Here’s a few more quotes from the Hidden face of Japan. Scroll down if you want part 3 of my series on holiness (hopefully, part 4 will be up soon!).
At least a third of the Japanese population in some areas have visited a Christian church at some time in their lives, if only to attend a wedding or funeral. between a quarter and a third of the population possess Christian literature in their homes, and at some time in their lives have read it either regularly or occasionally. However, official statistics, based on church membership figures, show that less than two percent of the Japanese population are Christians. Sociological surveys, on the other hand, consistently show a rather higher percentage who call themselves Christians. This is because many of those who have attended a Christian school or university feel more identified with Christianity than with any other religion. They therefore call themselves ‘Christians.’
I can testify that there is a lot of Christian literature that has been distributed throughout Japan. In most of Japan, if people want to hear the gospel, there is some way to. However, there is no salt and light in their lives. There are no Christian witnesses, just perhaps the occasional literature.
Finally, a fascinating paragraph about Father Organitino, a Roman Catholic missionary to Japan in the mid-sixteenth century:
He [Father Organitino] had a feeling that spirits lurking in the mountains, woods and houses were always intent on preventing the spread of the gospel in Japan. Then he had a vision of the indigenous gods of the country. One of them, a minor deity, told him how they absorb but change the foreign gods out of all recognition into Japanese ones. This spirit concluded by commenting: ‘Perhaps in the long run, your Christian God will be changed into an indigenous god of this country. As Chinese and Indian gods were once changed, the Western god must likewise be changed. We spirits of the land are always haunting you in the trees, in the wind that passes over a rose, or even in the twilight which lingers on the walls of temples. We are here everywhere and always. Beware of us, beware of us.