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).
In general terms, there was an early Japanese diaspora, and a later one. The early one consisted of Japanese people who left Japan for low paying jobs, sometimes in near slave-like conditions. After Japan began to emerge as an economic power in the second half of the 20th century, there has been a different Japanese diaspora. Today many multi-national Japanese corporations send some of their staff to countries that they do business with.
Where are they located? The majority of the Japanese live in Japan, but there is also a diaspora all over the world. In American Samoa, about two percent of the population is of Japanese ancestry, but there is little information about them.
What are their lives like? The Japanese have a strong work ethic, and they usually 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 these some of these art forms at a local Buddhist temple 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 Japanese 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.
There is a higher ratio of Christians among the Japanese diaspora on American Samoa than there are in most other parts of the world.
What are their needs? On the outside, they 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 Christ.
Prayer Points * 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 for these precious people.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong disciple making movements among the Japanese in the Pacific Islands.