Week 4: Religion in Japan September 27- October 3

Week 4 Religion in Japan

Week Four Video (Religion in Japan and Counseling Needs)
Reading: Understanding Japan: Part Three: Religion in Japan

  • Chapter Six: Social Concerns
  • Chapter Seven: Main Religions in Japan

Visit a Japanese Church

  • (If that is not possible, interview someone who has attended.)

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.

Pray:

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

Extra Suggestions:

Questions

  • 3

    Max reflections

    Max Chau

    For this week’s readings, the thing that caught my eye most is the mushukyo, it reminded me of the mukyokai, one of the first indigenous Japanese christian movements:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-church_movement
    I feel as though the mukyokai movement may have been as a result of the mushukyo mindset as in, a mindset that would say “I love Jesus but not in anything else, including liturgy and tradition. “ I’m sure the movement is a good start for contextualizing christianity with Japan though. The readings also made me realize that the reason why Japanese don’t really follow any religion is due to past trauma from hypocrisy in the religion and strengthened my understanding that the best way to spread the gospel is to live it out.

    • Faith Minter

      I definitely can see the past trauma and hypocrisy being a reason Japanese are timid about religions too! Glad we are getting better equiped with this knowledge so that we know how better to love the Japanese people well.

    • Paxton Blunier

      I agree with you that one of the best way to spread the gospel is live it out. Such a good reminder. I believe that is huge in sharing the love of Christ with our friends. I continue to pray that we get good opportunities to connect with Japanese people and that God would use and lead all of us for His glory!!

    • Naoko Brown

      Thank you, Max! The trauma and spiritual stronghold are there in people’s hearts, but I pray each of us, followers of Christ, will be able to heal the Japanese people’s hearts by loving them and building trust to open their hearts. The mountain looks high, but we have His supernatural power!

  • 4

    Faith: Week Four Reflections

    Faith Minter

    Chapter 6:
    I had no idea the sex industry in Japan was so prevalant. I was really surprised reading about Chickan (the groping crimes on the train) as well as that 1 in 3 young women who do not go to college enter the sex industry. It breaks my heart. This country just needs Jesus and His cleansing love so much.

    I had heard about the bullying issue, as well as the child abuse prior. Yet, It doesn’t make reading it any easier. I wish counseling and reporting such things weren’t stigmatized. I am curious what the statistics for child abuse are now after/during covid?

    Having a heart for single mothers, I definitely took note that the book mentioned they as a people group specifically can struggle with child abuse as well as a gambling addiction.

    Chapter 7:
    I found reading more about the religions in Japan really interesting. One thing specifically that caught my eye was the “red pollution” in Shintoism or blood pollution. I wonder how Christ dying for our sins and His blood cleansing us sounds to those raised Shinto? Probably pretty crazy and different!

    I also found it curious how if you’ve experienced a death in the family you can’t visit a shrine for a while. Isn’t that one of the times when you need comfort and peace the most? Another thing I found curious in this section was the women not being allowed to visit the shrine during menstruation. This definitely made me think of the old testament when women had to be sent outside of the camp for being “unclean” during their menstruation.

    Another thing that caught my eye was “They aspire to have makoto, which is sincerity or a true heart” is this similar to the pure heart David prays about in the bible?

    • Paxton Blunier

      I had very similar take aways from what you had as well!! That’s an interesting point you had about wondering what the abuse cases would be during and after covid. Breaks my heart as well that people go through such hardships and trauma everyday. I continue to pray God’s peace on the Japanese. I liked what you wrote about chapter 7 and the correlations that you made with the significance of the blood that they believe in Shintoism and the blood that we read from the bible.

    • Max Chau

      Hi Faith!
      Yeah, I think Japan is probably one of the largest porn industries in the world, unfortunately. You are right Japan does need Jesus and a gospel that will transform their culture will definitely help with all these societal issues.

    • Naoko Brown

      Thank you, Faith!
      It’s a good conversational topic to ask Japanese friends why they wash hands and mouth before entering shrines and temples. With all respect, you can talk about why you are clean and pure as white as snow because of what Jesus did for us. I hope they will listen to you and open up!

    • April Buben

      Hi Faith! I also found the red pollution interesting. It all comes back to the overall cleanliness we’ve been reading. Makes me think of taking shoes off before entering the home, casting out the people of the “unclean” dissent, cleaning your hands as an act of worship when entering a shrine…even the standard of keeping your car clean or you’ll get a ticket! Cleanliness is so prevalent in Japan but it’s sad knowing that their spirits are not kept clean as well (and I mean more healthy) kind of like sweeping the dirt under the rug. Eventually it will pile up and need to be dealt with. I see this as an area to be ministered to like counseling within the families and people of Japan as well as the offering of spiritual restoration and clean slate Jesus Christ brings.

