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Old 04-04-2016, 05:43 PM
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After World War II, the U.S set up military bases in South Korea and Japan. Both countries are heavily influenced by America's pop culture and American lifestyle. MCDonald, KFC and Halloween are embraced by both South Korea and Japan. Chrisitianity including Protestantism (majority) and Catholicism (minority) is very popular in South Korea. The previous Korean president is also Protestant. However, Christianity is still not popular in Japan. Why?
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:13 AM
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Korea was occupied by Japan for a long period of time up till end of World War 2. In addition its resistance against the Japanese included Christian members and Koreans saw themselves oppressed by the Japanese occupation, Christianity grew and generally if there is oppression in a country, it can be ripe for religious movements to grow. Prior to the Korean war North Korea had more Christians than the South. Even the first communist dictator of North Korea had Protestant parents. Even before the end of World War 2 Christianity was a part of Korean culture and it grew in South Korea after that, yet in recent decades there has been a decline in Christianity there just like the Western countrys, unlike the North as all religious activity was suppressed and still is. Japan is a different story as even there was active Christian missionary activity, it remained small. Yet Japan from the 16th to 19th century banned Christian missionaries as they saw it as a big threat. Japanese people are less likely to be open to religious beliefs that they consider foreign.
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:30 AM
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I can only comment on Korea, bases on what a Korean co-worker told me back in the 80's. He was a nominal Christian and active in the Korean Christian community in NYC, but he also was involved in activities with the Korean Buddhist community.

He said that during the years of Japanese rule that many Buddhist sects were essentially aggressively encouraged to follow the form of those sects in Japan, and if I remember correctly that at least some of them became directly affiliated or governed by Japanese Buddhist institutions. According to this person at the end of WW II this left many people disillusioned with the conduct of the Buddhist hierarchy in Korea.

Secondly, Christians began much more active missionary activities, and those Koreans who converted found that their Christian churches would supply educational opportunities that their families would otherwise not have, and would assist them in other ways. My friend said that his parents were what he called with a smile, "rice Christians." They had no particular interest in the Christian beliefs, but they saw that Korean converts were better taken care of by their churches and prospered; therefore, the father decided that the family would convert.

Though he was very active in a Korean Christian church in the city, he said that he had no strong belief in Christianity, but that he was grateful for the opportunities his parents had found by joining the church, and which their affiliation had provided for him.
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Old 04-06-2016, 01:39 AM
Location: Katy,Texas
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Here is the Amazing story.

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Old 04-06-2016, 02:08 AM
Location: Top of the South, NZ
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Maybe the Koreans are more into dead carpenters, than the Japanese are.
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:30 PM
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Japanese Christians were also viewed by the Koreans as being more fair and just generally better to Koreans than the non-Christian Japanese during the occupation. This won Christianity a lot of fans in Korea.
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Old 04-10-2016, 03:14 PM
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One conjecture not mentioned here is that the two cultures have slightly different epistemological attitudes.

The Koreans tend to approach problem-solving using a top-down approach, by evaluating first principles, foundational principles and axioms. The Japanese prefer a bottom-up or problem-oriented approach. If this is true, it explains a number of fundamental philosophical differences between the two cultures concerning existential matters, as this article describes:

One explanation comes from Minoru Okuyama, director, as of 2010, of the Missionary Training Center in Japan. That year, he told a global missions conference, “Japanese make much of human relationships more than the truth. Consequently we can say that as for Japanese, one of the most important things is harmony; in Japanese, ‘Wa.'” The Japanese, said Okuyama, “are afraid of disturbing human relationships of their families or neighborhood even though they know Christianity is best.” Chinese and South Koreans, by contrast, “make more of truth or principle than human relationships.”

A shrewd and outspoken samurai character in Shusaku Endo’s historical novel “Samurai” (1980) put a similar thought much more bluntly. His sullen response to a Spanish missionary’s evangelizing, circa 1610, was, “The Japanese don’t care whether God exists or not.”

Western Judeo-Christian civilization was built on God. Japanese civilization was not. The West is absolutist, its God embodying absolute power, absolute righteousness, absolute wisdom, absolute truth. Nothing like that exists in Japan. No wonder Xavier and his Japanese hosts misunderstood each other.
Japan Times - Christian Missionaries
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Old 04-11-2016, 02:13 PM
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An amazing, true story: After the Japanese defeat in World War II, Emperor Hirohito personally made an offer to General Douglas MacArthur, the U.S. military governor, to declare Japan an official Christian nation and make Christianity the nation's official religion.

General MacArthur thought about the offer overnight, and the next day told the Emperor, "Thanks, but no thanks. I feel that Christianity should be an individual decision based on each person's genuine belief. It should not be blanketly applied to a nation."

Evangelist, Billy Graham heard the story from someone, and some years later Graham asked General MacArthur in person, whether it was true. MacArthur confirmed to Graham that the conversation actually happened. Graham mentioned the incident in his 1990s best-selling autobiography "Just As I Am" .

Last edited by slowlane3; 04-11-2016 at 02:22 PM..
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:21 PM
Location: Orange County, CA, USA
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I also wonder if this same question can be posed regarding Taiwan and South Korea- why there are much higher percentage of Christians in South Korea than Taiwan? I think from the last statistics it shows that South Korea is 29% Christian while Taiwan is 4.5% Christian. Japan is only about 1% Christian. South Korea and Taiwan were both controlled by Japan for much of the first half of the 20th century. There were also Presbyterian missionaries in South Korea and Taiwan.

Incidentally, my mother's side of the family in Taiwan are Christian and members of the Presbyterian Church. Many members of my father's side of the family in Taiwan follow Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and folk beliefs, though there some who became Christian.
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:40 PM
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
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Originally Posted by twnxn View Post
I also wonder if this same question can be posed regarding Taiwan and South Korea- why there are much higher percentage of Christians in South Korea than Taiwan?
Thank the Chinese.
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