Week 3: Japanese Society April 20-26

Week 3 Japanese Society

Reading: Understanding Japan: Part Two: Japanese Society (32 pages)

  • Chapter Three: Japanese Family. If you have time, please view this presentation on “Hikikomori,” called The Lost Generation.
  • Chapter Four: Japanese Working Life
  • Chapter Five: Social Stratification in Japan

If you have time: Japanese Culture 101: Why Japanese and Americans Seem Rude to each Other, by Darien Reinman.

Interviewing:

  • Interview a Japanese.
  • Discuss each of the above three topics from the book.
  • How does his/her experience match or disagree with Samuel Lee’s analysis?

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”

  • There is no minimum or maximum amount for this assignment. Use this as an opportunity to reflect and apply what you have read. This is to be written in you comment section of Japan 101.
  • Read as many of the other students’ writings as you have time and comment on at least two of them.

Extra Suggestions:

Discussion

  • 5

    Week 3 - Brandalyn

    Brandalyn
    Reply

    Wow… this week’s material hit some big topics that have been strong on my heart for the last couple of years.

    First off – I was so intrigued to learn that the Okinawans are an indigenous minority group. I guess I knew that there were regions of Japan that were different with different dialects, but I didn’t know that there were minority groups and particularly that Okinawa had a different language! I wish I had known that when I went there a number of years ago! I didn’t know enough of the language at that time to recognize that! I also didn’t know that there people groups in Japan (racially identical) who were considered lesser and non-human. I guess we as human do that in every culture! So sad, but it sure points to our hearts being deceitful and desperately wicked.

    After visiting Japan numerous times and getting to know more about the culture and how my friends’ families work, I a struggle more and more with what I think about the Japanese society – there are SO MANY WONDERFUL THINGS that Japanese society has going for it compared to so many other societies, but so many of the societal ills are so concerning. I especially worry about the stress and pressure. My “sister” has 3 daughters – ages 7, 5 and 3 and so as I have been there and see, hear and understanding their schooling (even in daycare/preschool) I get concerned about how intense it can be. I worry about them not having enough free time to enjoy childhood and be creative. I worry about the pressures of academics because her oldest daughter is already so serious and puts so much stress on herself and she hasn’t even gotten into demanding school yet. I see their dad work so hard and so many hours and the expectations of society and I fear him missing out on the childhoods of his kids and his kids missing out on having their dad. In many ways their family is more “free” than most, as Kanako spent a year in Canada with our family and therefore sees the world through both Japanese and Canadian eyes. I have also noticed in my time there the availability of pornography and sexually explicit materials and discussed it with friends and Christians. I was horrified and surprised to learn of a thriving pornography and prostitution industry. It seems so counter-cultural to a proper, respectful society who thinks of others before themselves. I was horrified in the reading to learn of the prevelance of the pornography industry in Japan – it was worse than I thought. I didn’t think it was a big player in the global marketplace, but I suppose it is not all that surprising if I stand back and look at the big picture of what I know. I only somewhat knew of the Hikikomori – it is so sad. The Lost Generation video was very informative and sad. I am excited to see that people like that one man are working on intentional rehabilitation programs with these young people. I suppose that every country has their challenges, but I fear for Japan. But I also fear for changing of Japan – so much of the amazing of this society I think will be lost with a changing of culture and expectations and societal obligations. It makes my head and heart hurt to think on it as I do…. but I can pray. At least it makes the prayer points for this week abundantly clear! I will write a separate discussion post about my interview with a friend.

    • Brandalyn

      I liked the presentation on why Japanese and Americans Seem Rude to Each Other. There is much that I can relate to. I think that one of the things I love about Japan is that I find that I fit into Japan better than Canada – I find that my thinking is aligned more with the Japanese than here at home. Even Kanako comments on it often that she thinks that I think and act more like a Japanese than many real Japanese (and her). Maybe this is a reason that I have not had as many challenges with different world views in Japan as others have. And – I try very hard to watch for an emulate what I see and hear in Japan.

