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All articles in category Japan

Missionary Spotlight-Japan Spiritual void
December 2000
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Missionary Spotlight-Japan Spiritual void

As a newly arrived English teacher in Japan, I used to ask my students what religion they belonged to. I was surprised when the responses came, ‘I am not religious’. At first I thought these young people were so absorbed in materialism that they no longer saw religion as relevant. But in time I realised that, although my students professed to have no religious faith, their actions revealed the opposite. They were very concerned with religious matters! On the surface, people in Japan are not religious. There is no tradition of meeting weekly for worship, as in Christian churches. However, people do visit Buddhist temples...

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Missionary Spotlight-Japan Sowing in tears
December 2000
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Missionary Spotlight-Japan Sowing in tears

Like thousands of other British teenagers called to do National Service in the early 1950s, I first arrived in Japan on a troopship. We docked at Kure, a few kilometres up the coast from Hiroshima. Since Japan opened its doors to foreigners in the mid-nineteenth century, Kure had become a major shipbuilding base. When ordinary Japanese citizens travelled through it, even the blinds of the steam trains had to be pulled down, because the port contained many secrets. Now it was open to us as a result of Japan’s defeat. We were members of the post-war peacekeeping force. Thrown together from island countries thousands of...

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Missionary Spotlight-Japan
December 2000
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Missionary Spotlight-Japan

Protestant churches Protestant missionaries came to Japan from the United States and Britain during the later nineteenth century, with a clear understanding of the gospel and a zeal for evangelising the Japanese. They learnt the language and translated the Bible into Japanese, along with other Christian literature. Many people were converted to Christ. The first Protestant church was founded in 1872, and Christianity was no longer a proscribed religion from 1873. But during the early 20th century, intensely nationalistic Japanese governments became increasingly hostile to Christianity. This culminated in the passing of the Religious Organisations Law of 1939, which deprived foreign missionaries of the leadership...

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Missionary Spotlight-Japan
December 2000
DESC

Missionary Spotlight-Japan

From Buddha to Jesus I was born into a staunchly Buddhist and Shinto family. When I was three years old, my mother tried to teach me a long Buddhist prayer, but I made so many mistakes that she often scolded me and punished me by making me go without breakfast. Once a year in the winter my father, a stonemason, went up a mountain to a hot spring and sometimes took me with him. After warming up, we would go to the waterfall, with little clothing on, and recite Buddhist prayers under the icy-cold water. When I was 12 years old, my best friend suddenly...

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