Well, It looks like we are staring down the barrel of the 2012 gun. It’s so amazing to think about all the disasters this world has encountered within just one year, from disaster to prosperity, we seem to make it though this thing we call life as well as we do. I really can not believe that it has not been almost 9 months already since the Twin Disasters in Japan that devastated their country and interestingly tourism from the west (Asia) for them has returned to pre-tsunami levels but the tourism from the east (America) is still not even 1/10th of what it was before. It makes me sad that we, Christian America (or what remains to be christian), seem to show very little compassion to their situation. I’ve heard though the grape vine that it’s so bad that the Japanese Government is considering to offer a Airplane ticket to westerners on their dime to help bring the tourism back, in exchange they want the people chosen to write blogs and stories about their trips to encourage others to go (So, Yes. Existing bloggers have a better chance of being chosen.), But interesting if the proposal gets passed by their government, entries will not be accepted until at least March.
|Wishing you a Merry CHRISTmas!|
In light of it being Christmas Eve I want write about some of the history of Christianity in Japan. The first documented christian to visit Japan would be Francis Xavier in 1549 whom was affiliated with the Portuguese Catholics. It was assumed by the Japanese that Christianity was a new religion from India for several mistaken reasons. Over the next 50 years the Christian faith had grown to very large numbers until 1603 when Leyasu Tokugawa became the shogun of Japan, he placed limitations on missionary work, which lead to the outright banning of Christianity in 1626, in part because the Shogun was concerned that Japan might end up as a colony of foreign powers, as was happening in asia already, and they were also concerned that the rice farmers would turn on the government over the rice taxes. Despite the banning, thousands of kakure-kurishitan (hidden Christians) continued to practice their faith in secret, creating statues of Maria reworked to resemble Buddhist Bodhisattva and passing the torch from generation to generation. They even hidden icons of the reworked Maria image into lamp posts and roof tiles of temples, to let Christians that were on the run that they were with fellow Christians at these locations. Some hidden Christians ran to small islands to continue there faith, in which one island colony of Christians was not even known to exist until 1890 went they made them self’s known. When Japan was reopened to foreigner access in 1853 many Christian clergymen were sent from Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches, though proselytism was still banned. After the Meiji Restoration, freedom of religion was introduced in 1871, giving all Christian communities the right to legal existence and preaching. Since World War II the number of Japanese Christians has been slowly increasing. I believe GOD has a plan for Japan and we Christians need to continue to empower these people to push forward. The thing that make me so mad about missions to Japan is missionaries have to rely on numbers to continue their work, every mouth asking for donations, this is not the way we should be going about this. I know money is important to missionaries but I feel like something is lacking when it comes to Japan. Please pray and support someone in Japan Today, I know I am.
|A Japanese Kirishitan crucifix, 17th century. Christ is depicted as Buddha-like, in the center of the cross.|
Christmas has been established as a secular holiday which was first capitalized on around 1910. Today Christmas Eve is seen as a romantic night young couples to go on a date and then on Christmas day many Japanese eat Christmas Cake (A Japanese Invention) and chicken from Home or incidentally KFC, in which has long lines on Christmas Day due to Turkey being rare is Japan and the Japanese don’t have much taste for it.