JapanCAN

be a place where the Gospel thrives… Beauty is key

BROKEN: 傷ついた世界 (Art Festival in Tokyo)

BROKEN: 傷ついた世界

音楽、ダンス、パフォーマンス、トーク、アートギャラリー、短編フィルム、演劇、ディスカッションなど!
Speaker presentations, music performances, dance, drama, short films, gallery exhibits, small group discussions, and more!

The Missionary Podcast

While in Tokyo last summer I had the privilege of recording the 1st episode of The Missionary Podcast (TMP). Founded by Jonas Davison, TMP is “a space for missionaries to share their stories of God’s work, and connect with Christians all over the world.” I was impressed with Davison. He came to the interview well-prepared, asked great questions, and used quality recording equipment that he knows how to operate. Davison saw a need and responded, “After several years of working closely […]

Are There Fingerprints of God in Buddhism?

Mission Frontiers — a respected magazine published by the US Center for World Mission in Pasadena, CA — created a stir when they wrote that biblical truth found in Buddhism is a means of leading Bhuddists to Jesus. A portion of the Mission Frontiers article is below: Do we actually believe what Paul wrote that God’s “eternal power and divine nature— have been clearly seen” (Rom 1:20, NIV)? How does this apply to Buddhism? Can we find eternal and divine […]

Can Beauty Communicate God’s Love for Japan?

“Beauty is the hard-to-define essence that draws people to the gospel.” (David Taylor) “No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening – still all is Beauty!” (John Muir) “We do not want merely to see beauty… we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, […]

Finding Beauty in the Rubble of Japan’s Mega-Disaster: Documentary Marks 4th Anniversary

“A crown of beauty for ashes.”  Isaiah 61 “Finding Beauty in the Rubble” is a documentary film about Mrs. Fukuoka, a humble housewife whose home was washed away by the tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. Shot on location in northern Japan, our documentary will show how Mrs. Fukuoka has found hope and meaning by making beautiful jewelry out of debris from the tsunami. There are several reasons we are making this film: We want to encourage and bless […]

Reaching Japanese For Christ Conference, 2015

The Reaching Japanese for Christ (RJC) international conference is taking place February, 12-14, 2015 in California. Founded by retired Converge missionary Don Wright, RJC is currently led by Dennis Peters who was a missionary to Japan for many years with the Assembles of God. RJC is important to many of us who care about Japan. I’ve been to several of their conferences and have found all of them of value for networking and learning about effective ways to reach Japanese with the […]

2015 Goals for CAN Blog

One of my goals for 2014 was to post weekly on the CAN blog. I am pleased to report — with the exception of 1 week — I was able to meet that goal. I could not have done it without the faithful help of my wife Nancy who checks grammar, spelling, and gives feedback on content. Is the approximately one day a week I spend on this blog a wise investment of my time and energy? Is it worth […]

Pray for the Future of Japan

“Every few hundred years in Western society there occurs a sharp transformation. Within a few short decades, society rearranges itself… We are currently living through such a transformation.” Peter Drucker As we transition into a new year, we tend to think about the future. Drucker believes that Western society is changing drastically… Is Japanese society also experiencing “a sharp transformation?” It seems that it is… Here are three “engines” driving change in Japan: Digital technology is changing, in fundamental ways, the […]

Beauty from Ashes, Hope from Despair

“Beauty from Ashes, Hope from Despair” is the title of a recent blog post written by Todd Fong. Todd was part of the film crew that traveled six hours north of Tokyo to capture footage for “Finding Beauty in the Rubble” — a short film we plan to release next year. “Finding Beauty in the Rubble” will tell the story of Mrs. Fukuoka and how she found hope and healing after the huge tsunami in 2011 wiped out her neighborhood. […]

Sadao Watanabe: Visualizer of Bible Stories from a Japanese Perspective

Sadao Watanabe was a skilled Japanese artist — and a follower of Jesus — who visualized Bible stories from a Japanese perspective. Watanabe’s art is original, authentically Japanese, and laden with emotion. I feel his love for the stories and the people that he depicted. In a nation where the vast majority of church related art is imported from the West, Watanabe’s visual depictions of Bible stories are vitally important to contextualizing the gospel in Japan. This is the 1st […]

3 Barriers to the Gospel Thriving in Japan

Many times I have been asked, “Why are there so few followers of Jesus in Japan?” I really don’t know. No one does. The question is impossible to answer. What we can do is identify barriers to the Gospel thriving in Japan and ask ourselves, “what can I do about these barriers?” Three barriers to the Gospel thriving in Japan: At some level, we (the followers of Jesus in Japan and around the world) question whether the Gospel CAN thrive in […]

Japanese Style Icon of the Archangel Michael by Daniel Mitsui

My friend Paul Neeley’s blog Global Christian Worship features a great variety of music, art, and articles from many countries. Neeley recently found an icon by Daniel Mitsui that depicts the Archangel Michael as a samurai warrior. Daniel Mitsui’s icon is a fascinating blend of elements from Eastern and Western iconography. There are Christian theologians who reject/condemn icons and those who accept them. I grew up viewing them with great suspicion, which was shaped by my Protestant background (Baptist). So, why have I come […]

Atonement in Ancient and Modern Japan

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22, NIV) The belief that setting things right requires sacrifice is deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of humans. In Japanese culture, from ancient times, atonement is found through ritualistic sacrifice. These rituals are redemptive analogies that point to Jesus and his death on the cross. <p> </p> While Westerners tend to think of “sin” as guilt […]

6 Ways to Contextualize Worship to Japan

“Worship is the heart and pulse of the Christian church. In worship we celebrate together God’s gracious gifts of creation and salvation, and are strengthened to live in response to God’s grace. Worship always involves actions, not merely words. To consider worship is to consider music, art, and architecture, as well as liturgy and preaching. The reality that Christian worship is always celebrated in a given local cultural setting draws our attention to the dynamics between worship and the world’s many […]

Contextualizing the Gospel for Japan a “Hot Topic”

Several recent posts on contextualizing the gospel for Japan at the Reaching Japanese for Christ (RJC) Facebook Page have received a remarkable number of comments. I encourage you take a look at them (there is no way to link to a particular post on a Facebook page so you will need to go to the page and scroll down to find the content I’m referring to). A post with the title, “Is it OK to assimilate some Shinto festivals into Christianity in […]

Easter from the Perspective of Japanese Samurai Culture

Contextualizing the gospel to Japan’s ancient and proud culture is a crucial issue. This week’s JapanCAN post is a link to an article by Steve Sakanashi. In an email Sakanashi wrote, “Since this weekend is Easter, and most Japanese people have no idea why it is a holiday, I wrote a letter to explain it through Japanese samurai culture.” To read Sakanashi’s article click on the following title: Bushido, Seppuku, and the Shameful Death of Jesus Christ Thanks Steve for putting thought and effort […]

Is Japan Postmodern?

…the postmodern is primarily a phenomenon of Western culture. One cannot speak of the postmodern without first speaking of modernity and modernism, for it is from within Western culture that the modern view of the world has arisen. The postmodern is, therefore, a movement which has arisen in reaction to the modernism of Western civilization. (Daniel J. Adams) The popular terms “modern” and “postmodern” are grounded in Western history and culture. So when visitors to Japan look around and say Japan […]