Week 2: Japanese History April 13-19

Week 2 Japanese History

Reading: Understanding Japan: Part One: Japan – A Brief Review

      • Chapter Two: A Brief History of Japan
      • Japan-Guide. Read any of the historical sections.

Pray:

      • Pray daily for Japan and Japanese, using Operation Japan. Make a note in your blog concerning the information and/or your prayer.

Writing: Weekly Paper: “Impressions and Points from Your Reading”

    • Reflective Writing
    • Read as many of the other students’ writings as you have time and comment on at least two of them.

Extra Suggestions:

Discussion

  • 2

    Week 2 - Brandalyn

    Brandalyn
    Reply

    I am loving this book and finally getting a grasp of these Tokugawa and Meji periods and when they happened and what they meant for Japan. I have been to Japan so many times and been to so many museums and such and read about these periods and rulers, but had no context or grasp of it all. I am also, now, building a chronology of world and biblical and Japanese history events to better understand what was happening around the world at a given time and getting context. I have always wondered about Houstenbos in South Japan and why the early Dutch influence. It is nice to get some of that explained as well.

    • Naoko Brown

      Brandalyn, I am sooooo glad to hear that!!!

    • Emily Frey

      Brandalyn, I hope you can send us a picture of that timeline. It would be so cool to see, observe, and discuss!

  • 1

    Daily Prayer Time:

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    The multi-faceted ministry of Ochanomizu Christian Center (OCC) serves as a hub for the evangelical movement. The nine-story building is located in a busy part of Tokyo, surrounded by many colleges and universities.

    Pray for God’s powerful blessing on these many ministries.
    There are at least 35 different theological training institutions in Tokyo with over 1,900 students. Pray for a special blessing on each of these students and their many instructors.

    Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for all these Theological training institutions, that you would bless everyone that takes the training, I pray for a special anointing on each one of them, I pray for each student to receive a great vision and passion for the God and His word, their training would build them a strong generation for Christ in this difficult and challenging world, this training may build in them Christ’s character and you may protect all of them from every virus that can destroy physically and spiritually. Lord, I also pray for the leaders and teachers of these training centers, that you may give them wisdom and strength to run these training effectively and creatively, and also you may give them all the needed provisions to run these training, thank you Lord for the vision and the deep desire that you have placed at the heart of various people that took this training initiative to prepare a generation for the Kingdom Work, your name be glorified in everything they do, thank you so much for allowing me to pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • 0

    Daily Prayer Time:

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    There are a number of churches in the Yokohama and Shonan areas, where there is less resistance to the gospel. Many of these are the first churches started in Japan, while others were planted by postwar evangelical groups in the last 50 years. Pray that these various groups will sense the unity of Christ in the gospel.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for allowing me to pray for these churches in Yokohama and Shonan areas. I pray that these churches would receive a new vision and strategy to reach the unreached, please revive all these churches to carry on the mission with great power and strength. I pray for unity among them, in spite of the doctrinal differences they may be able to support each other and work together as a body of Christ in order to accomplish the great commission which our Lord has entrusted to every born again believer. Pray for safety over every life from the attack of the enemy and especially from this spreading virus. I commit all these churches, and the pastors and every individual into your loving hands, take care of the Father, thank you so much for the works that Operation Japan and RJ are doing in Japan, I pray for a great outcome that will glorify the Lord, in Jesus’ precious name I pray, Amen.

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR KANAGAWA:

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    Pray for “Harbor View of Christmas,” a special evangelistic outreach in which 100 churches cooperate. There are usually 600 people who come to hear this gospel presentation.

    There are five seminary training institutions in Kanagawa Prefecture, with a total of more than 50 students. Pray that more will sense God’s calling into the ministry.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this opportunity to pray for Kanagawa. I pray for the upcoming event “Harbor View of Christmas”, I pray that this event would be a life-changing one, many come to know Christ through this, and many souls would be added to the kingdom, pray for those who are working on this event, give them wisdom and strength to organize well, especially keep them all safe during this season from any virus infection, Lord please bless this activity and it may glorify you and extend Your kingdom in Japan. And also I pray for the five seminary training institutions in Kanagawa, I pray for all the students who are studying there and being equipped for the kingdom work, Lord gives them a vision for their future, spiritually build them and strengthen them, prepare a generation that will boldly carry the gospel to the unreached in Japan and other parts of the world. Thank you so much for all those leaders and teachers who are working hard at these institutions, grant them your favor and also the provision for carrying on these training, keep them all safe and sound, thank you so much, Lord, for listening to my prayer, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR KANAGAWA-2

