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Pump iron, hunt, and eat in Japan

The ratio of Japanese men to women in the church is still a concern in Japan. That is to say, there are many women and few men.

Thus we continue to ask: “How can the men of Japan be reached with the gospel?” This is an especially difficult question considering the hectic working life that many men lead.

So , in order to reach men, I’ve taken the approach of just doing what men do: pump iron, hunt, and eat.

OK, so that is perhaps an over-the-top macho approach and not all men are the hunter-gatherer type, but the truth is more men do these things. That said, at my gym there is a granny who I’ve seen instructing men on how to lift properly. Anyhow, we aren’t here to argue that topic.

This is just an approach I like. Hitting the gym and eating are easy images to conjure. The hunting, though, you might be wondering about. What I do isn’t as cool as hunting with a bow and arrow, sorry, but is in the form of fishing.

Fishing in Japan is huge—go to any harbour, lake, or river and you’ll find blokes casting out. On the Hokkaido coast that is especially true in late August/September during salmon season. Then you can see hundreds of rods lined up along the best areas, many fishermen sleeping overnight in their cars to be sure to have the best chances at the right times.

My own record of catching fish in Japan has been impressively poor. I have even recollected the Bible verse where Jesus says “cast your nets on the other side” and wishfully done so, but nothing has ever happened.

Neither do I have any wonderful spiritual stories about conversions while fishing. However, through these various avenues I’ve had conversations and valuable times with friends. This time spent building relationships has led to deeper conversations, and that is a good starting point. And, should the opportunity arise, what better way to be able to share the gospel than to say that the God I believe in was a decent fisherman himself.

By John, an OMF missionary in Japan

Will you pray for Japan?

  • Pray that missionaries would continue to seek ways to connect with men in Japan.
  • That God would bring many men into his church.
  • For more Christians in Japan to ask “How can the men of Japan be reached with the gospel?”

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