are japanese people christians

are japanese people christians插图


How many Christians are there in Japan?

Statistics from the Agency for Cultural Affairs report that there were 1.9 million Christians in Japan as of December 31, 2017, amounting to 1.5% of the Japanese population, which is 126 million. Christianity first came to Japan in 1549 during an era of turmoil known as the Warring States period (1467–1568).

What is the majority religion in Japan?

Religion in Japan manifests primarily in Shinto and in Buddhism, the two main faiths, which Japanese people often practice simultaneously. According to estimates, as many as 80% of the populace follow Shinto rituals to some degree, worshiping ancestors and spirits at domestic altars and public shrines.An almost equally high number is reported as Buddhist.

Are there Christians in Japan?

Nearly all known traditional denominations of Christianity, including Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodox Christianity are represented in Japan today. There are no restrictions on evangelism in Japan.

How religious are Japanese people?

Religious Beliefs In JapanBuddhism. Buddhism arrived in Japan at some point around the middle of the 16th Century,having come to Japan from the Kingdom of Baekje (18 BC-660 AD) on the Korean …Irreligion. Japan almost always ranks as one of the most highly irreligious countries in the world. …Structured Shintoism. …Christianity. …

What was the main driving force behind Christian proselytization in sixteenth-century Japan?

The main driving force behind Christian proselytization in sixteenth-century Japan was the Society of Jesus. To help them continue their missionary activities efficiently and to support and expand the Christian community in Japan, the Jesuits were deeply involved in the “Nanban” trade between Japan and Europe. This involvement in economic activities brought huge profits to certain daimyō (feudal lords), but also involved the missionaries in the supply of weapons. The missionaries were not simply men of religion, but political figures with an important economic and military influence. They rapidly became a powerful faction that was impossible to ignore.

How did Christianity help Japan?

How Christianity Helped to “Teach” Japan to Modernize. When Christian missionary activities once more became possible in Japan following the lifting of the ban in the second half of the nineteenth century, large numbers of missionaries started to arrive in the country again—this time mostly Protestants.

How long has Christianity been banned in Japan?

As I have already mentioned, the Jesuits came to Japan in 1549, and the ban on Christianity began just 60 years later, lasting for nearly 260 years. Protestants and Russian Orthodox Christians also started to enter Japan starting from the second half of the nineteenth century, but during the Russo-Japanese War and World War II, these “Western religions” came under pressure from official disapproval again. It is only since the enactment of the current Constitution following World War II that true freedom of religion has been guaranteed in Japan. In that sense, ordinary Japanese people have only been in contact with Christianity for around 150 years. Perhaps a wider-ranging, more comprehensive engagement with the religion still lies in the future.

How many followers does Christianity have in Japan?

Christianity is the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.4 billion followers, or nearly one-third of the world’s total population. But in Japan, Christians are a tiny minority.

Why was Christianity important to Japan?

Some Japanese intellectuals at the time believed that Christianity had played a key role in inculcating moral values into Western societies and helping them develop into powerful, modern states. Many believed it would be a good idea for Japan to introduce the religion too, as a way of catching up with the West. ōkuma Shigenobu (1838–1922), the founder of Waseda University, also valued Christianity as a means of moral education, though ultimately he did not regard it as anything more than a useful fiction. Japanese people wanted practical teachings that would help Japan to develop into a modern, civilized country, and this led to a strong tendency to regard Christianity from the limited perspective of education and public morality.

What religions were intolerant of the missionaries in Japan?

The missionaries were also extremely intolerant of Japan’s existing religions, regarding Buddhism, for example, as a kind of heathen idol-worship propagated by the devil.

When was Christianity first preached in Japan?

The Economic and Military Impact of Early Missionaries. Christianity was first preached in Japan in 1549, when Francis Xavier (1506–52) arrived with a group of missionaries in Kyūshū. They enjoyed considerable success in making converts, and the number of Christians increased dramatically in the early years.

How do Japanese treat religions?

In many ways, Japanese people treat religions – domestic and foreign – in much the same way as they do with fads and traditions from overseas – borrow, adapt and use aspects when necessary or convenient. A good example of this is the popularity of “Christian-style” weddings in churches and hotel chapels.

What is Confucianism doctrinal?

Confucianism is doctrinal in the sense it states how people are to behave in society. Society is to be very orderly and don’t go against these expectations. Look at the use of honorifics in East Asia which includes Japan. Japans expectations of behavior can be like religious dogma. "Do this and don’t do that".

Why are Japanese people not religious?

They are not conscious of religion because of the way Japanese culture and religion is intricately connected. The Japanese people are not the keenest religious people. It’s complicated and they don’t have a religious mind like Christians.

When do Shinto priests bless baseball teams?

Furthermore, Shinto priests are always on hand to bless baseball teams before spring training begins, and at ground-breaking ceremonies for new buildings, or when machinery or vehicles that have been in use for a long time, are retired.

Is shrine visit a religious tradition?