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR KANAGAWA

    Even though there are many resorts in Kanagawa, there are few Christian camping and retreat facilities. Pray for Motoyu Tamagawa Inn in Atsugi, Tanzawa Home in Kiyokawa, and others.
    The two Christian bookstores are in Yokohama: Yokohama Life Center and Christian Book Store.

    The Yokohama Christian Book Store, pictured here, is located about three blocks from the busy Sakuragicho Train Station.

    The TV program Life Line (Sun. 8:30 a.m.) can be seen on Kanagawa TV.

    Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you so much for this opportunity to pray for Kanagawa. Lord I pray for a spiritual revival in this place, many families will turn to Christ, many tourists that come to this area will have the opportunity to hear the gospel and give their precious lives to Jesus, Lord I also pray for Motoyu Inn in Atsugi and Tanzawa Home in Kiyokawa, these places may attract many people to Jesus, whoever enters this place may experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, they will be open to the gospel, Lord please, open the hearts of the people that come to these centers, as You opened the heart of Lydia in Philippi, I also pray for the Christian bookstores in Yokohama, Lord I pray that people may get interest to visit these bookstores and get Christian literature and Bible and music and know you better, use this stores for your glory and honor and for the extension of your kingdom, I also grateful to God for the TV program, Life Line, I pray that many anointed messages may go through this media ministry, and many lives would be changed, people may tune in and eagerly listen to the Word of God and be blessed, thank you so much for providing these facilities in this place, it may grow and multiply and in the coming days there will many Christian retreat centers and Bible schools and many churches in this place, nothing is impossible for you, I believe my Lord that You will do wonders, thank you so much for hearing my prayer, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • 0

    Pray for Japan: For the schools and Universities in Kanagawa:

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR KANAGAWA SCHOOLS, APRIL 17

    There are many well-known Christian schools here, like Ferris Women’s School, Kanto Gakuin, the Yokohama campus of Meiji Gakuin University, the Atsugi campus of Aoyama Gakuin University, Toyo Eiwa Women’s University in Yokohama, and others with a total enrollment of about 40,000 students.

    The three pictures above are taken from the Ferris Women’s School website. It clearly represents its Christian foundation. Pray for these schools with their many students, faculty, and administration that Christ will clearly be represented.
    There are 64 (an increase of two over the 2007 report) Protestant kindergartens and 27 nursery schools. The 2007 Christian Yearbook has 11,211 children enrolled.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this opportunity to pray for Japan, especially the schools and universities in Kanagawa. Lord I pray for these schools and universities that many young people would turn to Jesus through various Christian evangelical activities, Lord please help the Christian leaders and workers to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to take the gospel to these young people who are the future of the country, Lord please anoint every Christian worker that involves in any campus ministries, give them wisdom and creative ideas to share the gospel to these young people, I also pray for the faculty and administration of these schools, that they may be open to the Christian views and also allow Christian activities at these schools my Lord, thank you so much for all the Protestant kindergartens and the nursery schools, God please help the teachers and the staff to be enjoying serving you among the little one that they are with, please take care of the children that are coming to these centers, thank you so much for vision and passion that you had given to many of the Christian leaders who took the initiative to reach the young community for Jesus, Lord please continually bless these ministries, and it may multiply in the days to come and glorify your name and use them for extending your kingdom in Japan, thank you Lord for hearing my prayer, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR KANAGAWA MINISTRIES

