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Old May 13th, 2010, 06:31 AM   #1
Alex Decay
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How large is the Christian influence in Japan?

I asked my sensei(whose a native to Japan) what religion(Christianity was obviously more on my mind than any other belief) Japanese people claimed, and she said that if anything, they were either Buddhist or Shinto...Other than that, they were pretty much godless, and didn't pass religious teachings to their children, nor did they practice them regularly.
I trust her answer ofc, but I was just wondering if anyone here could divulge a bit more?
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Old May 13th, 2010, 06:42 AM   #2
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The Catholic Church celebrates both oriental and african martyrs as in people that would rather die than renounce their faith in Jesus of Nazareth.
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Old May 13th, 2010, 07:44 AM   #3
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When I went to mainland a few times, there where a few churches I saw. Even went to a Catholic church Sasebo. Other than some holidays, christianty isn't that big in Japan.
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Old May 13th, 2010, 02:57 PM   #4
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Word.
.....................
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Old May 13th, 2010, 03:05 PM   #5
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Ya know how Buddhism is seen in America? That wacky religion from another part of the world that some strange people practice but most folks don't really understand, even if they recognise the symbols.

Yeah.
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Old May 13th, 2010, 07:12 PM   #6
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Yeah, Christianity ain't big here. There are a few Christians and churches around the island down here, but they are few and far between (mostly catering to SOFA status/military personnel stationed here rather than locals).

Most of the JP people I knew over the years didn't actively practice religion. But they did go to a Shinto shrine to pray sometimes (before a big exam at school, before a big event, after somebody in the family died, etc). Many claim to be Buddhist but honestly, I can hardly tell.
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Old May 13th, 2010, 07:42 PM   #7
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^Nice.
They're godless and perverted.
Just like me.
It's destiny <3.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 08:56 AM   #8
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I have a question.

Why is it that for a country that is godless, they continuously mention 'god' in so many Anime titles? I don't get it.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 09:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Yeah, Christianity ain't big here.
Well it's kind of hard to worship someplace were all the priest are kicked out and the converts executed. Christianity was growing throughout the 15th and 16th century, partially through conviction (peasants enjoyed being equal nobles enjoyed aesthetics) and practical (the Portuguese make excellent armor and arquebuses, if I convert I get preferential treatment from the traders). That all ended with the Tokugawa Shogunate who viewed it as a threat and issued the edict I mentioned before, so it was underground for around 200 years and was allowed out during the early Meiji then was quickly repressed again.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 09:59 AM   #10
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Good thread.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spadesy View Post
Most of the JP people I knew over the years didn't actively practice religion. But they did go to a Shinto shrine to pray sometimes (before a big exam at school, before a big event, after somebody in the family died, etc). Many claim to be Buddhist but honestly, I can hardly tell.
I think the most striking difference is that there is a lot of cultural stuff, like these examples, are intertwined with daily life that they don't retain a solely religious connotation or meaning. Much of it you encounter in day-to-day life is about as religious as saying "God bless you" or "gesundheit" when someone sneezes; honestly. I'm sure Japan has its version of crazy street preachers like we have here, at least, have in the South but it's not common.

Many probably do claim to be Buddhist; Japanese funeral rites and traditions now follow a Buddhist tradition as opposed to Shinto traditions, I remember reading once. The religions were intertwined in Japan at one time, so there may be nitty-gritty details that originated in Shinto but remained in a Japanese Buddhist funeral rite.

As far as Christianity goes, I think official demographics state the Christian population is something like 5% of all religious people and probably a large chunk of the foreign populous. A girl I met in Fukuoka was Catholic and I remember riding a subway in Tokyo with a priest and a few nuns. Japan has also had several Catholic Japanese prime ministers before. But to reiterate, they are practicing Christians and not crazy street preachers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thousand Eyes
Why is it that for a country that is godless, they continuously mention 'god' in so many Anime titles? I don't get it.
Because they're not. You want a Godless Country? Jump in your time machine and enjoy your stay in Hoxha's Albania.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 11:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bernard_Monsha View Post
Well it's kind of hard to worship someplace were all the priest are kicked out and the converts executed. Christianity was growing throughout the 15th and 16th century, partially through conviction (peasants enjoyed being equal nobles enjoyed aesthetics) and practical (the Portuguese make excellent armor and arquebuses, if I convert I get preferential treatment from the traders). That all ended with the Tokugawa Shogunate who viewed it as a threat and issued the edict I mentioned before, so it was underground for around 200 years and was allowed out during the early Meiji then was quickly repressed again.
Japan, doing it right.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 12:18 PM   #13
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Not that I blame the Tokugawa Shogunate. What happened to the last religious order that the Christian church didn't think suited their beliefs?
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Old May 14th, 2010, 01:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suiko Eiji View Post
As far as Christianity goes, I think official demographics state the Christian population is something like 5% of all religious people and probably a large chunk of the foreign populous. A girl I met in Fukuoka was Catholic and I remember riding a subway in Tokyo with a priest and a few nuns. Japan has also had several Japanese prime ministers before. But to reiterate, they are practicing Christians and not crazy street preachers.
wow and I thought it was only 1% christian.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 08:55 PM   #15
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wow and I thought it was only 1% christian.
He said 5% of religious people, not 5% of the population. It may be closer to 1%. At least that is the official number I've read. However, I have also read that Christianity's popularity has grown a bit lately among students.

Japan has had some high-profile Christians. Authors Kenji Miyazawa and Shusaku Endo are Christian and they are very famous and celebrated writers. My favorite Japanese artist, Seiji Fujishiro, is also Christian. He has done many bible-themed artworks.

Christianity is huge in South Korea, but not in Japan---especially for the reason Bernard Monsha stated. Christianity grew like wildfire hundreds of years ago, but the bakufu saw it as a plan for the Franciscans and Jesuits to take over the country, so the bakufu had them martyred. They were probably right about the ulterior motives for all I know.

After the war, General MacArthur urged Protestant leaders in the US to send missionaries to Japan, and there was a slight rise in Christianity during the occupation. However, it never really took hold.

Churches in Japan that I have visited have largely been very stuffy and traditional. Young, vibrant churches like those in the US are hard to come by. The stuffy, highly structured churches fail to impress the younger crowd, so Christianity is seen as a boring, unfamiliar religion whereas Buddhism is a boring, familiar religion.

My wife is a Japanese Christian and she finds many churches in Japan to be too rooted in tradition. (ie stand up, sing from the hymnal book, sit back down, listen, stand back up, sing another hymn, sit back down, etc.) I have a hard time understanding these hymns because they are translated into archaic words. Unfortunately, it's hard to find a church in Japan that has life in it. Typically, the more progressive churches are the ones that also cater to foreigners living in Japan.
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