View Full Version : Religion in Japan

12-27-2010, 03:49 PM
Ok guys, I need some help here.

I understand that the majority of religious people in Japan are Buddhists and Shintoists, but would there be a level of Christianity in the country, specifically Catholicism?

I can't find much on the matter, so any info / experiences would be great.

12-27-2010, 03:56 PM
Yes there is... I've seen various Catholic churches here in Yokohama. My boyfriend (who is a native here in Japan) says they're everywhere. There's a lot of foreigners here in Japan so there's lots of Mormons, Christians, and Catholics floating around. For example, there's a popular ward here in Yokohama city called Yamate where they have something called the "Foreigners Graveyard" and they have I believe a Catholic church as well. Also there's international private schools like St. Mary's in Tokyo...

Hope that helps you a little.

12-27-2010, 05:54 PM
That's great, thank you. I will look those places up.

12-27-2010, 08:10 PM
There have been Christians in Japan for a long time. There is a story that Jesus spent his later years there, and his grave is said to be there.

Rachel Udin
12-27-2010, 09:33 PM
Japanese are by majority, Agnostics. So I wouldn't say one will have *one* religion. For example, I know a mangaka that wore crosses because she loved them, got married in a Shinto shrine, but had no problem dealing with Buddhism.

The symbolism of what the typical Japanese person thinks of these religions is varied from the usual Western thought, particularly towards Christianity.

Kitty Pryde
12-28-2010, 12:47 AM
There are half a million Roman Catholics in Japan:
Christianity in Japan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Japan
Catholics in Japan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholicism_in_Japan
History of Catholics in Japan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Roman_Catholicism_in_Japan

12-28-2010, 02:14 AM
official religion is Shinto. The emperor is the link between Shinto gods and the people and most people pay lip service to the official line. Certainly the shrines were full at every religious festival in central Japan where I lived.

Christians are a tiny minority. Yes, there are some R Catholics. Originally the Spanish and Portuguese brought Catholism to Japan in the 17thC and it was tolerated for around forty years until the Shogun ordered a particularly nasty massacre of all Christians and closed Japan to foreigners.

In the area where I lived for eight years I occasionally saw Mormons door knocking. The Jehovah's Witnesses came round twice and the only Christian church in the whole area was one of the happy clappy fundamentalist ones. I never came across the RCs.

I was a professor at a small specialist medical university run by a protestant Christian foundation, they kept their heads down, working quietly, and most of the students were not Christians. All official religious holidays were recognised at the university. Christian holy days like Easter were not officially recognised although services were held in the university chapel. Christmas was a commercial children's holiday. New Year was the great religious festival.

Tom Swiss
01-12-2011, 10:08 AM
Christianity is certainly present in Japan -- I even had a Jehovah's Witness come to my door, when I stayed in Osaka for a few months. And Christian-style weddings are very popular. But the couple might well go right from that Christian-style wedding to a Shinto temple. Religion in Japan is not the sort of either-or proposition we're used to. At New Year's in Kyoto, I saw people in the Buddhist temples carrying talismans they'd just picked up at the Shinto shrine.

I think it will be very interesting to see what effect Japan has on Christianity, I suspect whatever forms eventually grows up there will have their own unique spin.

There was a period of persecution against Christians, centuries ago, when almost all foreigners were expelled; but that had a lot to do with (justified) fears of Western imperialism -- look at what ended up happening to India, China, etc., and contrast it with Japanese history.

Nick Blaze
01-21-2011, 03:52 AM
Accordingly to my friend, who lived in Japan her entire life, she says Christianity is about 3% of the population or less. There are a lot of churches, but they do not represent the same God in the same way we would in the same church here.

Essentially, most Japanese will 'practice' Christmas, for instant, and even go to a church on the Eve of or the day after, but will never actual worship the Christian God. While Christian themes are well liked, the concept of worshipping a god is not.

01-22-2011, 11:19 AM
I wonder how prevalent Taoism is in Japan.