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR KANAGAWA MINISTRIES

    Pray for Christian general hospitals: Kinugasa Hospital, with 299 beds in Yokosuka, and Neo Gospel Clinic in Yokohama. There are also several major Catholic hospitals in Yokohama, Kawasaki, and Kamakura.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for giving the opportunity to pray for the hospitals in Kanagawa, Lord I pray that these hospitals will function well especially in this very needy situation, I pray for safety over all the doctors and nurse, and all the health workers, pray for the hospital managements, grant them wisdom and favor so that they will be able to do a better and effective job amidst of this pandemic, I also pray that You may use all the Christian health workers to use this opportunity to share the gospel and pray with those who are in very difficult situation, I also pray for the people that live in Kanagawa, protect them from virus infection, and those who are infected you may heal them, pray for the needed medical facilities that every hospital may have in order to treat the patience well, pray for your comfort and mercy be upon all the families who are in great pain and sorrows of losing of their beloved family members and friends, I pray for many people will come forward to help the ones that are going through a tough situation, thank you Lord for letting me pray for Kanagawa and all the ministries that are going on in this place, thank you so much for listening to my prayer, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • 3

    Reading Report on the History of Japan

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    In the previous reading, I was able to go through both chapters of part one, and I made a brief summary of both chapters, kindly look at it again if you haven’t read it.
    As I was reading through the various periods of Japanese history, I was able to learn many things, most of the things were very new to me. One of the things that I noticed was, every period had some religious influence, during the Jomon period, the rulers of Yamatai the Yamato, claimed that they had received some divine power directly from the god Amaterasu. Since the Chinese influence was quite strong this period over, they promoted Buddhism into Japan, and Yamato took initiative to build many temples and many establish huge ceremonial practices, and Buddhism became an integral part of Japan.
    During the Ashikaga period in 1543, there was some Catholic influence, during this period the kingdom of Ashikaga built contact with the European people, the first group who came to Japan was the Portuguese and they introduced Catholicism. But by the coming of the Tokugawa period, the Catholicism was banned in Japan, many people were persecuted and killed.
    This tells me that Japan had the Christians presence many centuries ago, but it did not thrive here, exactly like in India, We had Christianity from the very first century onward, even after the British ruled the country for over 200 years, there was a little conversion, some of the reasons were, Indians were deeply rooted in the animism, and worship of various deities, the Caste system was quite strong, untouchability was very strong, the same time the Christian missionaries did not know how to communicate the gospel in a contextual way, and also the English people, in general, were known as Christians, and they were drinking and eating meat, which was against the Hindu belief. I can imagine that the way the Christians lived in Japan during this period must be focused on trade and business and they just had an inappropriate way of presenting Christianity. I am looking forward to knowing more about it in the coming lesson.
    During the Tokugawa period, Confucianism was very strong, and Buddhism was a national religion along with the Samurai’s ideology. Confucianism played a key role during this period, I never read so much about Confucianism before, reading this chapter gave some ideas about it. At the end of the Tokugawa period we see Shintoism coming back to the Japanese community since the people lost trust in the Buddhist priest and their principles.
    But it was quite shocking to see how the three religious sectors were joining together in order to eliminate Christianity from Japan, during this period there was a great persecution against the Christians, many were martyred, the people were forced to register in the temple register book which caused the Christians either deny their faith or die for their faith. Religious persecution against Christianity was quite strong everywhere since it has begun, I am so proud to see the people in Japan for giving their lives for their faith in Jesus, they are not the losers, they are a great example for Christianity around the world, as someone said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”.
    During the Meiji period, people were open to religious views, Confucianism, Shintoism, and Buddhism merged into a national religion, and Christianity also had some freedom, unlike the Tokugawa period. In the 1800s the Christianity had the opportunity to spread the gospel message, but I am quite curious to know why Christianity did not take deeper root in the Japanese soil!
    In all these periods, the role of religions was quite remarkable, they transformed the culture, day to day life of the people, the belief system and practice. But as I see as whole in Japan till today, the Christianity struggled to spread and grow in among the Japanese community, I would like to know more about it, why Christianity did not thrive in this soil, was it the method used were not appropriate, or there were continuous persecutions in Japan against the Church. I am looking forward to studying more on this…
    My prayer is that this study may help me to know better Japan and the Japanese people, and how we can share the love of Christ effectively and creatively to the unreached.

    • Brandalyn

      Yes, I only learned about the intense stamping out of Christianity and how it paved the way for Buddhism to become ubiquitous in Japan – and butsudans in every home this summer while in Japan and reading up on Japanese religion.

