2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

After the Christian Century: Christianity’s Unpopularity in the Land of the Kami


Zachary C. Wessels
Dr. Ding-hwa Hsieh, Faculty Mentor

This paper examines the main factors for Christianity’s unpopularity in contemporary Japan. Though Christianity has been a prominent world religion, it has attained a small amount of success within Japan, with around 1% of the population identifying as Christians. Christianity has had a sizable impact on Japanese culture, most notably an increase in the number of Japanese choosing to have Christian weddings. On the whole, Christian churches in Japan have struggled to gain members because the church is viewed as exclusive, which goes against the group-oriented nature of Japan. There is more competition with New Religious Movements who have taken Christian beliefs, such as a Supreme God and salvation, and synchronized them with Japanese religious beliefs making NRMs more desirable. Furthermore, as right-wing politicians are trying to revive State Shinto beliefs in the constitution, Christians are facing the same theological conflicts that occurred leading up to the second world war.

Keywords: Christinaity, Japan, Shinto

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 110-2
Location: MC 211
Time: 8:45

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