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Finding Christianity in Japan, Where Believers Are a Small Minority


Sunset illuminates a crucifix. Image courtesy Flickr user Sharon.

In terms of number of followers, Christianity is often considered a major world religion. However, there are very few Christians in Japan, where less than 1% of the population observes the Christian faith.

In Japan, spirituality as it is understood and practiced in the West or in the Judeo-Christian tradition is not common. For the average Japanese person, Christianity is associated mainly with getting married in a faux chapel with a faux priest.

What an awesome chapel wedding (/_;)/

Using pseudonyms, some Japanese people are going online to profess their Christian faith. One blog post in particular has prompted dozens of comments about Christianity in Japan.

In the blog post, an anonymous blogger in Japan describes his relationship with Christianity:








I have an inferiority complex: why is it that the people around me are so successful, yet I can accomplish nothing? So when others around me are cold to me, I feel like crying with sorrow and rage, and wonder why it is that I alone must suffer like this.

It's often said that if you want to change the world, then you must change yourself. And it came to me in a flash. Maybe all that I can do is accept that there's some sort of divine being who loves me.

Speaking truthfully, however, I don't believe that God exists, and so it is hard for me to say that I have faith.

But I tried assuming God exists and imagined myself loved by that kind of existence, which led me to thank him for his abundant love. I never experienced something better than this thankfulness. I am ashamed to say that made me realise how I had been unthankful to others.

The blogger here is conflicted; he wants to have Christian faith, but is unsure if God even exists.

However, it seems religious devotion brought the blogger bewilderment as well as joy.





Oh, but wait, isn’t this a typical pattern of involvement with a religion? Or am I already involved with it?

I cannot expel something that has made an impression on my heart. It is too late to think it over anyway. The doctrine teaches me to how to live life as a human and it all sounds very decent to me. I am inclined to listen to it, and live a spiritually rich life by coming closer, but I cannot make up my mind because it is a religion.

I guess my parents would not like me believing in religion. Oh well, since they contradict me no matter what I do, what I do makes little difference.

I must keep this feeling secret.

Many commenters responded negatively to the post. Commenter takass32 denied the existence of a god.


I suppose the ability to imagine or believe in a non-existent person who is honorable and tolerant of yourself is the essence of religious devotion.

honeybe, another commenter on the blog post, had a more positive opinion about having faith, but also made it a point to highlight the negative aspects of religion.


There is nothing wrong with getting involved with a religion unless you generate a negative effect on people around you, such evangelising persistently, trying to sell religious tracts, or imposing religious ideas.

Commenter ketudan considered the possibility that the blogger may be in danger of joining a cult.


Unfortunately, there are tons of cults and new religions that define themselves as “Christian”, so I advise you to Google the name of that church or the religion.

I had a homework assignment once to attend a service in the past so I visited “a decent church” in the neighborhood, but what I found there was a kooky cult in which someone pretending to be a minister played the guitar in a Japanese-style room.

gohankun felt sympathy for the sheer difficulty of having a religious faith in Japan.


It sure is tiring to have a particular religion in Japan. I have undergone hardships because I come from a Christian family and I am a Christian, too. I still suffer sometimes. There are times when I wish I had been born in the West. Life would be much easier then.

Commenter nows_s came to the conclusion that religion is just another way to get through life.


Life is too much for one person to confront, so we submit to the gods, rely on a country, or become addicted to love affairs, two-dimensional characters, nicotine, or alcohol. If that somehow enables us to live an easy life, then, what's the problem?