While some Western observers would call these observances superstitious, I find them to be a very deep-rooted part of Japanese society. Shrine visits are a cultural tradition rather than a religious observance, especially when you consider that neighborhood shrines have been an important part of Japanese communities for centuries.

Do Japanese believe in deity?

Most Japanese I know say they do not believe in a deity or profess to follow any religion. Yet they go in droves to shrines during O-bon and New Year. Prayers are written on votive tablets at shrines on the eve of important exams, Coming-of-Age Day, a job interview or in the quest for a suitable husband or wife.

Is Japan a religious country?

Japan has so many temples and shrines including many events and festivals of a religious nature therefore it might seem obvious that they are religious. However surveys will indicate that they are not religious meaning they don’t practice or are devoted to any specific religion.

Why was Amakusa important to Japan?

The isolated location of Amakusa and the fact that the islands are close to where Europeans used to enter Japan in the old days, allowed missionaries to convert many inhabitants and even the local lord to Christianity before the religion was banned in the early Edo Period. Today there are numerous museums and churches spread across the islands which reflect this religious heritage.

Where was the Shimabara Rebellion?

Just north of Amakusa, the Shimabara Peninsula was also ruled by a Christian lord into the early Edo Period. The peninsula later became the site of the Shimabara Rebellion, a major uprising by peasants from Amakusa and Shimabara – many of whom were Christians – that was forcefully ended by shogunate forces at Hara Castle .

What is the oldest Christian church in Japan?

Considered the oldest Christian church in Japan, the Oura Catholic Church in Nagasaki was constructed in the last years of the Edo Period. It initially catered to the community of foreign merchants in the city.

How many Japanese are Christians?

Today, about one to two million Japanese are Christians (about one percent of Japan’s population ), and churches can be found across the country. Many Christians live in western Japan where the missionaries’ activities were greatest during the 16th century.

Where did Christians live in Edo?

The remote Goto Island chain was another place where many hidden Christians resided during the Edo Period. After the ban on the religion was lifted, large numbers of churches were built on the islands, especially on the most populated islands of Fukue and Nakadori .

What are some of the most popular customs in Japan?

A few Christian customs that have become popular among the non-Christian population in modern-day Japan include Christian wedding ceremonies, where brides wear white wedding dresses and where the couple exchange their vows at wedding chapels. Christmas Cake.

What did the missionaries do in Japan?

The missionaries were eventually successful in converting considerable numbers of people in western Japan, including members of the ruling class. Christianity could be practiced openly, and in 1550, Francis Xavier undertook a mission to Kyoto to seek an audience with the Emperor. However in 1587, in an era of European conquest and colonization, …

Why were Christians martyred in Japan?

Many Christians were martyred as they refused to recant or cooperate with these requirements. After an extended period of isolation, Christianity was again established in Japan following the opening of the country during the Meiji period and arrival of Protestant missionaries in 1859.

How many Christians were martyred in 1597?

Notable events included the martyrdom through crucifixion of 26 Christian believers, ranging in age from 12 to 64 years of age, in 1597 which took place in Nagasaki. The authorities then proceeded to implement systematic persecution using tools such as requiring the population to report Christians, offering rewards and setting up small communities which were required to inform on each other. Many Christians were martyred as they refused to recant or cooperate with these requirements.

Why was the Gospel welcomed?

Initially the gospel was welcomed by nobility and ordinary people, in part because of the arrival of new weaponry and technology from the Portuguese, but also as the people responded to the gospel message with enthusiasm.

Do Japanese listen to the gospel?

Many Japanese are open to hearing the gospel and are genuinely interested, however traditions from Buddhism (including ancestor worship) and Shintoism (emperor worship and other rituals) mean that conversions and baptisms have been few, and the church has sadly not grown at an appreciable rate.

Portuguese Missionaries and the Shogunate

Christianity was brought to Japan in 1549 by Francisco Xavier, who was sent there as a Portuguese missionary. It was around the same time when the first gun was brought into Japan by the Portuguese.

Christian Rebellion

Secondly, he wanted to have all the power to himself, and a foreign religion was the last thing he could use if he wanted to establish that. And thirdly, he got angry about the fact that some Japanese people were sold as slaves by the Europeans.

Seclusion Policy: What Happened to Christianity?

In 1639 Japan closed the country for nearly all foreigners, seclusion that eventually lasted more than 200 years. The policy meant that Japan stopped trade with all European countries in order to stop Christianity, except for the Netherlands after the Dutchmen promised that they would never spread Christianity in Japan.

Opening Up Japan

In 1853, American Commodore Mathew Perry came to Japan with his (in)famous black ships to ask the Japanese to open up the country for trade with the Americans. They came to Japan because they were looking for a port to refuel for their ships, mostly for the purpose of whaling. Besides, the Americans were looking for a base close to China.

Christianity Brought Japan Historical Churches

Because of its history with hidden Christians, Nagasaki’s population is around 4% Christian while only 1% in other parts of Japan are registered as Christian. The oldest existing Catholic church in Japan is Oura Church (its official name is Basilica of the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs of Japan) in Nagasaki.