      I appreciated the bit on polite fictions between American and Japanese – equals vs. superior/inferior. This makes sense, but I had never thought of it this specifically before. I look forward to discussing this with my Japanese friends. I think that they will really enjoy it and find it helpful for their business and other relationships with westerners.

      And I DEFINITELY experienced extreme reverse culture shock when coming home from a summer in Japan a year ago. I couldn’t believe how impolite and rude the western airline stewardesses were, the Canadian airport staff, the other Canadians on the plane and bus!

    • Brandalyn

      I wonder how the concepts of polite fiction around “I depend on you” vs “I can do this on my own” can translate into an acceptance of the gospel? It seems as though they should be more set-up for the acceptance of Christ as Lord and a position of surrender to him than North Americans are with his structure in their society. I often think that our independence and self-sufficiency in the west really keeps us from a willingness to consider submission to any God, much less admitting that we might need Him.

    • Shibu AV

      I think the indigenous people face many problems everywhere, the main thing they face is the acceptance, they are not accepted as other people in the country, very much same with India, I heard many stories of how the upper-class people treated the lower-class people, quite a heart breaking stories, but the gospel brought light into these communities, they brought a new identity into everyone, including the indigenous people, today they have proper schooling, proper clothing, proper language, I see they are everywhere in the sections of the society, the power of the gospel!

      It is always interesting to study various cultures and lifestyle, it is fun too. I was enjoying listening to the polite fiction part, there are few things we have in common with the Japanese people, there were few things quite shocking to me too…we can make many mistakes if we do not know the culture of the other person, I am from India and my wife is from Panama, both are from two different cultures, we are still learning, it is a long process, once we are in Japan we would be able to understand better…

    • Emily Frey

      hey Brandalyn,
      I am getting these responses late but I wanted to let you know about an interesting documentary on Netflix called “Halfu” that explores some of cultural stigma with not being full Japanese. It was really eye opening for me to see the depths of prejudice that exist in society.

      I also connect with reverse culture shock of returning to the US after only 10 days in Japan. I was so offended by my fellow Americans in the airports–so loud, rude, talking on the phone in line, boisterous, complaining! I was so disgusted by the airport employees and also found places to be so dirty.

    • Naoko Brown

      Brandalyn,
      Thank you so much for your thoughts and heart for Japan. There are a lot of things I want to say, but one thing here about your comment of “Japanese are more set-up for the acceptance of Christ”. Yes, it seems like it, and when they realize that Christ is the Lord, their Samurai spirit of total obedience may come out! On the other hand, in general they may be good at following the way it should be, but their heart is not necessarily always agreeing with the action. Their focus is not to offend others, save face and keep the unity, but showing their honest heart inside may not be their priority. I am not being negative, but the attitude of Japanese toward religions is complex.

      In any case, you are such a missionary!! Praise the Lord!

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR THE CHUBU AREA : The Need of Church Planting

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR THE CHUBU AREA, APRIL 23
    There is an urgent need for churches to be started in the two unchurched cities, the 30 cities with only one church and the 10 towns with populations over 20,000.

    Pray that churches will be started in the 89 unchurched villages and towns.
    The Pacific Ocean side, with its warm climate and convenient transportation systems, make it an ideal location for Christian retreat/camp facilities.

