Why Japanese?

The Largest Unreached People Group (Joshua Project, 2005)

Only 0.04% Christians!

Annual Suicide Rate: >30,000

100-300 new religion registered each year (Operation World, 2000)

The battle is fierce, Time is SHORT! Please RESPONSE, Please PRAY!!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Hikikomori, tobacco, yakusa, yasukuni. Do these have a link? If there is a spirit behind this, it clearly dominates the "government"

HIkikomori, Ijime and Tokokyohi

When I studied about
, I learned that
came before hikikomori. Hikikomori is defined as individuals who refuse to leave their parents' house, and isolate themselves away from society and famiy in a single room for a period exceeding six months. Ijime is defined as bullying in school. Tokokyohi is defined as school refusal.

What draw to my interest is the special relationship among these three phenomena. When you look closely, it is a cycle, consistently relating one another. You can read about these phenomena in Newspaper or articles. I would not make any elaboration of the symptoms and behaviors here. But there is something worth mentioning here, do you know this movie by Akira Kurosawa in 1993, Madadayo? This film tells the story of professor Uehida Hyakken-sama (1889-1971). There is a life-long attachment for the students to their professor. It contradicts with the survey today, where a tokokyohi student, said publicly that " we, tokokyohi people, are truly fed up with sucking up to the teachers" (Ishikawa et al. 1993:437). Are teachers to be blamed for tokokyohi, ijime or hikikomori?

There are more than the school factors, of course! I would recommend another movie here that give you a precise description about these people, "All About Lily Chou-chou" by Shunji Iwai.

Kobe Killer
The ghastly murder by a 14 year old "school killer" of 11 year old Hase Jun, whose severed head with mutilated eyelids and mouth was found at the schoolgate in Kobe in May 1997. He called him self "Sakakibara Seito", which means 'wine', 'devil', 'rose', 'sacred' and 'fight'. A part of his letter to the school goes:
               If I were what I had been when I was born, I would not have dared to leave a severed head at the front gate of a middle school.... But I have dared to draw public attention because I want you to see me as a real person in your imagination, although I have been, and wil remain, invisible. At the same time, I will never forget that it was the compulsory education system and the society that created that system that rendered me invisible, and I will exact revenge. (DY 29 June 1997)

Competing with the devil
If you look carefully what he had called himself, there is a spirit of evil behind that dominated him in doing such. Clearly, the system turned him into an "invisible" person, he traded his soul with the devil to exchange his existence. Guys, we are in competition with the devil today in Japan! They are grabbing the souls of the youths! Do we have enough man power to reach out to them?

In the movie of Shunji Iwai, we see people in search for paradise, New Age sneaked in just like that. If people are looking for eternal, and proof of existence, isn't Christ the best offer that we can give? Where have gone our courageous?

This is another BIG QUESTION that I would like to deal with!

Who is behind the education?

But come back to the education system now. I am writing this not to tell you that we are lack in the field, that is an old rhyme that I will keep playing anyway. But now, I want you to seriously think about this, what had made the value of school, education, teacher and student changed so much? From Madadayo to the Kobe incident? There were more as such that had happened!

The 1947 Fundamental Law of Education declared the principles of the new education of Japan, i.e. that education would no longer be used as the means to promote nationalism, and that it had to be recognised as a constitutionally guaranteed right of the people. "Educational administrators have to respect academic freedom and educational independence" (Horio 1988:256). According to Horio, there was a genuine enthusiasm among teachers who wanted to teach something to children in the poverty-stricken yet liberated social atmosphere of early postwarJapan.

But then, in 1956, things were changed. The 1948 Board of Education Law, which had guaranteed the local self-control of education and the citizen's basic educational rights was repealed by a law which provided for boards of education not elected but appointed by the governors. In 1957, the Teacher Evaluation System (kinmu hyotei) was introduced. Principals were charged with filing an annual personal report on each teacher in their school, including an assessment of "loyalty and love of education" and "how sincere, reliable, and cooperative a teacher had been". The most problematic feature of this system was " the fact that the teacher's rating remained a secret and was generally used to promote only teachers who supported the government 's educational goals". It also provided the means to punish union activists and thereby undermined the union (Horio 1994:234).

