One of the newest cities added to the Send the Light to the Cities emphasis is the popular and widely known metropolis of Tokyo, Japan. The capital city has a population that exceeds 39,000,000, a definite location for advancing the Great Commission. The uncompromising vision of World Missions Director Dr. David M. Griffis is for Church of God World Missions to go where the people are … large densely populated municipalities where the Gospel will have a profound effect.
Tokyo is the largest industrial, commercial, and financial center in Japan. She is Japan’s leading manufacturing center for book printing and the production of electronic equipment. Due to its large number of inhabitants, Tokyo has a problem housing residents. Finding suitable land in the city is scarce, as the population continues to grow, and more and more skyrise buildings are developing. Tokyo has more than 900 train stations.
Japanese people do not think of themselves as a single religious sect, and incorporate many religions into their beliefs, but Shintoism and Buddhism are dominant. Shintoism worships ancestors and national heroes, as well as natural things—mountains, trees, stars, animals, and even vegetables. Shintoism embraces Confucianism. Buddhism, when introduced, brought the concept of eternal life. Zen Buddhism is the practice of meditation and a strictly disciplined lifestyle, working to achieve enlightenment. Shintoists have shrines, Buddhists have temples.
The Church of God struggled to maintain a presence in Japan in earlier years. The first appointed missionaries were L.E. and Letha Heil in 1952. The work was slow for missionaries as learning the language and affording the high cost of living hindered any quick growth. Yet, over the years there has been a fruitful harvest, with pastors focusing on reaching the youth. However, Christianity remains a minority religion in Japan. Today, the Church of God has 10 churches and 605 members in Japan.