    Pray for the 11 Protestant schools with close to 30,000 students and the six ministry training schools, with a total of about 200 students.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for allowing me to pray for Chubu, especially the need for church planting at various locations. Father I pray that you would rise up more workers to go to these places and start sharing the gospel and bring souls to Christ’s kingdom, I pray for those churches that are already there would be revived and lead their communities for evangelism, and they may spread across to various places, I also pray for the schools, these schools would become light and salt and draw young people to Jesus, and bless all the Christian training programs, many people would be trained to take the gospel to these unreached place, I pray that God for a great revival in this place, thank you so much for listening to my prayer, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • 2

    Week 3: Emily's Notes on Japanese Society

    Emily Frey
    Reply

    While I enjoyed readings in Understanding Japan, my favorite learning this week was the video on Polite Fictions by Darien Reinman. I learned so much and wish I had known all of these cultural differences before engaging both Japanese friends and visiting the country. So many of my awkward moments make so much more sense. I asked some second-year Japanese students at Kindai University in Osaka what they thought about American relationships between parents and children during their Homestay experiences. One young woman thought it was odd and interesting that American parents invited their child’s friends and cousins into the house for long visits and playtime. They said that would never happen in a Japanese home because the parents are too worried and embarrassed about how unclean or untidy the house would be. It is common and acceptable to meet in public places for socialization, like the park. This seems kind of funny to me as I remember visiting a home in Japan, being allowed inside to take a peek, and expecting it to be more tidy than it was! I was surprised to see that it seemed so normal, comfortable even, and lived out of like my own home.

    Another friend and I talked about Hikikikomori, She explained the behaviors of men, as young as 14 and as old as 50, who live with their parents, do not look for jobs, and stay inside or play video games. I am sure this staying inside also makes them begin to appear uchi—a feminine role–and leads to even more gender confusion and identity crisis.

    This friend also said that she felt things were changing in society among young people regarding traditional roles. Young men were taking more responsibility and sharing home responsibilities, including caring for children while women worked. She said she liked these changes and would expect them in a relationship as an adult. I know she got a good example of that living in my household—ha!

    We also talked about some of the “polite fictions” between Americans and Japanese that she observed in her experiences here. Some of the female students said they felt very uncomfortable and nervous to speak to elderly or older adult Americans because they had no language and were not sure the rules. I assured them there was no language because we have no rules! I suggested students might experience some of that keigo in the American South but not so much in OKC. We talked about keigo in Japan and how that would be viewed in the US. We talked about how Americans are always wanting to equalize our relationships—what we are thinking and what that means to us—to deformalize or informalize settings between people.

    We also talked a little about the differences in “company” between America and Japan–relationships between universities and companies, the impact that had on our identities and how we introduce ourselves. We talked about how language changes in a work situation to widen the social gap in Japan, and does the opposite in America. My Homestay student enjoyed some of the deformalized and keigo-less language.

    I told my Homestay student about the interaction between the young new Japanese husband and the dinner invite to his female American friend. She understood the differences immediately. She also said she preferred the American way husbands and wives relate to and encourage each other.

    Much of what Lee described in these three chapters my Japanese students
    could agree with. They knew the vocabulary and history of their country along with new changes. Most of them claimed traditional roles and responsibilities are changing among young people—for the good—in Japan. The females, at least, agreed to the equal men and women laws. Those I spoke to seemed to prefer the changes and opportunities opening up for them to live and work outside the home. However, they seem indifferent, naïve…or are they just being polite? About the challenges real marriage and parenting may bring. Many students are living with single parents and do not have good examples for making marriage or living together relationships work. They do know they must work hard and that is their focus.

    • Shibu AV

      I also enjoyed watching the video on the cultural differences between Japanese people and Americans. One of the things I noticed was that we often think the difference is the way sit or eat some of the practical things, but the big difference is the way people think. Once we understand the mindset of the people our work becomes much easier. For me, it was a new experience to hear about polite fiction.

      I wrote to one of my Japanese friends, he did not respond to me yet, waiting to hear from him, we were on the Doulos ship long ago… at present, he is pastoring in Tokyo.

    • Naoko Brown

      Emily,
      I am glad you had a good talk/interview with your Japanese friend. I hope this conversation will continue and bring you more opportunity to talk about the Lord!

