We have an incredible open door to help with an outreach in Japan mid March. I did some research on Japan, her spiritual condition, and how she is progressing after the natural disaster, and the Fukushima Nuclear power plant meltdown. I’ve also included excerpts from some research I’ve done on a probable Israel-Japan connection.
The population of Japan is either 1 to 2 percent Christian. The amount of missionaries in Japan is very small and there is a church for every 35,000. Many areas do not even have a church. Here is a short report from Chris ——— who is heading up this outreach and went on a preliminary fact finding trip there. The glaring need for outreach there is obvious in his report.
I met with ministries from Tokyo and Nagoya Japan. When arriving there I found
everywhere I went ministers were excited that someone would answer the
call to this basically unreached people group. They really are like
Jesus said, “Sheep without a Shepherd.”
YWAM was my host and they showed me the great need with the Tokyo area.
While I was there, 8 people committed suicide by jumping in front of the subway trains.
Depression, high stress, and addictions are tormenting the populace of
Japan. Gambling, porn, manga, and drunkenness are problems, basically anything to
distract them from their desparete need for a Savior. People on the trains
will not talk to any one and not even make eye contact. The subway is
silent and yet people want to talk. Many are searching. I shared the
Gospel with people on the bullet train. One the men I talked with had
never heard of the name Jesus.
When I was in Nagoya, the Pastor took me to a restaurant that had a
nativity scene where different figures bowed before the Manager.
When I ask one of the workers what it was, he just said it was a
Christmas Decoration meant to make you happy. He had no idea who Jesus is.
The Earthquake, Tsunami, and Reactor Meltdown:
It was difficult to find much recent information on Japans recovery as most publications stopped with a six month follow-up, and it has now been 9 months. The hardest hit coastal areas are still struggling to rebuild. It is hard for both companies and individuals to start over after losing everything.
Six months after: Some 20,000 people were dead or missing. More than 800,000 homes were completely or partially destroyed. The disaster crippled businesses, roads and infrastructure. The Japanese Red Cross Society has estimated that 400,000 people were displaced, and over 125,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed. All of this over 18 prefectures (similar to counties in the USA).
Unemployment benefits will end soon for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. These benefits have already been extended twice, and the Japanese government is concerned that extending them again may reduce incentive for the welfare recipients to look for work. The loss of these benefits could have a serious impact on people in badly damaged coastal areas, where reconstruction efforts have been delayed (You can’t fish without a boat, can’t be a waitress when there’s no restaurant, or do business with no building). Many survivors of the disaster have been relying on unemployment benefits as their main source of income.
Right after the tsunami Several weeks later as debris was removed Six months later, debris is clear but rebuilding is minimal
The meltdown of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants I and II is the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. The plants were declared stable by Japanese authorities on December 16th last month. It will be decades before the area around the plants will be decontaminated and the plants themselves be completely decommissioned. A 12 mile area around the I plant and 6 1/2 mile area around II were evacuated, and are still contaminated. As of July 2011 traces of radioactive material have been detected in a range of produce, including spinach, tea leaves, milk, fish and beef, up to 200 miles from the nuclear plant. Inside the 12-mile evacuation zone around the plant, all farming has been abandoned.
Our own family connection with Japan:
Mark’s grandfather immigrated from Japan to the United States. He worked in a coal mine and saved up to send to Japan for a wife. He was trained in cultural dance with Samurai swords. Mark is third generation Japanese American, and that is why our daughters have a bit of an Asian look. Our last Israel trip we were in Netanyah worshipping with a congregation there. It happened to be a Shabbat when the leader of their sister Messianic Congregation in Japan was visiting with his son and a couple of elders. Mark was able to meet them, though their time was very limited. There is a small Messianic Movement in Japan, we don’t know how many congregations there may be, but we would like to visit them if possible.
Our Needs For The Trip:
We will need airfare for each of us, around 1,000 dollars apiece. Ground expenses for two weeks: Living and food expenses 350 dollars each (we’ll be living in the YWAM compound). Transportation about 190 dollars each. Approximately 130 dollars each for odd expenses. This totals to 8,350 dollars for the trip.
If you want to partner with us for this outreach please go to http://zemerlevav.org/giving to donate. We will be updating on our website blog, and through news flashes as things progress. If you are not on our news list and want to be in touch go to http://zemerlevav.org/ and sign up on our home page.
For our Messianic bretheren, some fascinating excerpts from some research I’ve been doing on an Israel/Japan connection in ancient history.
Below is an excerpt from an article by an Orthodox Rabbi:
While there is no explicit mention in our sources of the Tribes reaching Japan, the Japanese/Shinto tradition seems to have some remarkable similarities with Judaism.
