The Bible commands followers of the Lord to tell the world about him and of his unfathomable love. As such, it is the duty of believers around the world to spread the gospel wherever they are called, whether it be their hometowns or on the other side of the world, in places where religious freedom is celebrated or where there is great animosity towards the faith. Today’s world is in desperate need of the Lord, and a country that exemplifies this immense need is Japan, where Christians are among the vast minority.
Located in east Asia, the country of Japan is composed of 4 main islands and hundreds of smaller ones that exist in the Pacific Ocean. Its capital, Tokyo, belongs to the largest of the four main islands, Honshu, and is one of the most populous and advanced cities in the modern world. As a whole, Japan contains 127 million people, as of 2018. Encyclopedia Britannica describes Japan as an “ethnically homogeneous” country, as the Japanese make up 98% of the population.
The next largest ethnic groups in Japan are made of Koreans and Chinese, which compose only 0.5% and 0.4% of the entire population, respectively (“Japan”). Many of the Korean immigrants in Japan migrated or are descendants of those who migrated to the country in World War II. At that time, South Korea was territory of Japan, and many of the migrants were forced to be laborers. Following the war, Koreans were subject to racism and discrimination, which continues to be an issue today. A similar issue exists between the Chinese immigrants and the Japanese; there is much tension between the two races, and, as a result, the Chinese also experience discrimination.
Before missioning to a foreign country, it is important to study its culture, and Japan’s culture is one that is especially rich. One important thing to consider about a country’s culture are the various social customs that are unique to that country. For example, when greeted in Japan, one might receive a bow or a handshake, whether the person in question is saying hello for the first time or is a familiar acquaintance. When invited to meet with someone, whether it be at his or her home or at a restaurant, it is customary to bring a small gift to express appreciation (this might include baked goods, flowers, etc.). In social interactions, first names are not often used unless the exchange is between family or good friends. Other customs that may seem strange to foreigners include, but are not limited to, the avoidance of the number four, the rudeness associated with blowing one’s nose in public, and the lack of importance placed on tipping.
Other unique aspects of the Japanese culture include the arts, entertainment, and food. Traditional Japanese art is intended to capture the simplicity of nature, and this is encompassed in their paintings, literature, music, and dance. Gardening is also considered an art form and is widely practiced across the country. In the world of athletics, Japan participates in sports that are appreciated internationally, such as baseball and soccer, but also practices sports that are more traditional and unique to the country, including sumo wrestling and various forms of martial arts. Much like any other country, Japan also has distinct cuisine. Perhaps the most famous Japanese dish is sushi, but they are also known for their tofu, savory pancakes, their meat and vegetable dishes, and the use of soy sauce, wine, and vinegar in their cooking.
There are many historical landmarks in Tokyo that reflect Japan’s unique and rich history. One such place is the Sensoji Temple is the most ancient and most popular temple in Tokyo. It was built in the seventh century in honor of the Buddhist goddess Kannon. Outside the temple, there is a street of vendors selling food and souvenirs. The temple itself is a beautiful pagoda and is open to the public. A more modern historical site is the imperial palace, which remains as the home of Japan’s royal family today. The original building was erected in the nineteenth century and was unfortunately destroyed in World War II, but was rebuilt almost identically to the original following the war. The building reflects Japan’s distinct architecture, and the grounds contain traditional Japanese gardens. Japan also has a variety of museums containing displays of Japanese culture, one of which being the Tokyo National Museum. This museum is the largest in Japan and it has several buildings. It holds many collections significant to the country’s history.
It is also especially important to understand the religions of a country before missioning there. The most widely-practiced religion in Japan is Shintoism, followed by Buddhism. Shintoism is a polytheistic religion native to Japan in which flora, fauna, and historical figures are worshipped as gods. These gods, or spirits, are called kami. Shintoism has been greatly influenced by Buddhism, and, as such, it has adopted many Buddhist gods as well, much in the way the ancient Roman religion modeled its gods after the ancient Greek gods. It is believed that man is created and made in the image of the kami, who are holy, and therefore man is also holy, but to uncover this holiness, the impurities must be removed from one’s self. Shintoism, unlike the vast majority of religions, does not have an established founder or an official set of scriptures explicitly stating their beliefs, but their doctrines have remained nevertheless. Followers of this religion believe strongly in the importance of honesty and prioritize this virtue above all others. Shintoism has played a huge role in shaping the Japanese social beliefs and values into what they are today, and even those who do not identify as followers of the religion still believe in the same moral values emphasized in Shintoism.
Buddhism, the other major religion of Japan, was founded in India between the fifth and seventh centuries by a man named Siddhartha Gautama. Essentially, the central doctrine of Buddhism is to become “enlightened.” This means reaching a place of liberation from the suffering of this world by living a selfless life. Once one has reached this state of enlightenment, he or she is released from this world into Nirvana, which is the Buddhist afterlife.
Christians compose only 1.5% of those who practice a religion in Japan. “…they are afraid of disturbing human relationships of their families or neighborhood even though they know that Christianity is the best,” states Dr. Minoru Okuyama, a Christian who runs a training center for missionaries in Japan (Vu). The Japanese value peace in their relationships, and disrupting in their relationships is a common fear among them. Historically, Christianity was banned in Japan during the seventeenth century, and the ban was not revoked until 1873. Today, there still are no laws prohibiting the practice or preaching of Christianity, but the country remains a secular country nonetheless.
Another crucial step in planning a trip is preparing for costs of plane tickets and accommodations. According to American Airlines, a roundtrip plane ticket for one adult from Albuquerque to Tokyo with one layover, assuming it is purchased on November 27, 2018, the departure date is November 30, and the return date is December 7, costs $1,965. As for lodging, to stay in the APA Hotel and Resort Nishishinjuku Guchome Eki Tower in Tokyo costs $677 for seven nights. Another option is a hostel, which is more of a dormitory setting with communal bedrooms and bathrooms. Uno Ueno, listed on Hostelworld.com, is a hostel in Tokyo and has a nightly cost of $18.78, so seven nights costs around $131.46. Both of these options have decent ratings, which is a good thing to take into account when planning a trip. Travelling is expensive, and researching to find the most practical option is very important.
In summary, evangelism is a duty of all believers, and some are called to spread the gospel to foreign parts of the world. An essential part of missioning to a foreign country is preparing properly, and this includes understanding the country’s culture, religion, and taking into account the cost of the trip. Japan is, in short, a beautiful country in need of the Lord, and, as such, is a potential destination for prospective missionaries.
Cite this The Country of Japan Is Composed of 4 Main Islands
The Country of Japan Is Composed of 4 Main Islands. (2021, May 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-country-of-japan-is-composed-of-4-main-islands/