    • Naoko Brown

      Thank you, Shibu for your prayers and comment. We cannot pin point just one reason for Christianity being such a minority in Japan, but I believe one of the reasons is the impact of Christian persecution. Although it was such a long time ago, the scar of the dark time remains in Japan culturally and spiritually.

    • Emily Frey

      Yes, the continued mention of Confucianism has driven me to learn more about that worldview as a whole so as to better understand my Japanese friends. I have talked to so many American Christians who have lived in Japan for years and they are still filled with so many reasons why the Gospel has not taken root there unlike other places.
      In my prayers recently, amidst our global pandemic, I have been praying now more than ever that Christians could bring to Japan ministries of mercy–tending to the sick, providing care for the elderly and orphaned, special needs, meeting the needs of lower socio-economic just-surviving families (which is increasing).

  • 3

    History of Japan Chapter 2

    Amarilys Vega
    Reply

    Some time ago, I watched a video about the history of Japan and reading the book I could imagine everything that happened during the different periods.
    Something that kept my attention was about the slogans bunmemi kaika (civilization and enlightenment), fukoku kyohei (a rich nation with a strong army), oitsuki oikose (catch up with and surpass the west). And their aim for a Western-style of technology, a strong military, and economic power. For sure, Japan reached all these things but at a great price.
    Fukuzawa Yukichi mentioned that “Education was the foundation of modernity. Many people wanted to adopt Western-style, but maintaining Japanese culture and religion. Nakamura Masano said, “Western without Christianity and values was empty”, but others didn’t accept his idea. And what he said was true, and we can see the consequences even now.
    Yes, Japan is an economic power, but with many social problems, as the author said: unhappy youth, monotonous modern society, suicide, etc. it became an ‘overdose of modernity’. Then we can see that what Nakamura Masano was trying to say, it was true. Every society that has rejected Jesus or that went away from the truth will present all these kind of problems, just God can give us that peace and joy in all circumstances, we don’t have to do the things on our own, but we can count with His help.
    I’m glad that we now have more specific prayer points to pray for Japan, a beautiful country, the harvest is ready. May the Lord help us to always remember this dear country in our prayers.

    • Shibu AV

      It is true that when people reject the truth they miss the true freedom because Jesus said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” Jn 8:32. It is like when the people of Israel asked Samuel for a king, Samuel was shocked, but God said to Samuel, they did not reject you but Me. When people choose freedom without God, that will give some fun and excitement, momentary success but the latter part will be catastrophic, we have seen this in many nations. We can keep praying for this beautiful country that God would revive this nation and turn many to Christ, before His coming.

    • Naoko Brown

      Amarilys, thank you for your comment. It is true that without God, things are hollow. Many people in Japan are suffering from the emptiness and many are ignoring the void and doing everything to enjoy their life. We long for the day that they are filled with the Holy Spirit and live their life in joy of the Lord. Thank you very much for your love for Japan.

    • Emily Frey

      Amarilys, I can’t tell you how many of my Asian friends (not just Japanese) come to American to learn English in order to live out the American dream of acquiring “stuff” and living in lavishness. They seem immune to the Gospel because they don’t want a message of less but more. Our cultural values, which are moving away from high morality, are empty without Christ and even most Americans do not know it!

  • 2

    Pray for the Christian Social Welfare Facilities and Orphanage and the School in Kanagawa:

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR KANAGAWA

    Pray for the ministries taking place at Christian social welfare facilities such as Yokohama Training Center for the Blind, pictured here. This ministry began in 1889, and presently has 40 in training.

    Pray that each person living in orphanages like Elizabeth Sanders Home, with 100 residents, and Shiroyama School, with 55 students, will clearly understand and accept God’s salvation.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for allowing me to pray the Christian welfare facilities in Kanagawa and the orphanages and the school that are led by various servants of God in this place. Lord I pray that you would bless this ministry endeavor, and make it fruitful, and provide all the necessities, to continue this ministry, God I pray that you would protect everyone that works in the training center from the virus attack, and bless the ones that are under training, bless this ministry, my Lord. And also I pray orphanage and the school, God please bless this ministry, you are the God who cares for the orphans and the widows, you care for poor and needy, you are a God of love, I pray that this ministry may grow and expand your kingdom among the underprivileged community, Lord please continually provide all their needs, both spiritual and physical, especially I pray for many would-be turned to Christ through this hard labor, and your name be glorified in everything they do, take care of everyone that is working very hard to run this ministry, protect them and keep them safe from any infections, thank you so much for listening to my prayer, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

    • Brandalyn

      The children living in orphanages in Japan are always so heavy on my heart. And it seems that so few people know much of anything about them!