Japanese government - liberal Communist?
In the prayer meeting on October 23, Ken suddenly mentioned about the politics in Japan is typical liberal Communist. The government controls all, and only those who agreed with the voice could be promoted.

Then, I read about this when I was working on banning Tobacco issues. "In Japan, for example, the government has an interest in tobacco sales, and NRT is restricted to prescriptions for smokers who are already have smoking related disease" (Saul Shiffman, Joe Gitchell. BMJ Tobacco Control2000;9:228-236).

Blinding an eye, it just doesn't seem as a logical policy
The government seems to have something behind all these heating issues. Do you remember about the legal abortion that took more 30,000 lives a year? Which is more than the total of new borns a year.

The public and aggressive yakusa activities in Shinjuku, the kabuki-cho. The government seems just having an eye close to all these.

The visit to Yasukuni Shrine, did it begin with Junichiro? No, he did it publicly, that's how it created the issue. There is a certain spirit behind this. It gradually comes into picture by putting up piece by piece. Dr. Ozawa had called it spirit of Death.

The declining in population, and the rapid dying because of aging, the "involvement" of the government even in hikikomori, where it began from the education system. We are loosing lives!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mixing external with indigenous elements

History suggested that simple acceptance of foreign models was an unlikely outcome, and that ultimately a creative solution might emerge, mixing external with indigenous elements(Stockwin J.A., Series Editor's Preface. The Japanese Highschool: Silence and resistance. Routledge. 1999).

Anyone who study about Japan find this a truth.

Citing examples: Pure Land Buddhism, Kakure Kirishitan, Kanji etc.

Japanese is just so creative in hunger of new materials, and without "forgoing" the traditional custom, they merge the different origin together and become real "Japanese", a new sect of teaching begin to emerge.

Has the Gospel being presented in its form? Has the Japanese accepted the Gospel in its pure form? I would like to gather a feedback from the scholars and workers on the field.

When Paul and the early disciples presented Gospel in Rome, in Greek, in Darmacus. Although Christians were being persecuted, but the Gospel was free and the message of "Freedom in Christ" was undoubted. People chose to believe in Christ, or follow Him by facing the risk of "alienated" and persecution, to trade-off a bigger FREEDOM in life. Therefore, Gospel is Good News!

But why in Japan, Gospel became a secret? In the highly conform society, is there any different from the Jews society where the Pharisees was greatly exalted and in charged. Of course there are a lot of differences!

My question is how Gospel is perceived today by the general public? Or by the fellow Christians themselves? As Louis boldly confessed himself as a Christian before his clients, they regard this religion is such a "bondage". Why?

Is it the law of our sinful nature that deny the freedom in Christ? Or a tactic of Satan that block people to Christ by putting scales in their eyes? Or we had again, adopted Christ Freedom, and mixing it with our own values and perceptions, turning it into a "bondage" which we were not aware of?

Note: This blog is welcome of discussions and feedbacks which the workers would like to share about their work in the field, and doubts and concerns that would trigger another thought and concern or perhaps solution. I'm a learner, and through learning, I have a lot of questions. I hope that by jotting down the parts and pieces of what I learn will help the next runner to gain. Shalom!

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Separate Newsletter... Hmm...

I have great weeks and months ahead!

God had kept me excite with visitors! After the visit of Mag and Esther, I have Ps. Sun Yong and Job to visit me, and now I'm hosting a Singapore girl who just came over for work before she could move to her new place. Indeed, I'm blessed and this house is made into a blessing to others.

