There is nothing more thrilling than to be the first person ever to share with someone the message of the Bible... to take them from square one and build on that.” — Susan Smith, ABWE Missionary

The Spiritual Need in Japan

Adorned with unique architecture and stunning scenery, the country of Japan has a rich cultural heritage that was heavily influenced by China and the introduction of Buddhism around the 6th century A.D. Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan, and Buddhism account for more than 85% of religious belief in the country. Temples and shrines cover the country, where the Japanese celebrate religious holidays and festivals throughout the year.

The Kanto region in particular is home to the most prominent people and is centrally located in Honshu, the largest island of Japan, which includes Tokyo and seven other prefectures. At the last official census, the population was 42,607,376, about one third of the total population of Japan. The Kanto region is the most highly developed, urbanized, and industrialized part of Japan, home to over 1,000 people per square kilometer.

The seat of Japan’s political power as well as the home office of some of the most influential companies in the world, the Kanto region is by any estimation a world-wide powerhouse.

Yet, despite religious freedom and a high literacy rate,most Japanese people have never met a Christian, seen a Bible, and do not know about Jesus. In fact, just two percent of Japan’s 128 million people claim to be Christians. In the future, there is risk for half of the existing Christian churches to close their doors, as Japanese pastors are aging and without replacements due to the increasingly agnostic and secular younger generation. Many of the existing churches are small, and lack the resources and numbers to impact their communities. The missionary presence continues to dwindle as well. All these factors amount to a great challenge–but also an opportunity.

Share the Gospel in Japan

ABWE launched its first team to Japan in 1953. Since then, the team has a conducted a multi-faceted approach to gospel ministry: preaching, teaching Sunday school and Bible classes, distributing Christian resources, and personal evangelism. All Japanese junior and senior high school students are required to take six years of English courses, so language teaching provides an open door for sharing the gospel. We have also worked in children's and youth ministry, and within the deaf community. Primary ministry bases are located in Kumamoto, Izumi, and Miyakonojo on the southwestern island of Kyushu, as well as in the national capital of Tokyo. People are coming to know the Lord, and now we see Christian families growing together in their faith.

Long-lasting traditions and practices make mission work in Japan tough and challenging. We need teammates with fresh ideas, deep relationship-building skills, and perseverance regardless of how fruitful the results may appear. ABWE would like to grow the team in Tokyo, and is seeking missionaries equipped for church planting, ministry to the deaf community, and teaching English as a second language. These valuable evangelistic skills can build bridges into Japan’s communities. Will you press on toward that goal with us?

We’d love to get to know you and discuss how God is calling you.

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