    • Naoko Brown

      It is true that people in Japan do not talk much about orphans, and my heart aches for them, too. I know some people who adopted children from Japanese orphanage, and they are American missionaries. I praise the Lord for those who work for the orphanages without much reward and recognition. I thank God for those who adopt orphans and give everything they could to raise them.

  • 1

    Week 2 prayer - Brandalyn

    Brandalyn
    Reply

    My prayers all week have been centered around my friend’s husband in Tokyo who was hospitalized, in ICU and on a ventilator. They don’t know the Lord and I have had some opportunities to speak to her about things of God. I have been very open with her about the fact that we and our church and others around the world are praying for them. Praying for this to be a door to the Lord being revealed to them

    • Naoko Brown

      Brandalyn, does he have COVID-19? I pray for him and his family!

  • 2

    Week 2: Emily's Notes on History of Japan

    Emily Frey
    Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this History of Japan, as the online Japan Guide seemed to leave me with a lot of questions about all the power changes in Japanese history. It seemed like any other country’s story–full of one guy beats another and warring always imminent because man’s heart is continually wanting to please and glory in itself.

    Lee’s Understanding Japan really explained some of the relationships and power struggles between groups of people that ushered in each period of history. The Tokugawa period of Samurai or bushido ways that flourished under Confucianism for over 250 years seems a foundational worldview for the Japanese. It shaped a people who “were forced to live within the constratints of their social classes and to do what was required of them”. As Western powers and presence became a reality, the Meiji period ushered in new ideas, enlightenment, and drastic new taxes. Laws began to redistribute power and equality as ways of the West were explored and adopted. A new sense of nationalism and modernization led the country to become highly industrialized under the “Japanization process”. Military strategy and might led to their emergence as a significant world power and ally in World War I. Yet, after their defeat in World War II, Lee describes the country as “a nation exhausted both physically and morally” by 1945. New policy required the country to go through demilitarization, democratization, and rehabilitation.

    Despite how narcistic, greedy, or power hungry Japan may have seemed to have been kicking off World War II at Pearl Harbor, the post-war changes the country was expected to make seem overwhelming, soul defeating, and dehumanizing. Japanese were forced to completely overhaul culture, pride, and identity subordinate to Western ideals. As an American raised in the South with ancestors who fought for the Confederacy, I feel the depth and range of emotions associated with how insanely dignity-losing and difficult a thing that is for any nation, city, family or person. Its a deep kind of re-personification that most don’t rationally acknowledge. At this point in my life, I have been dealing with strong feelings and thoughts about my ancestor connections to these types of big historical and world events because of the innate, deep need to rationalize and sometimes legitimize the views of my family and upbringing–a need to honor my ancestors, no matter how wrong or blind they were. Also, a need to give an answer and defend myself against all the current trend-shaming of descendants and the demand to forget the painful parts of the past that shape our people and country.

    In the same way, I also find myself dealing with some generational guilt for my ancestors’ participation in World War II against the Japanese. Heinous crimes and atrocities by both countries were committed that we cannot ignore. My grandfather fought in World War II and claimed he would never own anything MADE IN JAPAN. He would be aghast at how quickly the US allowed the influence of technology products like the Nintendo to take over the next generation. I read this book by a non-Japanese and through Western eyes, and I feel the need to hear a Japanese voice tell “the other side of the story”. Otherwise, I feel I have no right, as an American (how I am perceived), to voice another challenging, paradigm-changing worldview like that of Christianity. Getting very real and honest here. How do I convince a Japanese sister that my identity as a Christian should carry more weight than my identity as an American? Does that not sound like–to them–the worst betrayal to begin with? Abandoning my ancestors for religion? How will they ever respect Jesus if they don’t respect me…? It sounds silly when I write it out like that but its definitely a hesitation that creates a barrier for me to share the Gospel. Encouragement welcome.