Recently I have feedback that I was not writing about myself, it makes people hard to gage what to pray for me. True enough, I tend to blend my wish list with Heart4Japan's, with a desire that you will read about what I discovered about Japan, or what He has to say about Japan. Maybe I have just too much to write or too much to say and i wish to have people who read it ... he he :-)

Well, if this is thecase, maybe I would just keep my newsletter plain with my personal updates and prayer needs. How should we do it? Hmm... maybe ... I
should send 2 newsletter, 1 for the prayer group, another for Rose.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

China Again Raise Anti-Japan Climate - Can Christian Makes A Different?

With referring to this news:

Every now and then, the Chinese Central government will try to raise Anti-Japan climate. First of all, it is a tool to keep the citizen busy, as well as to dilute the anger towards the government on several internal issues. Would the anti-Japan emotional crisis ever be resolved? Are we able to get our dear brothers and sisters in Christ in China to begin to see their "POVERTY" ? Indeed, they need Christ to intervene their lives?

And of course, introducing Christ to the Japanese, is giving them a chance to Heaven. Are we willing to bless the people who had once hurt us? Are we able to be a true disciple of Christ?

Well, they need to repent for the crime of the nation, I agree! But that would not give them credit for salvation. Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone! We need to be very aware of that.

Besides, general Japanese suffer a lot during the war, after the war, and now. There are one Japanese who suicide every 15 minutes each day! People are disillusion, and they see no meanings in lives, this is nation that needs CHRIST! May we pray that the LORD will guard our hearts and lead us into prayers. Amen.

First United Methodist Church in Memphis was torned down in fire

CNN reported that on October 6, at Memphis, the First United Methodist Church, built in 1893, was largely destroyed by the flames, which were reported shortly before 3 a.m. Its roof caved in, the steeple toppled and some of the walls crumbled onto the streets.

Rev. Martha Wagley, pastor of the church, said members of her congregation gathered on the sidewalks as the structure burned, crying, recalling various worship services and telling stories of who was "married and buried" there. Wagley said her church is a "seven day a week" church with a food pantry and other ministries to people downtown.

I would never know why the church caught a fire? But I am sure God has a plan for the church, whether He intiated it or He had not initiated it. An idea of "seven day a week" church sounds GREAT! I pray that the congregation of the church, and the people down who had been ministered to, will come together in unity, to seek the Lord, and rebuild the church.

I believe that this would also be a time of furnace to the pastor and the leaders of the church, raising funds, cleaning, mentoring and sheperding would become so difficult. An internal cleansing would take place too. Why don't we just give one minute to pray for them? Pray that our good God will shield them with His grace and mercy. Pray for wisdom to deal with all the consequences and follow ups neccessity. May the unbelieved come to believe, through the good witness of this church!

I like this particular phhrase that Wagley said, "The building is lost, but not the church."

God is good, He is worthy to be praised! For it is often troubles that bring us closer to Christ. But, be in the obedience, and we shall taste His goodness double and triple fold. Amen.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

More to Pray For!

1. Pray for the Good Work in Cambodia! Pray for the people to be ready, to be able to bring back HOPE, LOVE and LIFE back to their home, back to their neighborhoods. Pray that God will install plans for them, for His plans is prosperous!
2. Pray that the workers would have comfort by the fellowship in large with His children.
3. Pray that all hearts shall be blessed!
4. Pray that the officers will have good time in gaining experience whie working with His witnesses.
5. Pray for Sport Ministries that will come.

And here is my prayers for Makoto and Masayuki:

Lord, thank You for we know that You had been speaking to M&M. As we hear their testimony and words of praise, we know that although the devil try to break them, but You will hold us and let no one harm us! As Makoto had shared with us “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah33:3, we see a gentle spirit. As Masayuki shared with us " I entrust my lifeto Jesus. When my health completely recover I will come back to the Doulos again." we see the persistent will to serve! I thank You for being there for them.