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR MINISTRIES IN NIIGATA

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR MINISTRIES IN NIIGATA, APRIL 24

    PRAY FOR THE MORE THAN TWO MILLION PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN NIIGATA. THE PREFECTURE RANKS THIRD IN THE NATION FOR HAVING THE FEWEST CHURCHES PER POPULATION: ONE CHURCH FOR 24,260. TOYAMA AND SAGA HAVE WORSE RATIOS, BUT NIIGATA’S POPULATION IS OVER TWICE THEIR SIZE. THAT CERTAINLY QUALIFIES IT FOR BEING THE NEEDIEST AREA IN JAPAN.

    A 2000 SURVEY SHOWED THAT 13,000 FAMILIES IN NIIGATA WERE WATCHING LIFE LINE, A CHRISTIAN TV BROADCAST. THEY HAD 328 RESPONSES FROM NON-CHRISTIANS, 48 WERE ENROLLED IN A BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE, THREE INTRODUCED TO A CHURCH, AND ONE BAPTIZED.

    PRAY THAT THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD SUPPORT ASSOCIATION WILL CONTINUE TO DRAW CHURCHES TOGETHER IN HEALTHY FELLOWSHIP. PRAY THAT JOETSU EVANGELISTIC ASSOCIATION WILL BE EFFECTIVELY ORGANIZED AND BECOME A STRONG BASIS FOR COOPERATIVE CHRISTIAN WORK.

    Dear Heavenly Father, I am grateful to you for allowing me to pray for Niigata, such a needy place regards to evangelism and church planting work, we need more workers Lord, faithful workers, please send workers into this harvest field, I pray for the church that is already there may experience and a great move of the Holy Spirit, a great revival may breakout and refresh the spirits and souls of the believers, bring them together for one cause to spread the gospel, break every chain that brings disunity among them, the church may grow and expand, you name be proclaimed, thank you Lord for the Pastors and their families, please protect them and provide them all they need, bless Niigata with a great spiritual awakening, and the entire nation would be affected by this awakening, thank you so Lord for hearing my prayer, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR MINISTRIES IN NIIGATA: Praying for the Bible School

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR MINISTRIES IN NIIGATA, APRIL 26
    Niigata Bible School, with four students, has seen a decline of students in the last few years. It has endured hardship for years, yet has nurtured and raised up many Christian workers. Rev. Satoshi Nakamura serves as the director.

    Pray that their need for staff people and resources be met.

    Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you so much for the opportunity to pray for this Bible School in Niigata, I see a great need in training brothers and sisters to carry the gospel to the unreached, I pray that you may continually bless this Bible school, many new people may join, and provide the needed staff to help with the school, thank you so much for the life of brother Satoshi and family, bless them and the protect them, they may see a great change in the institution and see the Lord is moving through this training, I believe God you will bring a great revival in this prefecture, thank you so much for listening to my prayers, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

  • 2

    Video on Hikikomori:

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    It was quite shocking to see this video, though Japan has the highest level of education, it led many young people into isolation and depression due to the demand for the highest performance in the academic sector. Even it was quite interesting to see the little ones that had to go through the tough training sessions.
    Great competition and dedication were required from the students, extra hour of studies and preparations for reaching the best academic record and that leading to the best universities, and then to the best carrier, all these demanded a strong commitment and sacrificial performance.

    After all, seeing this I understand that education itself is not the solution for many of the problems the society is facing, higher education push the young people to give up on life, many young people committed suicide, and it is leading many into wrong friendships, and families face great pressure, often unable to meet the need of the children, the parents see only their academic performances but they are least bothered about their emotional stress and heart-felt needs, which ultimately led them to end life.

    I see a great need of spiritual awakening in this great country, I believe only God can save the young people from this pressure and depression, parents and the young people alike need Christian counseling, they need to know a God who loves them with all their inadequacies, they need to know that God accepts them, not condemn them, I feel sorry for the younger generation, I hope and pray that the Lord will find a way for them!

