Normal Japanese Animistic Religiosity

Here is a May 10, 2021, news item that made its rounds throughout Japan. It illustrates the normality of animistic practices that vary from town to town and lie at the heart of both Japanese Shinto and Buddhism.

Giant sandals displayed to pray for pandemic's end

“A pair of giant straw sandals has been put on display in a town near Tokyo to pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic. The sandals, over 1.2 meters wide and about five meters long, were installed along a national highway in Nagatoro Town in Saitama Prefecture on Sunday.
2021_05_10 Giant Sandals
A banner praying for the end to the pandemic was set up alongside the sandals, and a Shinto ritual was held. The prefecture's Chichibu region, where the town is located, has a tradition of hanging straw sandals to drive away plagues. The custom, called "fusegi," involves displaying the sandals at the entrance to farmland. It is still handed down in several places. Legend has it that the sandals scare away the god of plagues by showing it that a giant is nearby.

The president of an association which aims to preserve this tradition said members worked together to create the pair of huge and firm sandals to fight the virus.”

Taken from:

Many other news items about Japan and its official perspective on world news via its national news service can be found here:

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According to a colleague’s recent newsletter, after S-san finished elementary school she stopped attending worship services and Sunday school led by missionaries at their nearby home. Reading between the lines, she fell prey to the busyness of life in Japan and the pressure to conform to the materialistic values of animistic Buddhist Japanese society. As an adult she neglected and repressed the work God had done in her heart during her formative years as a child.

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How many people did you lead to Christ in your missionary ministry last year?

A recent conversation with a young Japanese pastor might place this Western “visible, immediate results required” and perhaps critical question in appropriate religio-cultural context. Read More…

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In June 2017 Dale began his 15th year of teaching his one semester Contemporary Theology course in Japanese at Japan Bible Seminary (Tokyo). He encourages his students to critically grasp the breadth of Christian theology, with a special emphasis on evangelical theology. He now teaches this course on a modular basis, with one set of classes at the beginning of the semester (June) and another at the end (October), thus reducing his commuting time and increasing flexibility for his students. Read More…

Dale becomes adjunct faculty at ACTS Seminaries

Dale has been teaching "Contemporary Theology” in Japanese at Japan Bible Seminary in Tokyo one semester per year for the past 14 years. He is now also adjunct faculty at ACTS Seminaries of Trinity Western University located in greater Vancouver BC Canada. Read More…


The opening pages of the Bible depict a rural context and the closing pages a city. This means we are on a journey toward a heavenly city.

Now, when we think of cities, we imagine masses of people—and that might not thrill us. But this future city will be very different than our cities. For example, one central feature of the heavenly city is its river, which flows down the main street. On both of its banks is planted the single tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2). So this city built by God seems much like a garden. It is qualitatively different from any city we have seen. Read More…

Ann and Dale's Transition To Tokyo, Jan 2013

In late January we moved from Sendai back to Tokyo in order to launch TOKYO MULTICULTURAL CHURCH, the church planting vision we have nurtured for four years.

So during January Dale focused on renting an apartment in Sumida-ku, teaching his last modular class of the year on Contemporary Theology at Japan Bible Seminary, and as voluntary President of Japan Evangelical Missionary Association leading board meetings and planning sessions in preparation for JEMA's annual consultation and business meetings Feb 25-27. We were able to move out of our Sendai apartment on Jan 28 and into our Tokyo apartment on Jan 30. We will be unpacking cardboard boxes and getting settled in for the next month or so--all the while trying to carry on ministry. Read More…