For one, a certain Japanese mythology closely resembles the Biblical chronology: The Patriarch of the Japanese nation comes down from heaven, replacing another, while that other is making preparations.[Jacob received the birthright instead of Esau, and the blessing while Esau was preparing food.] The Patriarch falls in love with a beautiful woman but her father refuses unless he marries her older, less desirable sister. [Lavan prevented Jacob from marrying Rachel until he married Leah first.] The Patriarch and his desired wife have a son who is bullied by his older brother and forced to the country of a sea god. [Jacob and Rachel had Joseph who is sold by his older brothers to Egypt on the Nile.] There, he attains power with which he troubles his older brother concerning famine, but eventually forgives him.[Joseph rose to power and tried his brothers regarding the famine until he forgave them.] In the meantime, the Patriarch marries the daughter of the sea god, having a son whose 4th son conquers Japan.[Joseph married Osnat, daughter of Potifar, and had Ephraim, whose 4th son Joshua conquered Cannan.]
Also, the Shinto festival of Ontohsai resembles the Sacrifice of Isaac. In the Biblical event, Abraham leads his son up Mount Moria and binds him as a sacrifice on a wooden altar. While the knife is in Abrahams hand, an angel intervenes and instructs him to offer a ram in Isaacs stead. Similarly, in the Shinto festival, a boy is led to the top of a mountain called Moriya-san. He is tied to a wooden beam on a bamboo carpet as a priest symbolically approaches with a knife. Then a messenger appears, the boy is released and a sacrifice provided by the god of moriya is offered in his stead.
Furthermore, a Shinto shrine resembles the ancient Jewish Temple. The entrance to the shrine is in the East while the shrine is in the West. There is a laver near the entrance for washing hands and feet. The shrine is comprised of a courtyard, an inner holy section, and an innermost holy of holies. The holy of holies is elevated above the holy section by stairs. Worshipers pray in front of the inner holy section, but only the priest can enter the holy of holies, and only at special times.
A Japanese Omikoshi, resembles the Ark of Covenant. It is similar in size, overlain with gold, with gold winged figures on top. It is carried on the shoulders with poles, while accompanied with song and dance. The carriers must immerse themselves beforehand, and a special ceremony whereby the bearers carry the ark through a river is reminiscent of the Biblical description of the Jews carrying the ark through the Jordan river on their way into Israel.
There are other similarities as well. The Japanese Shinto priests robe often has cords hanging from its corners, resembling Jewish tzitzit. Also, a certain type of Shinto priest called a yamabushi wears whats called a token, a small black box on the forehead between the eyes, tied with a black cord behind the head. This closely resembles Jewishtefillin. Interestingly, a Shinto legend tells of a ninja who sought a certain yamabushi named Tengu in order to receive supernatural powers. Tengu gave him a tora-no-maki, a scroll of the torah, which gave him special powers. Also, mizura, an old Samurai hairstyle resembles Jewish side locks. A statue of a Japanese Samurai dating from the 5th century shows long, curly locks of hair in front of the ears.
(His source was cited as: Arimasa Kubo, The Israelites Came To Ancient Japan)
Here is an excerpt from a fascinating article onwww.nova.com
Daber: in Hebrew, to speak.
Daberu: Japanese for chatting.
Goi: non-Hebrews for foreigners.
Gai’Jeen: prefix for a foreigner, a non-Japanese.
Kor: cold in Hebrew.
Koru: to freeze in Japanese.
Knesset: Parliament in Hebrew.
Kensei: Constitutional government in Japanese.
These are among the thousands of words and names of places with no real etymological meaning in Japanese. And they all correspond with Hebrew words. Even the Kings have similar names. The first known king of Japan, who was named Osee, ruled around 730 BC. This king has been identified with the last king of Israel, Hoshea, who died around the same time, at the time of the Assyrian exile of the ten tribes from Israel. The holy Japanese shinto temple strongly recalls the ancient holy Isrealite temple, which housed a holy of holies section and several gates. Several artifacts in Japan have been traced to Assyrian and Jewish sources, among them, a well in Koryugi with the words “well of Israel” inscribed on its side.
It has also been suggested that the carts of Otsu and Kyoto are of ancient biblical origin, as they are different from any others in Japan. Might the ancient Israelites and their wives and children have been conveyed to Japan in these carts? Among the Samurai sect, there is a tradition that their ancient ancestors came to Japan from western Asia around 660 BC.The name ‘Samurai’ recalls ‘Samaria’. And to which tribe do the Japanese belong? There are those who claim that the Mikado, the Japanese emperor, is a descendant of the Hebrew tribe of Gad. ‘Mikado’ recalls the Hebrew word for ‘his majesty the king,’ ‘Malchuto’.