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!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Four Seasons Song四季の歌

We had talked about the possibility of viewing Matsuri (Japanese festival) as a possible cultural redemptive tool in last article, now it is time to take a look at the songs that Japanese people grow up with.

I came to notice this song as I watched this Japanese TV series "Aikurushi"「愛くるし」.
The title of the song is : "The Four Seasons Song" 「四季の歌」. The lyrics are as follow.

ha-ru-wo-ai-su-ru-hi-to-(wa), ko-ko-ro-ki-yo-ki-hi-to
su-mi-re-no-ha-na-no-yo-u-na, bo-ku-no-to-mo-da-chi
One who loves spring, is a person pure in heart
Just like the blooming violet, is my dear friend

na-tsu-wo-ai-su-ru-hi-to-(wa), ko-ko-ro-tsu-yo-ki-hi-to
i-wa-wo-ku-da-ku-na-mo-no-yo-u-na, bo-ku-no-chi-chi-o-ya
One who loves summer, is a person strong in heart
Just like the strong wave that breaks the ocean rocks, is my dear father

a-ki-wo-ai-su-ru-hi-to-(wa), ko-ko-ro-fu-ka-ki-hi-to
ai-wo-ka-ta-ru-ha-i-ne-no-yo-u-na, bo-ku-no-ko-i-bi-to
One who loves autumn, is a person deep in mind
Just like the poet Heine who sings the love hymns, is my dear lover

fu-yu-wo-ai-su-ru-hi-to-(wa), ko-ko-ro-hi-ro-ki-hi-to
ne-yu-ki-wo-to-ka-su-da-i-chi-no-yo-u-na, bo-ku-no-ha-ha-o-ya
One who loves winter, is a person big in heart
Just as the earth that thaw the lingering snow, is my dear mother.

I'm not sure how popular is this song in real life, but as I did a quick search with Japan google, it seems that it is very much like a common song that everyone learned when they were kids. I wonder how many Japanese today still sing this song? Do you have any idea?

Values are embedded in culture. Songs that we sang when we were kids, lessons that we took at early school phase, were to shape our values and perspectives. This is the same in every culture.

What do you see in this song? What are the values that struck you? Are these values similar to what was written in the bible? Why? How can we use this song as a bridging approach? Do think about this... and feel free to share! ^^ Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Ark of God

Matsuri (Festival) is a time of celebration: fun, joy, victorious and glory.

Doesn't this picture remind you something that you are familiar with?

2Samuel6:14-15, David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. The bible told us that was a grand occasion. It is about the return of the ark of God with His people.

Would it be the similarity of this account of bible event with matsuri, a tail of what the Creator had left for His people as a trail to salvation?

Who will speak to them, of this host of celebration which they had celebrated for thousand years?


This post is taken directly from Ramone's blog ~ Art for Jesus

If there is going to be a fellowship of the Ring in Heart4Japan, Ramone would probably be Legolas Greenleaf. Prince of Elf, that could see and hear spiritual things and have an understand of it.


By Ramone - November 29, 2009
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'"

- Galatians 3:13

"He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed."

- 1 Peter 2:24
When my friend Roseline Yong stayed with us here in Osaka, she mentioned how Japanese "omikuji" reminded her of our sins on the cross. Omikuji are little fortunes that people go to get at Shinto shrines every New Year's. If the fortunes are bad, they are tied to and left on trees at the shrine's grounds, and the "bad luck" is left behind there on the trees.

I had not been deeply impacted by the comparison with the cross. However, I had made a picture called "
My Sins" and had displayed it at a church art show in early November. (The picture had come from a vision of my sins on red cards being posted one after another to the cross. In that vision God had utilized something a mission director had done with us years ago at a retreat: she had us privately write our sins on a little red piece of paper -- as many sins as we could think of, remember or confess. And then one by one we nailed our sin cards to the cross. In the end the cross had all these red cards on it.) After I displayed that church and was praying about sharing grace in Japan, I felt impressed by the Lord to make this Japanese version, using omikuji as Roseline had spoken of.

The comparison is not exact, however, the fortunes that are left on trees are bad ones... bad luck, bad events, bad things. In a sense,
curses. Christ became cursed for us that we might be free in Him. I pray this helps at least one person understand even just a little of what He has done for us.