    • Brandalyn

      I love Japan so much and admire so much of their culture, but when I am there I wrestle so much with the benefits and drawbacks of such an intense social structure of obligations or expectations or even physical conditioning. In many ways it seems harsh and sacrificing too much, yet many of the outcomes are so good, but some are so not good. I find myself going in circles and not sure where to land on it! Lord, give me your eyes to see!

    • Naoko Brown

      Shibu,
      Thank you for your comment. I know young students in India struggle with pressure to be successful. Hard working is a great virtue, but if we don’t know God’s grace and mercy, life becomes a lonely battle with no satisfaction.

  • 1

    Why Japanese and Americans Seem Rude to each Other, by Darien Reinman

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    It was quite interesting to watch this video, the differences between Japanese culture and the American culture, it was the first time I came across this phrase “Polite Fiction”, I was able to learn some new principles through this video.

    For me, it was quite shocking to see that a Japanese husband makes negative comments about his own wife, and saying something nice about his wife was considered pompous, or as self-indulgence.

    There are few things I found as similar to the Indian culture, we also have a very strong guest honoring culture, treating a guest is as treating a god, we have to do the best, the house must be prepared well, the best food we have to give them, in our case, we serve to the guest first then the host eat, especially we regard the foreigners much highly and treat them with high respect. I can identify with the people that did the pick up for Darien, that they gave him a special place to sit, and even at the dinner party, he was treated with a special concern, these are quite similar to my culture where I come from.

    It was quite interesting to see the differences, but I believe once you are in the culture and with the people you will get to know more and learn from them by your approach, I agree with Darien that we need to be careful and have a learning spirit when we are living in a foreign culture, there is always a chance to make a mistake!

    • Naoko Brown

      Yes, there is always a chance to make a mistake, but as long as we are sincere, people are forgiving!

      I know an American man who thought his Japanese female friend was not getting along with her husband, because she did not praise her husband in front of others. It is just like the story in Darien’s video! We are taught to be modest and not to brag about family members in public. On the other hand, Americans LOVE to talk about their families and show all the pictures on the phone.

  • 1

    Reading Report on the Japaneses Society:

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    It is quite shocking to see the role of Butsudan in the Japanese families and the Confucian principles molding up the family system. Interesting to notice that they believed that their ancestors listened and took part in their decision-making process, so whenever they had a family union they kept one the Butsudan altar in order to include their ancestors in the meeting.
    And also it was quite interesting to notice how they see marriage, love or intimate relationship is the important factor in marriage, even the woman’s opinion was not considered as important, like the one-man show! I believe it must have been so difficult for women in Japan! I also noticed that though there were changes in the latter period, as families turning into a nuclear family system, still some follow the ie family system.
    Uchi (inside), and Soto (outside), is quite similar to India too, people, especially the Hindus, they are very particular about the cleanliness of the house, they don’t let people come inside with the shoes, they have to wash their feet before they enter the house, they treat the house as a temple, though it differs among the Christian community in India….
    But I also noticed that the Japanese people quite reserved in inviting people to their houses due to the high level of cleanliness, this may keep people away from them, keep them into isolation from society, and you can correct me if I am wrong!
    It is also quite interesting to notice the way they train the children, though they are trained to belong to a group, many of the young people end up in depression and isolation as they go through the toughest educational system, they are not supposed to ask questions in the classroom, they are discouraged to point out good or bad in the community, kids are treated as adults! I believe they must be missing the fun of being the children!
    It is also good to notice that the women are getting more privileges in the Japanese society today, once they were asked only to take care of the house and the household things, husband and the children’s need, but it is changing, praise the Lord!
    It is quite shocking to see the growth of the Hikikomori adolescents in Japan, they are strongly pressurized by the society’s, especially their own families’ norms and expectations when they fail to meet them, they isolate themselves from the society, it is quite sad to know this, many young people end their life by committing suicide, a life without any hope and future, and we as a body of Christ have a lot to do in order to help this young community through prayers and needed Christian counseling.
    It is also quite sad to see the increase of the divorce rate in Japan, and also the problems that cause by the absence of the father at home, desperate situation of the elderly people, I think the main problem why this nation is facing this is the lack of churches in this country, someone said, “a local church is the hope of the nation”. As I read the prayer request from different prefectures, one of the main things comes out is, lack of churches, lack of Christian workers, to help these families and young people and elderly people who are longing for a change, longing for true love, the Agape love.
    This country badly needs Jesus, and only He can help them, we as the body of Christ got a great responsibility to bring the people that are in darkness into the marvelous light as 1Peter 2:9-10 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

