bishop John Shojiro-Ito gave formal public assent to the Marian apparitions, as promulgated as authoritative under the canonical norms of Pope Paul VI while the Holy See itself has not issued any decree regarding the apparitions. At present, the local Marian cult for venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary under this title is not suppressed within the Catholic church.


For several decades, Agnes Sasagawa had encountered many health problems as a result of a poorly performed appendix operation and was immobile for over a decade. Her health reportedly improved after drinking water from Lourdes. After going totally deaf, she went to live with the nuns in the remoteness of Yuzawadai in Akita Prefecture.[2]


In 1973, Sasagawa reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary, as well as stigmata and a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary which was said to weep on 101 occasions. The nuns at Yuzawadai also reported stigmata on the statue, as well as on the hands of Sister Agnes; the stigmata on the statue supposedly appeared before the tears started, and disappeared after the tears.[3]

Sister Agnes only reported three messages from the Blessed Virgin during 1973,[4] but the statue itself is reported to have continued weeping thereafter. Sister Agnes reported that she first heard the statue calling her, and then the first message began.


Sister Agnes reported that in the first message the Virgin Mary asked her to recite with her a prayer of reparation, and in 1973 told her that her deafness will be cured. The other reported messages ask for the praying of the rosary and to pray Acts of Reparation.

The second message is said to have included the following:

The third message warned of possible worldwide calamities if men did not repent and emphasized the need to pray the rosary. It stated that it was the final message to Sister Agnes and ended with the statement: "Those who place their confidence in me will be saved."

Purported cures[edit]

During Sunday Mass in 1982, Sister Agnes was totally cured from her deafness.[7] It is said that professional medical examinations were performed initially after Sasagawa lost her hearing, verifying that she was 'incurably deaf', and again after she was healed, verifying that her hearing was 'normal'.[8] Some time later, a Korean woman with a terminal brain tumor was miraculously cured after friends and relatives prayed for the intercession of Our Lady of Akita. She received visions of Mary related to the Akita events during her recovery, the first while comatose. Her disease was diagnosed and the subsequent cure verified by medical professionals in South Korea.


Rev. John Shojiro Ito, then-Bishop of Niigata and an eyewitness to some of the events at Akita, initially approved the apparition in 1984.

In June 1988, Bishop Ito brought his pastoral letter of April 22, 1984[9] to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who allowed the pastoral letter and its dissemination to the faithful. On April 1990, the Apostolic Nuncio in Japan, Bishop William Aquin Carew in an interview with the Catholic magazine 30 DAYS, noted of Cardinal Ratzinger that: “His Eminence did not give any judgment on the reliability or credibility of the ‘messages of the Virgin’.”[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schroedel, Jenny and Schroedel, John. The Everything Mary Book: The Life and Legacy of the Blessed Mother, 2006 ISBN 1-59337-713-4 page 137-138
  2. ^ Petrisko, Thomas W., Laurentin, Rene, and Fontecchio, Michael J., The Fatima Prophecies: At the Doorstep of the World by 1998 ISBN 1-891903-30-6 page 172
  3. ^ Those who saw her: apparitions of Mary by Catherine M. Odell 1995 ISBN 0-87973-664-X pages 177-193
  4. ^ "Japanese quake's epicenter located near Marian apparition site", Catholic News agency, March 12, 2011
  5. ^ Burke, Raymond L., Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, 2008 ISBN 1-57918-355-7 page 880
  6. ^ Miller, John D., Beads and prayers: the rosary in history and devotion, 2002 ISBN 0-86012-320-0 page 159
  7. ^ Teiji Yasuda, O.S.V. and trans. John M. Haffert, Akita: The Tears and Message of Mary (101 Foundation, Inc., Asbury, New Jersey, 1990).
  8. ^ Teiji Yasuda, O.S.V. and trans. John M. Haffert, Akita: The Tears and Message of Mary (101 Foundation, Inc., Asbury, New Jersey, 1990).
  9. ^ Akita Apparition Letter, April 22, 1984, by Most. Rev. John Shojiro Ito, Bishop of Niigata, @ campus.udayton.edu


External links[edit]