Lord, we pray for Your mercy and kindness and righteousness to protect them from all harm. And Lord, I want to break the spirit of evil doers in hindering their ministry which You had called and caused them to do! You are the authority and power, all are under Your footstool, and now we proclaim our rights in You! When we are not healed by faith, let our soul be rest assure that You have bigger plan in this to defeat Satan! Just like Job, just like You, who died on the cross and rose again! You are Great an Almighty! We love Your name! And we praise You! And knowing that Your heart is wanting " all to come" !




We are blind to the needs of 2% of total human population a sorrow that leads from suicide linking to the unsaved nation

For every suicide it is claimed that on average six people suffer intense grief. The burden of suicide is immense. Those affected include parents, partners, children, siblings, friends, colleagues at work, and clinicians. Are we providing care to these populations?

The bereaved (The left behinds...)
Specific experiences that seem to be more common in people bereaved by suicide include stigmatisation, shame and guilt, and a sense of rejection. Feelings of guilt and blame may be linked to a quest to understand why the suicide occurred. Bereaved people may blame themselves for contributing to the death. Guilt and shame are, understandably, likely to be on the parents.

The lack of social support and increase of the isolation of the bereaved person, had brought attention to the public health practitioners. The sense of rejection associated with bereavement by suicide was increased vulnerability.

The symptoms are global, the impact of one suicide has not differed from one location to another. While the social health workers had noticed these problems, Church, are we still blind? Or make it easier, we prefer to dim it given the reason that this is too complex for us to handle?

The Needs
Each year, there are about 33 thousand people suicide in Japan alone. The bereaved would be 0.2 million a year. In past 10 years, we have more than 2 millions of Japanese suffered from mental illness and social deprivation just by suicide alone! Are we aware of the need for LOVE and HOPE in this population? Who can do more than the power of Christ?

Do we smell the Danger?
In the same time, the tension of aging rate and new-born rate is tearing the socialeconomic in Japan apart. Are we seeing the facts? Are we still standing there folding our hands, murmuring to ourselves that, "Ah, Japan is rich enough to take care of her own business!" The new prime minister in Japan had declared that he would not give in to the public pressure in visiting Yasukuni Shrine or giving honor to the death souls of the war criminals. Having the baby male hire in the royal palace had further dim the rights of women in Japan. Hikikomori, Ijime, children homicides and internet suicides are getting more prevalence, and began to spread its devilish influence to the neighboring countries. Do we see the risk? Or in a more simple word, do we smell the danger?

Time To Pray
Isn't this TIME TO PRAY? Church! He said, "the harvest is plenty, the workers are few!" He said, "Who will go for me?"

The largest APARTHEID
The time is near, Church! It is no more a personal vision about the land of Japan. If we are serious about the cry of "BACK TO JERUSALEM", if we are so serious about evangelizing China to carry out her duty to bring gospel back to the Middle East, if we are spending tons and tons of energies and money on the missions, aren't we aware that the huge lost here on this land? If Christ come tomorrow, the largest single monocultural, homogeneous people in the world, 127 millions of lives will be perish before our eyes! When we talk about nations, and REVIVAL in Asia, are we not ashame for this "neglection?" A single nation that make up 2% of the total population on earth. There is no excuse that we can deny the "Spiritual Poverty" and the urgent needs in this land!

Are we being called to pray?
If we believe that God had not called us to plow on this land, fine! But AT LEAST, can we pray for the good work that He already begun in this land? The people, the watcher that He had raised for His Kingdom? I believe that He is calling His children. I know God is stirring a fire in the nation on this matter. I found many devoted Christians had chose Japan as a place of vacation, and many love to be there for holidays. When I ask, I would hear them say, "Oh yes, it 's a country that full of idolatry, there are many social problems, but you know, unless God calls!"

Do we live for ourselves or we live for Christ once we believed? On who's grace that we are able to have vacation? Was the desire to visit Japan a mere cry of our body and soul? A random proposal? Or is it purposeful? A spiritual reminder for those who love God? I leave this to you.

