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, some Japanese corporations have sent their staff to temporarily live in other parts of the world. Most likely, there are no Japanese corporate headquarters in the Northern Mariana Islands, however.
Where are they located? The majority of the Japanese live in Japan, but there is also a diaspora all over the world, especially in Brazil, the US, Canada, and Peru. A smaller number live in the Northern Mariana Islands of the South Pacific.
What are their lives like? The Japanese have a strong work ethic, and they often work very long hours. They speak mainly Japanese among themselves and have little social contact with the local population.
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 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.
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.
Prayer Points * Pray that Japanese Christians in the Northern Mariana Islands will have opportunities to share the love of Jesus with their families and friends.
* Pray that Christian radio and television broadcasts will be effective in reaching the Japanese in the South Pacific islands.
* Pray that God will raise up teams of intercessors to stand in the gap for these precious people.
* Ask the Lord to raise up a strong disciple making movement among the Japanese in the Pacific Islands.