    • Shibu AV

      It remains me while I was in Japan during the time my on board the Doulos Ship, I had an outing with one of the American families from the ship who became very close to me and later to our family and ministry. There were senior citizens, they were explaining to me about the Second World War, they had the same kind of feeling as you share in this post. But we need to also see the American’s contribution to rebuilding the dismantled nation, it was very significant. I think we have to pray for God’s favor and wisdom to communicate the gospel to the nation was affected by past, but we need to look it through the eyes of the Lord, He had to break the prejudice that was exercised by the Jews towards the Samaritans, even Peter had it until he received the vision, which is recorded in the book of Acts chapter 10, it is like the German people, they feel the same, many my friends told me that they still feed about what was happened during the time of Hitler, someone said, time heals everything, if we have a good prayer life and God’s favor, we can face this, our aim is the lost soul, God sees it and make away. Blessings!

    • Naoko Brown

      Emily,
      Thank you very much for your honest post. We all have sadness, guilt, shame and anger when we look back wars. Both Germany and Japan, citizens were forced to idolize and worship the national leaders, and the idolatory resulted in horrendous actions. I do have a few incidents when I was put in a spot because I am Japanese. Once was at a Sunday school when I visited a new church. An American man angrily spoke about Mitsubishi motors, the manufacture of Zero fighter planes. He said he hated the fact that Mitsubishi cars are running around in US, and he looked at me with challenging eyes. I did not say anything. Another time was when a Chinese scholar at work questioned me about the Nanjing Massacre. And there was a time an American friend questioned me about Bataan Death March with fear and anger. Yes, I hated what Japanese did to many many people during the war time. Of course, it is important to be mindful about the history and be sensitive when we interact with others. However, we cannot and should not carry the guilt of our ancestors. Instead we are called to carry His Light to the world…. Emily, I know you know all that. I don’t mean to preach at you here, but I want to encourage you that Japanese people will love you because of who YOU are and because of who lives in your heart! We are not pushing Western style religion, but we are carrying the Good News that came from Heaven to Israel to the world. I can go on and on, but I pray that you will be encouraged through this class. I thank you very much for your love for Japanese!!

  • 0

    Week 2: Emily's Notes on History of Japan

    Emily Frey
    Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this History of Japan, as the online Japan Guide seemed to leave me with a lot of questions about all the power changes in Japanese history. It seemed like any other country’s story–full of one guy beats another and warring always imminent because man’s heart is continually wanting to please and glory in itself.

    Lee’s Understanding Japan really explained some of the relationships and power struggles between groups of people that ushered in each period of history. The Tokugawa period of Samurai or bushido ways that flourished under Confucianism for over 250 years seems a foundational worldview for the Japanese. It shaped a people who “were forced to live within the constratints of their social classes and to do what was required of them”. As Western powers and presence became a reality, the Meiji period ushered in new ideas, enlightenment, and drastic new taxes. Laws began to redistribute power and equality as ways of the West were explored and adopted. A new sense of nationalism and modernization led the country to become highly industrialized under the “Japanization process”. Military strategy and might led to their emergence as a significant world power and ally in World War I. Yet, after their defeat in World War II, Lee describes the country as “a nation exhausted both physically and morally” by 1945. New policy required the country to go through demilitarization, democratization, and rehabilitation.

    Despite how narcisstic, greedy, or power hungry Japan may have seemed to have been kicking off World War II at Pearl Harbor, the post-war changes the country was expected to make seem overwhelming, soul defeating, and demhumanizing. Japanese were forced to completely overhaul culture, pride, and identity suboordinate to Western ideals. As an American raised in the South with ancestors who fought for the Confederacy, I feel the depth and range of emotions associated with how insanely dignity-losing and difficult a thing that is for any nation, city, family or person. Its a deep kind of re-personification that most don’t rationally acknowledge. At this point in my life, I have been dealing with strong feelings and thoughts about my ancestor connections to these types of big historical and world events because of the innate, deep need to rationalize and sometimes legitimize the views of my family and upbringing–a need to honor my ancestors, no matter how wrong or blind they were. Also, a need to give an answer and defend myself against all the current trend-shaming of descendants and the demand to forget the painful parts of the past that shape our people and country.