I am no judge to judge anyone, all of us have to stand before Him on that day. But there is a constant cry in my heart, telling me that the work had been hindered for lack of prayers. Therefore, I pray that you see and hear it too. And LORD, have mercy on me! For I am weak to pray too. I'm strengthless, help me my Lord. I need you.

Evangelize the world will not achieved when the largest 2% is left behind the door! May God have mercy on us!

1. Clark SE, Goldney R. The impact of suicide on relatives and friends. In: Hawton K, Van Heeringen K, eds. The international handbook of suicide and attempted suicide. Chichester: Wiley, 2000: 467-84.
2 . Keith Hawton, Sue Simkin. Helping people bereaved by suicide. Their needs may require special attention. BMJ 2003;327:177-178 (26 July), doi:10.1136/bmj.327.7408.177
3. Joshua Project. (updated 29September2006)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Progress - October 06

Bible Study & Prayer Meeting
Thanks for your prayers! I am now leading a bible study and also a prayer meeting with Heart4Japan in Hong Kong every Monday afternoon. Please continue to pray for me for strength and wisdom, and being able to remain in His quietness and hear His voice. After all, praying is about searching Him deeply and getting closer to His heart.

Devil's interruption...
The devil had been trying hard to challenge God and interrupt His plans, but it wouldn't work. After 3 days staying in my windy apartment, I found a cigarette on my bed and left a burnt mark on my bed sheet. As I investigated, I found different and strange settings in each floor, and idolatry is really a bondage to many of the local residents. Then the next day, my kitchen started to " rain" as a result of improper plan of upstairs renovation. Yesterday there was no wind in my apartment and also some funny cooking smell. But no worries, God fix it all! The devil can't beat God. When God is with me, who can be against me? Amen. All things work for the good of the people who love Him! Jesus is great, hurray! God will continue to use this place to convey the message of Christ to the others!

God is Aware! He makes me glad...
God certainly knows about my needs! He always send right people at the right time! I met some deaf on Friday evening who knows how to communicate with American Sign Language after the unpleasant cigarette incident, and got my first pay to buy the necessaries in the kitchen. Then on Saturday, I was able to share Christ for 20 minutes and prayed with someone at home (though the kitchen began to rain after that). On Sunday, I was being led to this Cantonese Church of ICA, and there I was able to fellowship with the young adults and see the fireworks for more than 20 over minutes. Monday, I had a call from a friend which I missed so much, and it was really great because God must had made him to call me to encourage me to continue walking in His faithfulness! How Great Thou Art, He has great plans for me :-)

And I finished my assignment on time! each assignment would take me at least 3 full days of reading and thinking and organizing in order to complete a 800 words essay. I'm still figuring if I should do the 5000 words project or the 1500 words dissertation for the final term. I want to be effective in my tent-making business here as a student, a researcher, as well as the future missions possibilities.

Prayer Items:
1. Effectiveness in the ministry of Heart4Japan and the leading of bible study.

2. Effectiveness as a student.

3. Masa San, the 19 years old boy. Please pray for him. He was admitted to the hospital for asthma in Thailand last week. He had been a brave boy, he had not had any problems while he was in Japan, but somehow he was kept injured on the ship or at the dock in some strange ways. It could be largely due to spiritual attacks rather than his carelessness.

4. Makoto San. Please continue to pray for him as he had been caughing and having headaches in Cambodia.

5. Hoka-hoka Cafe's business has dropped based on the heavy competition. Pray that the Lord will keep His eyes on this business, as Louis had been boldly proclaiming Christ at this place, and using his restaurant as a point for meetings and fellowships. Blessed is the one who serves the Lord! Bless his business, enable Louis to be a sender or welcomer while he is waiting to go.

6. Continue to pray for Kazue and Rie for their re-adapting into Japan. Pray for strength and courage to proclaim Christ freely.

7. Pray for Heart4Japan in Malaysia and Vision Renewal in the church!

Oh, ya... HK is entering Autumn now, so it is windy and nice. But then, my started to have pimples on my face......:-(