    • Brandalyn

      Learning the laws that came in place to require people to register with a local Buddhist shrine (to stamp out Christianity) really made a lot of what I see in Japan make sense with the prevalence of “nominal Buddhist” adherence in my friends. Many have butsudans but they’re not of prime importance, almost like (but even less important it seems to them than) great grandma’s China in our China cabinets. Kind of fascinating.

  • 2

    Lily - Week 3: Japanese Society

    Amarilys Vega
    Reply

    Reading about Japanese society and see all the terms that they use to refer to something or someone, kept my attention.

    Japan gives me the impression of making so much effort to be competitive, but in the end, it is affecting the social area of the country. And we can see, the young Japanese are not willing to follow the same path.

    For many years the people have been feeling pressure for marriage, to perform well (and extra-well, I will say) in their jobs, to study in order to get a good position or job; and that is generating problems in the society, as a result, they have the otaku men, the fruiitaa, the hikikomori, the abandoned elders, the increasing rate of divorce, etc.
    It was interesting to read about the social stratification in Japan, I thought my country had many levels in the society, but wow, I was impressed with all these differences in Japan, even within their own people. And I was talking with my husband, the indigenous people always are looked down, but they are people after all, just with no the same opportunities. But it is sad such differences exist.
    Yesterday, on Facebook, I was watching a video, one Nikkeijin posted about a Japanese person speaking in the street telling that Japan is getting too many foreigners. I think Japan is now feeling the impact of their decisions; the people are getting old and the young people don’t want to get married or have children, they had to get foreigners to do their job, but they are afraid of losing their identity and culture.

    All these things help us to pray more specifically for Japan. Japan needs God urgently.

    • Shibu AV

      It is true that the race after a good job and positions and status in the society brings lots of emptiness into families and relationship, people have no time for each other, children are desperate for love, both husband and wife are desperate to run the family, and they have no time to love each other, or they lost love for each other, and young people see this and getting away from a family relationship or a marriage relationship, finally ends up in the wrong relationship, divorce, and many other social problems…only God can bring a solution, churches have to pray earnestly.

    • Naoko Brown

      4 years ago when I went back to Japan, I was so surprised to see many “foreigners” working in Japan. I had never seen a blonde lady selling food at a store front calling out loud, “Irasshai mase!!” Amazed I asked her where she was from, and she said she was from Ukraine. After that trip, whenever I go back to Japan I see more and more “foreigners”. Last time I noticed that there were more Chinese workers who speak Japanese, English and Chinese to accommodate tourists’ need. Also I noticed a prayer room in Tokyo station where Muslim people could come in and pray for their daily prayers. I hope they are also open and accommodating Christian teaching and open their heart to the Gospel.

  • 2

    Alma Bermejo- Interview

    almabermejo
    Reply

    Interview

    After reading the 3 chapters of the book I decided to interview two students from the Bible Institute. They both speak Portuguese and mix it with some Spanish. Both are Nikkei, one is born in Japan (20 yrs old, with Japanese parents born in Brazil), and the other one in Peru (His grandfather was Japanese, he is over 30 yrs of age, and his parents are from Peru)

    It was very interesting talking to them. According to their point of view, in the past, the father of the family was the “king” of the house and the mother was a “slave”. Fathers, especially the “salaryman” justify their absence from home and family’s responsibilities by saying that they are sacrificing themselves to support their family but that is just a lie. They commented that many mature couples divorce because once the husband is retired, they do not know each other and have nothing in common. For them the father is always cold and distant, he drinks alcohol every day and sleeps all day on Sundays. Some moms are very loving with their children but not all. Due to the absence of the father, children grow up without his love and therefore suffer from emotional problems.