    In the same way, I also find myself dealing with some generational guilt for my ancestors’ participation in World War II against the Japanese. Heinous crimes and atrocities by both countries were committed that we cannot ignore. My grandfather fought in World War II and claimed he would never own anything MADE IN JAPAN. He would be aghast at how quickly the US allowed the influence of technology products like the Nintendo to take over the next generation. I read this book by a non-Japanese and through Western eyes, and I feel the need to hear a Japanese voice tell “the other side of the story”. Otherwise, I feel I have no right, as an American (how I am perceived), to voice another challenging, paradigm-changing worldview like that of Christianity. Getting very real and honest here. How do I convince a Japanese sister that my identity as a Christian should carry more weight than my identity as an American? Does that not sound like–to them–the worst betrayal to begin with? Abandoning my ancestors for religion? How will they ever respect Jesus if they don’t respect me…? It sounds silly when I write it out like that but its definitely a hesitation that creates a barrier for me to share the Gospel. Encouragement welcome.

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR JAPANESE FAMILIES:

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for giving this opportunity to pray for the families in Japan. Lord I pray that you would protect the life of each one, and save the families that are unreached with the gospel, Lord rise up many Christian families in the midst of the ongoing crisis, I pray for the unwanted pregnancies, protect the young lives from falling to trap and temptation, from the deception of Satan, pray for those children that are born without parental care, that you would bless those Christian organizations that are caring for these children that left alone and unattended by anyone, You are the Father to the Orphans, please have mercy upon this nation, this nation needs a revival, which will bring a spiritual change in the families and among the younger generation, thank you Lord for the ministry of Ain no Kesshin, bless this entity, and it may become a great blessing to many little ones, and pray for many volunteers to join and help this work, I pray for the churches in Japan that would take a great a serious role in reaching the families, and younger generations, I believe a local church is a hope every person, thank you Lord for listening to my prayer, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

  • 0

    Alma Bermejo - Week 2

    almabermejo
    Reply

    I do check the news about Japan every day. The major topic is COVID-19. The whole country is now in the stage of emergency and schools are closed, including the Bible School now. Domestic violence is becoming an issue as a result of confinement. In an attempt to help out, the government has been sendings masks by mail to residents but I read that the quality is not acceptable. The government is also offering 100,000 yen to people with low income including foreigners.

    I have not been praying for Japan every day following the prayer guide. I have been very busy with ministry activities. I am trying to catch up this week

  • 0

    Alma Bermejo - Week 2 Comments from Understanding Japan

    almabermejo
    Reply

    I feel like I found golden nuggets in this second chapter of the book.

    The Tokugawa Period is key to understand the Japanese mind. The strict Confucianism ethics, enforced for 250 years, sharped the behavior of Japanese people. Loyalty to those in authority is huge in this nation. That is why young ones, and even adults, dare not to break traditions, offend people, or take initiative. In the evangelical church, they wholeheartedly obey and respect their pastors, even if they are wrong. Very few young believers are willing to take the risk to do something radical for God. This breaks my heart

    By forcing people to embrace Buddhism they planted fear in their hearts and when Shintoism revived the emperor was worshiped as God. I have heard from Japanese people that when the Second World War ended many people committed suicide, not only because they lost the war but also because they heard the voice of the emperor for the very first time and understood that he was a human being.

    Yes, I have seen how my students are drawn to European fashion, they also enjoy hanging out with Americans. I have noticed that when they are around non-Asian foreigners they change, they are more free and direct. It is a very interesting thing, I even told them that and they laugh. It is like a game, they like it but they don’t let the conversations go deep inside.

    The book mentions how during the Meiji period, formal education flourished. I can say that 100% of the youngsters I work with study very hard in order to attend university. They go to school in the morning and then to cram school several times a week. Some of those teens suffer from depression and get away from God during the time of preparation for a university entrance test. Education is definitely one more idol in Japan, a huge one I would say.

    Yes, Japanese nationalism is a big factor here too, and it is in many cases nothing but pride covered with a mask called “humility”. Please do not take me wrong, I want them to be free from all the chains that bound them. My love for this country not romantic, I see the beauty of the land, the amazing development in the sciences, and technology but I also see the price that these precious people pay in order to keep everything well and under control.

    Japanese people need to experience the love of The Father and His grace.