Church Weddings: Are They Christianity Related?

Fast forward to the 21st century, and a very interesting phenomenon has popped up in Japanese weddings. Besides the solemn Shinto or Buddhist ceremony, many couples also opt to have a ‘church’ or chapel wedding. Fake churches and chapels have popped up all over Japan, usually in picturesque locations with a nice backdrop for the pictures.

Christmas in Japan

The western-style wedding industry isn’t the only Christian tradition that found its way into Japan’s modern traditions; Christmas has become a pretty big deal in Japan in the last 30 years or so. If you come to Japan in November or December, you will find many Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, and Christmas illuminations all over Japan.

What is the difference between tatemae and honne?

Honne refers to ‘informal, personal reality in disregard of social parameters’, while tatemae means ‘official, public and socially required or politically correct.’. Honne is an opinion or an action motivated by a person’s true inner feelings, whereas tatemae is an opinion or action influenced by social norms.

What is corporatism in Japanese culture?

Corporatism is central to the Japanese worldview. Mutual benefits are sought between the group and individual and harmony is a regarded as a crucial element of life. Unless one grasps the importance of this sense of belonging to a group, it is difficult to understand the mentality of a typical Japanese person (2).

What is the Japanese view of truth?

In Japanese culture truth is often viewed as relative. The Japanese evaluate information on the basis of its relational context (5). Fukuda calls this contextual logic: no religion, no view is taken to be absolute. Throughout their history, the Japanese have developed an important way of allowing the religions of Shinto, Buddhism and Confucianism to co-exist. This is called shinbutsuju shugo a harmonious fusion of Buddhism, Shinto and Confucianism initiated by Prince Shotoku (574 A.D. – 622) (6). It is difficult for the Japanese to accept the concept of an absolute God, presented by an absolute gospel and pointing to a paradise exclusively for those who choose to accept the absolute gospel. But it is also not considered acceptable to think that there is only one absolute law written in one absolute and infallible word of God. In fact, being committed to this places one outside the Japanese worldview. Even the concept of a creator God who is independent of all things is external to it. Thus, Christianity with its message of absolutism is only accepted with difficulty.

What are the three major groups of Japanese people?

Three major categories of groups are vital for a Japanese person. He or she must belong to: family and neighborhood and have some sort of vocational affiliation such as a company or a school, college or university. In Japanese culture, decisions are made based on corporatism within and between these categories. Personal decisions are not allowed to disturb the harmony of these groups even when such decisions are logically beneficial to the individual decision maker. Here the concept of wa becomes important.

Why is it important to work in Japan?

Working in Japan requires not only doing your job skillfully, but also fitting in with the company culture. In other words, the Japanese feel it is important to love their company. In Japan, it is believed that the morals and mental attitudes of the individual have an important bearing on productivity.

Why was the Ie system abolished?

In the new constitution, the family was defined as a nuclear unit rather than a collection of various family units and women were treated equally so that they enjoyed the same rights as men. I personally believe one of the reasons why the ie system was abolished was to discourage veneration of ancestors. However the ideas behind ie system are still put into practice especially in rural areas. An ideal ie is a harmonious relationship between the visible and invisible members of the family, both living and dead.

Why is the concept of Wa important?

Here the concept of wa becomes important. Wa recognizes that people are not one, yet it expresses the desire to be one by practicing and respecting harmony. In other words, although people are distinct individuals, in Japanese culture, it is generally best if they want the same thing.

What is discipleship in Japan?

And discipleship is what turns us into the kind of people who can deal with “moments of truth,” tests like a Japanese funeral that force us to take a stand for Christ. It’s not just Christianity in Japan, of course. Every culture presents its moments of truth.

How to make disciples who glorify Christ?

It’s to make muscular disciples who glorify Christ by boldly following Him wherever He leads. Only discipleship can shape the type of Christians who are able to hold fast in their moment of truth, able to take a deep breath, turn toward the audience, and bow.

Why is church planting important?

It is also because the community of a church is the single greatest tool we have for discipleship, the process of being transformed to become more like Christ.

Do Japanese Christians pray to the dead?

Most Japanese Christians stop praying to the dead and other spirits when they start following Jesus. According to Stella Cox, a longtime TEAM missionary in Japan, funerals are often big social events akin to a wedding. They can draw large crowds of family and friends.

Is refusing to bow to the dead an act of faith?

With so many eyes watching, refusing to bow to the deceased isn’t just an act of faith , it can invite shame and ostracism from offended family and social groups. And that’s no small thing in a society that places such high value on social acceptance. “When you go to a funeral, you have to worship the dead.

Who is Andy Olsen?

Andy Olsen. Andy Olsen is a former senior writer and editor at TEAM . He is especially interested in exploring and sharing the metrics and best practices of great missions. Before joining TEAM, Andy served as Director of Communications for Latin America Mission.

Do Japanese people pray at funerals?

Men pray at a shrine in Japan. For Japanese Christians, choosing not to pray to the dead at a funeral can be a defining moment. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM