John and Elaine Mehn

Hikikomori Answers

February 1st, 2014 by John

Five years ago I wrote a blog on the psychological scourge affecting a large number of young people, hikikomori. I have not heard much good news from five years ago until now. Last week Elaine and I had lunch with Pastor Koichi Hirano and Pastor Nobuo Watanabe at their Setagaya church’s new café. We had not talked with Pastor Hirano for several months and he shared some amazing stories.

The Hikikomori are the Japanese most open to the gospel told Pastor Koichi Hirano of the Tokyo Horizon Chapel. This was not just his opinion but his experience from decades of Japanese ministry and current successes with Hikikomori young people. He explained to us that he just returned from taking a group of 16 of a two-week tour of the US, which he insists is necessary as it removes them completely from their context. He also took a group again in November. Of the Hikikomori kids he has been working with several have followed the Lord in baptism, many are living more normal lives, and some have gone into full-time Christian ministry. He does not work alone in this ministry but they have five licensed counselors working together and a professional psychologist.

For my previous blog on Hikikomori see http://www.gospelrest.com/understanding-hikikomori/

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Crisis in Japan

June 1st, 2010 by John

In Japan, abuse at home, bullying at school, unemployment problems, drug addiction, and impulsive indiscriminate killings show the increasingly serious problems of society. Moreover, the political right is gaining strength, as can be seen in schools where the national anthem and the national flag are enforced, as well as in the movement to revise the pacifist Constitution. Therefore, mission in Japan is in the midst of severe circumstances. Church members are aging and the number of young people are decreasing. Some pastors are quitting under difficult situations. Some churches have no pastors or are being closed. The influence of cults and the occurrence of various kinds of harassment are intensifying in the church.

* From the Sapporo Declaration of the 5th Japan Congress of Evangelism

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More on Suicide in Japan

May 29th, 2010 by John

An earlier blog on suicide was at http://www.gospelrest.com/suicide-and-the-japan-economy/

Japan suffers over 30,000 suicides annually for the last 12 years. Also it is estimated that upwards of 10 times that number attempt but do not succeed at suicide. Suicide is viewed with scorn by people throughout society.  Talk about suicide is considered taboo and people are viewed as losers who commit suicide. Those victims of suicide are cut off from help from others. One prominent psychiatrist, Hasami Hirayama, sees the vicious cycle of society pressure and emotional problems as both contributors of suicide. The means of helping people with these problems is not to ostracize them but to care for them compassionately. Japan really needs a change of heart and Christians who have the good news for people should be in the lead in providing answers. Pray and help.

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