Christianity in Japan is overshadowed by a long and bloody history of persecution and martyrdom. Tens of thousands of Japanese Christians were murdered during horrific acts of torture by the authorities, after the Tokugawa Shogunate government banned Christianity in the early 1600s. Although Christians in Japan don’t face this same kind of brutal persecution today, they still face considerable cultural persecution in the form of social pressure from friends and family members who can’t accept their choice to stray from traditional Buddhist and Shinto practices. For this reason, FEBC’s broadcasts are a vital source of information for people who are afraid to attend church.
Mrs K, a listener from Japan wrote; “I recently stopped reciting a Sūtra (a Buddhist scripture), Instead I pray to God with my own words because I believe in Jesus Christ now. Starting from this year, the conviction that Jesus Christ is my saviour got stronger. I still can’t believe the way I have changed. Previously I was devoted to Buddhism. But I soon realised that Buddhism is an idol.”
Churches in Japan are very small, with an average of a mere thirty members per congregation. Most of these members are especially cautious to practice their faith and do so with discretion. Locals are generally indifferent towards Christianity and view it as an unrelatable foreign religion because of the way it is portrayed by the media.
The Christianity that is practiced in Japan is heavily influenced by the Japanese worldview which opposes the idea that God is omnipresent and omniscient. This is mainly due to the belief that these attributes can be attained by any individual.
Mrs K thanked FEBC for broadcasting gospel programs and Bible correspondence programs that are helping her grow in her faith. She said; “Although I often have questions about the scriptures and don’t always agree with everything, I always believe and respect them. First of all, I believe in God as creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. I can no longer remain oblivious to the reality that Jesus redeemed me from my sins.”
We thank the Lord for invading the lives of the Japanese people through our broadcasts with the message of hope that is found in Jesus Christ. For many Japanese people who feel isolated and ostracised, our broadcasts keep them strong in their faith.