On Aug. 15, 1945, a ‘god’ spoke. When Emperor Hirohito of Japan directly addressed his subjects for the very first time, life came to a temporary standstill around the world. Hirohito’s announcement of Japan’s unconditional surrender not only ended a war and brought peace, but it also ended the myth that the emperor of Japan was divine. He spoke and the world changed.
Because of this historical event, much changed in Japan as well. A new constitution was adopted and war was renounced. Democratic ideas took root in Japan and the emperor was reduced to a figurehead. Japanese industries flourished and a new middle class emerged resulting in a booming economy. The phrase “Made in Japan” stamped on manufactured goods was no longer derided as symbol of cheapness or inferiority, but esteemed as a mark of quality and success. Expensive vacations, quality education, designer clothes, and the latest electronic gadgets could be purchased by the masses and it seemed the lone threat to a peaceful, prosperous society was the legendary Godzilla!
Certainly much changed after the emperor spoke, but in some regards nothing changed. The god of war had only been replaced by the gods of materialism and education. At the same time, the traditional gods of Japan continued to be venerated through worship at Shinto god shelves or Buddhist altars in homes throughout the country. Japanese still make periodic pilgrimages to the local shrines or temples for various life events and rely on purchased good luck charms for success and protection. Such things continue to retain a strong grip on the Japanese heart so even though the Only True God has spoken, few in Japan seem to be listening.
On May 1stof this year, a new emperor will ascend the throne, replacing his elderly father, and inaugurate a new era. This assures that the oldest monarchical house in the world will continue. But, unlike their predecessors, post-war emperors now frequently appear in public as the traditional shrouds of secrecy surrounding them have been partially lifted. Their voices are now familiar, but when will the voice of God break through to Japanese hearts and inaugurate the coming of God’s kingdom rule upon this land?
Let’s plead with God, like the Israelites did in Egypt. Plead that God would speak to Japanese hearts and that there would be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit like we’ve never seen before.
By Mike, an OMF missionary
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray that Japanese people will hear and seek the only true God.
- Pray for spiritual breakthrough in Japan.
- Pray for the leaders in Japan, that they would also know and follow the true God.