Introduction / History
Racially, culturally, and ethnically, the Japanese are one of the most homogenous people groups in the world. They identify themselves in terms of biological heritage, birth in Japan, a shared culture, and a common language (Japanese).
At the end of WWII, Japan lay in ruins, but they soon emerged as an economic power. Today their economy is the third largest in the world. In order to keep their many multi-national corporations running the way they want them to, some have sent staff members to other parts of the world, usually on a temporary basis.
Where are they located?
The vast majority of the Japanese live in Japan, but there is also a diaspora all over the world, especially in Brazil, Peru, China, Canada, and the US. A smaller number live in European countries like Greece.
What are their lives like?
Today's Japanese diaspora is primarily professional and business-savvy. They have a strong work ethic, and they work very long hours. Frequently they have little social contact with the local population, and they speak mainly Japanese among themselves.
The uniqueness of Japanese culture can be seen in their art forms, which include the highly refined flower arrangements, calligraphy, puppetry, and theater. Typically Japanese housewives participate in some of these art forms at local Buddhist temples while their husbands are at work.
Traditional and Western forms of recreation include baseball, sumo wrestling, judo, karate, table tennis, fishing, volleyball, shogi (Japanese chess) and go (a complicated game of strategy). Gardening is a popular hobby for both men and women.
What are their beliefs?
The Japanese are usually both Buddhist and Shintoist. Many are indifferent and skeptical of established religion. Some treat religion as a means towards an end. But given the high number of Japanese-based religious groups, one can surmise that many Japanese are looking for some form of spirituality.
What are their needs?
On the outside, the Japanese seem to have few needs. However, many of them have become obsessed with materialistic pleasures, careers, and possessions. Their greatest need is to be introduced to the Father through His Son, Jesus.
* Pray that Christian businessmen will have open doors to share the gospel with the Japanese.
* Pray that Japanese believers will have opportunities to share the love of Jesus with their families and friends.
* Pray that God will raise up teams of intercessors to stand in the gap to faithfully pray for these precious people.
* Pray for the Holy Spirit to birth a cascading discipleship movement among the Japanese in Europe for God's glory.
Text source: Keith Carey