    For them, the current biggest problem faced by children and youth in Japan is drug addiction. They told me that in schools marijuana is sold at a very low price to hook them, and once they become addicted, minors start selling it among their peers in order to keep buying it. Another way to get money is stealing and, it is common for girls to prostitute themselves with men much older than them in order to purchase it.

    We talked about marriage and they said that the book is right, in the past love was not needed in order to marry someone, actually, friends and family help the single person to meet someone suitable and it was common to get married after a few dates. “By nowadays things have changed, now you only need to like or be attracted to each other”, they commented.

    When he started talking about hikikomori the conversation took a turn, one of them, the youngest one was very quiet and when I asked his opinion on the subject he said that he suffered bullying and hikikomori in high school. He didn’t go to school for up to 6 months and this affected his life for 3 years. Now when he thinks about that stage of his life he experiences sadness, but not condemnation. He mentioned that it was God who healed him and through the process, he understood the power of the Holy Spirit, not only in the church but every day in his personal life. His testimony shocked me a lot because he is a very talented student, he plays various instruments and speaks 3 languages! While listening to him, I understood that it is urgent to teach children and young people about resilience from a biblical point of view.

    Hikikomori youngsters buy things thought the internet all the time, they said. Parents give them money or they sell whatever the family has at home online too. They eve buy drugs.

    In the future, I would like to talk to those students that understand some English. This assignment has helped me a lot. Thanks.

    • Emily Frey

      I think these issues are more prevalent than we realize. I know many times because of silence and weak opinions, I assume ambivalence from my Japanese friends and this is so far from the case. When I actually ask my Japanese friends about these serious societal issues, each one has a true and sad story to tell. We must keep praying for the young people in Japan that they find hope in Christ and purpose in God’s Word and Work.

    • Naoko Brown

      Alma,
      Wow, you had a very good interview! Thank you for sharing the information with us. I am sure they (especially the one who was bullied) felt relief after talking to you, who is a very compassionate listener.

  • 0

    Alma Bermejo - Chapters 3, 4 and 5

    almabermejo
    Reply

    The book mentions many aspects of Japanese life that I have already identified but some are new to me.

    I teach in a Bible institute and I disciple children and youth from different churches and denominations. Also, when possible, I teach in congregations from different prefectures. I have a general idea of ​​family dynamics and their problems in different regions, I also know the situation that minors are going through regarding education since I work directly with them. I have had teenagers with depression and educational problems, I have seen them suffering and being healed by God too. I know some of their struggles, even with gender identity. I have heard a lot about hikikomori and ijime as well.

    The chapter that gave me the most information is related to working life. Now I understand why the Japanese are so loyal to their companies and especially why it is so difficult for them to accept the gospel. According to the book, the Japanese cannot be loyal to two masters, and the fact someone is a Christian can brings many consequences to a person in this country. Belonging to a company is like being part of a cult or a religious group.

    I find it impressive that a company, through a boss, has so much power over its employees. When I first came to Japan and found out that parents were sent to work to different prefectures than those where their families live, I found it cruel and inhuman and couldn’t understand how they endured. This book is helping me to understand the hidden things of this society, I pray God uses this to guide me to teach the Bible in a way that applies to their context.

    I saw the video about hikikomori and I have been checking the news every day. The first week I read a lot of Japan’s history on the website that was recommended to us and I saw other videos on Youtube related to the subject.

    I have not been able to pray following the guide, I have had a lot of work and God is opening more opportunities to serve here in Japan through Zoom in these times of COVID-19.