Resources4Missions

Japan

History

Primary Documents

Geography / Maps

Culture

Demographics / Needs

Language

Political

Religious

Articles

News

Opportunities

 

From SENDu  (an excellent page for missions resources)

Anthropology and Sociology

The Chrysanthemum and the Sword by Ruth Benedict. This is a famous cultural study of Japan during WWII and shortly after. The material is generally outdated, but valuable in showing the foundational principles of Japanese culture.
In the Realm of a Dying Emperor: Japan at Century’s End by Norma Field.
The Unseen Face of Japan by David C. Lewis. Christian anthropologist’s research
The Anatomy of Dependence by Takeo Doi. Doi, a Japanese sociologist, explains what he considers the central element of Japanese culture.
Japanese Society (Center for Japanese and Korean Studies) by Chie Nakano
Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created its Own Lost Generation by Michael Zielenziger
Silence by Shusaku Endo
Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering by Makoto Fujimura

Church History and Church Growth / Evangelism in Japan

The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha by Ravi Zacharias. Zacharias’ imaginary conversation between Buddha and Jesus (comparative religion).
Overcoming Spiritual Barriers in Japan by Makoto Fujimura
The Japanese and Christianity: Why is Christianity Not Widely Believed in Japan by Samuel Lee

Culture and Customs of Japan

With Respect to the Japanese: A Guide for Americans (Interact Series) by Jon Condon. Although it’s a thin book, Condon’s explanations of Japanese culture are invaluable.
The Japanese by Edwin O. Reischauer. Even though slightly outdated, this is a great book to get the “big picture” on Japanese culture and customs.

The Japanese Mind: Understanding Contemporary Japanese Culture by Roger J. Davies

History of Japan

Japan: The Story of A Nation by Edwin O. Reischauer. An excellent overview of Japanese history and culture from pre-history through 1980.
Japan From Pre-History to Modern Times  by John Whitney Hall

Japanese Christian Authors

Here So Close But I Didn’t Know by Tomihiro Hoshino. The autobiography of a famous Japanese Christian artist who also happens to be quadriplegic, due to a gymnastics accident.
Shiokari Pass by Ayako Miura, translated by Bill & Sheila Fearnehough. A wonderful novel illustrating sacrificial love. This novel was a bestseller and was even made into a feature film. Ayako Miura was a popular novelist and poet who presented Christianity in a positive light, opening up many Japanese to the gospel.

History of SEND International in Japan

A branch made strong: A short history of FEGC/SEND Japan: 1945-1985 by Bertha Neufield & Mildred M. Morehouse. A must read! Possibly you can borrow or buy this one from the SEND IO or USO.

Religions of Japan

Shinto the Kami Way by Sokyo Ono. An explanation and overview of Shinto.
Talking About Buddhism (Kodansha Bilingual Books) (English and Japanese Edition) by Yoshihito Takada & James Vardaman. The best and most easily understandable presentation of Japanese Buddhism.
Zen for Americans: Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot (Forgotten Books) by Soyen Shaku and translated by D.T. Suzuki. Reprint of Sermons of a Buddhist.
Beyond Buddhism: A basic introduction to the Buddhist tradition by Isamu Yamamoto. This is the best overview of Buddhism available from a Christian perspective.
Why are the Japanese Non-Religious? Japanese Spirituality: Being Non-Religious in a Religious Culture by Toshimaro Ama