  • 3

    Paxton Week 4 Reflection

    Paxton Blunier

    I have always had an interest in the Japanese social dynamics and concerns of there country. I thought it to be very interesting how the author categorize the social and cultural problems as: sexual, children and youth, and social behavior. Reading on the statistics on how high pornography and entertainers were. I really didn’t expect that to be so high in the Japanese culture, that was definitely a surprise to me and very eye opening of the struggle in that area. Makes me want to pray more into conviction and that desire for the people to seek purity and wholeness. Also what is right. I also pray for the young girls who are targets in Japan that are used in the sex industry. May they find freedom on earth but in Christ. When reading about the youth and not having the father figure and how that can lead to abuse within the home made me sad and desiring that the youth can find people that they can rely on for some stability and guidance. After reading about the bullying and how that has lead to many suicides. I hope that one day they could have programs for children for support and help. I also pray and hope that one day counseling will not be seen as a bad or taboo thing. I found a lot of things in chapter 6 very eye opening and it helps me to know how to better pray for the people of Japan.

    When reading chapter 7 and getting a brief review of what they believe, I look forward to knowing how we can apply the gospel to our Japanese friend in a way they will understand. I talked to a couple Japanese friends this week that follow Buddhism and Shintoism. It broke my heart that they do not know the truth and how lost they are. I pray that God would soften and prepare Japanese hearts so that when they are presented with the gospel they will be ready to listen. I also look forward to getting to know more about their religions so that I am aware and know how to better bridge the gospel in a way they would understand.

    • Max Chau

      I agree that prayer for better counseling and better understanding of mental problems, bullying and such would help. Maybe even to pray for Christian organizations that deal with these issues more easily set up in Japan and expand in Japan.

    • Naoko Brown

      Paxton, thank you for your compassion and mercy. I am sure there are many Christians and non-Christians working hard to stop suicide and the sex industry. But the barriers are very high and thick. Indeed we need lots of prayers to have a breakthrough. Let’s focus on how big our God is and how all things are possible in Him!

    • April Buben

      Yes, it is very sad how much lien is an issue in Japan. What’s worse is how easily it can be accessed, through anime, love hotels, even at work which we read recently! I also pray that organizations that help in this area will be strengthened and for the whole of Japan to see the destruction it’s causing to their people.

  • 1

    April: Week 4

    April Buben

    Each week brings something new to the table and I’m so happy to be taking this class to equip me and prepare myself for the field.

    Another heavy week in regards to the darkness in Japan. I see so many areas that can be touched by Jesus followers to share the gospel and serve. Child care, counseling among youth married couples and business people, elderly care, homeless outreach, media influence….the list goes on! It’s sad but also encouraging to see the areas that can be focused on to share the gospel effectively and specifically.

    Learning about the religions was very enlightening. My jaw dropped at some of the statistics but learning and understanding more about Shintoism was what was most useful for me. Again, in anime and outside culture, Shintoism is most present. It helps me understand where the influence is driven from and how to approach and share the gospel with that in mind. More key words I found this week was, Unity, harmony, and cleanliness. Interesting how the blood of Jesus could be seen as “dirty” in a Shinto mindset but in fact it is what cleans us from our sin! This particular chapter brought up some interesting thoughts regarding sharing the gospel.

    Two in particular: “Japanese people may wonder which of the millions of “kami” Jesus represents.”

    “…the blood of Jesus does not fit within the concept of pollution Shintoists believe in.”

    I was also very shocked that both religions did not have a moral standard. Neither had an ultimate good or bad. (Other than not following the standards-but no morality) interesting sin is not present as well. So there are actually a lot of hurtles to be able to effectively share the gospel with this in mind. Learning about these differences does help me better prepare myself when I come across trying to fill in these gaps. I will continue to pray for wisdom in conversations to lead people to the true Jesus and not be led astray.

    • Faith Minter

      I am also so happy to be taking this course! I think it can definitely help prepare us for the field. Understanding the culture as a missionary is such a huge and important step that sadly not everyone takes the time to do.

      I saw many areas that we could help in as well like you said! It is definitely sad, but also good to know there are places we could be of help and ministries that are much needed.

  • 1

    Andrew: Week 5

    aepina

    The Social Concerns chapter was a real eye opening chapter about the amount of immorality going on in Japan. I did not know how much pornographic material Japan produces and the amount of sexual harassment on trains. I think all the materials are only a temporarily solution to the loneliness problem in Japan. I was especially burdened and saddened by the way students are bullied in Japanese schools. I can’t imagine the amount of pain and isolation a student must feel when bullied by a group of people.

    I thought the video was helpful to understand where some Japanese people are coming from when talking about religion. Some are skeptical because they have been told and some think Japanese are “allergic to religion”. It reminds me to be patient when engaging Japanese with the gospel because of all these potential barriers that are keeping them from Jesus. The video and chapter has encouraged me to be ready to simply explain the difference between what I believe and the different cults that are in Japan.

    • aepina

      Week 4