The Moomin House Cafe in Tokyo, Japan attracts solo diners who sit across the table from a large, stuffed, hippo-like creature called a Moomin. This is one of many cultural oddities that attempt to assuage the loneliness that plagues the modern culture of Japan. One company will send your stuffed animals on vacation for you, snapping pictures at all the tourist locations while you stay at home.
Japan is home to many heart-breaking statistics. The elderly in Japan account for more shoplifting crimes than teenagers. Experts believe they steal because they are lonely. About 30,000 people commit suicide every year. Less than .2% of its 130 million people believe in Jesus Christ and attend church.
Christ Bible Institute (CBI) in Japan describes a “fascinating and incredibly sad phenomenon” called hikikomori. It “is reclusive retreat from social life. There may be as many as 1 million young men who, being overwhelmed by modern Japanese society and its pressures, withdraw from the workforce and from the education system and spend their days sleeping and their nights playing video games, reading comics, and watching movies. Their rare ventures outside of their homes tend to be convenience store runs to purchase food and pornography.”
CBI also explains that “young people in Japan are especially in need of hope. Many feel alienated and hurt by society and families where fathers invest the bulk of their time and their attention in work.” As much as 13 percent of young girls in middle school and high school “seek fatherly affection in the form of teenage prostitution called enjo kosai.” According to Interpol reports, in 1999 Japan originated 80% of Internet child pornography.
At the Denison Forum office, we set aside time on Tuesdays to specifically pray for spiritual awakening. We often ask that you join us in praying 2 Chronicles 7:14 over America. Today is no exception. In addition though, please pause to pray that Japan would “humble itself, pray and seek God’s face, turn from its wicked ways” and that God “will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Does your church support a missionary in Japan? Find out. Pray for them by name. When you finish this sentence, take a moment to pray for the people of Japan, and for the ministry of our friends at Christ Bible Institute.