Wednesday, April 11, 2007

God's Fingerprints in Japan # 2 - Report from Rev. Daniel Kikawa

Aloha `Ohana,

Just got back from Japan, it was wonderful and we are exhausted from the night and day schedule.

I have experienced only once before (March 14th 1998 when we repented over the human sacrifice heiaus in Hawaii) to this magnitude, the feeling of walking inside of God’s perfect will as he orchestrated the universe around us for his purposes. It was second only to that time. My only regret is that you could not be there to experience it with us. You were a part of it.

Like on March 14th 1998, the warfare before we began was intense physically, spiritually and in our souls. Yolanda almost didn’t go. She was very ill and just felt better on the last day.

We wanted to let you know that all went better than we could have thought or imagined and how much we appreciate you. The fruits that come are ours all together. We hope to share with you all about it personally sometime.

Some highlights:

Our time with the Abes was incredible. We also learned the full story of what happened when they saw “God’s Fingerprints in Japan.” When they watched the film, they did not recognize the name of Amenominakanushi. It was the Holy Spirit that spoke to Mrs. Abe that she should look at the family genealogy scroll because there was something important in there. They had not looked at it for a long time and as Christians, were not really interested in it. It was when they looked at it that they found that the name of Amenominakanushi was at the top of their scroll. This is so important because it is God saying that I want my Japanese children to know that I am not a foreign God, but your God. It was important to Him and that is why he told Mrs. Abe to look at the scroll. It is like when God first told me to tell the Hawaiian people that “I am the same as `Io.” The Holy Spirit then told her to tell Dr. Ozawa, who gave the film to her pastor, about their revelation, not knowing that he and I were friends. The rest is history. We stayed for free in a house that God provided for us through the Abes that was perfect for the filming (very large by Japanese standards) and with a traditional tatami mat room. We have on film Professor Uemura translating the creation account (which comes right after the name of Amenominakanushi) for them for the first time (it is written in ancient Japanese which modern Japanese cannot read) and Professor Uemura writing in calligraphy, "Return to the One who has created you," on the tatami mats in traditional calligrapher garb, among other great shots. The Abes decided to have the first service of the new church they are planting on Sun. March 25 (My birthday) since we were there. It was just our team and Mr. and Mrs. Abe. Dr. Ozawa gave the message and the anointing and presence of God was so strong in that room. When Mr. Abe opened the service in prayer beginning by thanking Amenominakanushi and ending with, in Iesu’s name, Amen; we knew we were witnessing the birth of something wonderful and entirely new in Japan. Don and I looked at each other and knew we were so privileged and honored to be there to witness this event. It is something that can flip evangelism in Japan upside-down from, "Come to the foreign God who did not care about and never reached out to your ancestors" to "Come home to your Creator who loves you." If we love God because he first loved us, this is huge! We saw clearly why Satan was attacking us so hard over this new film. He has Japan in such bondage that 97% of Japanese have not accepted Him and only 1/2 of one percent attend Church. This new film will show that: 1. The Japanese people knew God (Romans 1:20); 2. He lovingly placed them in Japan so that they may reach out for Him and perhaps find Him, being so loving and close to them that they moved and lived and had their being in Him (Acts 17:26-28); 3. Like all people, it was the Japanese who left God, He never left them and He was always there loving them and reaching out to them (Rom. 1:22-23); 4. He loves them so much that He even came as the man Jesus to die for them, to make a way for them to return home to Him; 5. Their Creator is calling them, hoping and longing that his precious Japanese children will remember Him and COME HOME.

Mr. Abe's prayer and God’s tangible presence in that little service made all of the trials worth it. God made it so clear on this trip that He wants his Japanese children to realize that He is their God. I couldn’t have had a better birthday present from God. Many other great things happened with the Abes.

The Tokyo Seminar: When the pastors association first emailed me to ask if I would come, they said, “We expect about 20 people to come to this two day seminar, would you still come if we only had about 20 people?” Well, I believe God wanted me to go so I would have gone if there was only 1 person. However, they had about 70 people registered before I left and the room they reserved was too small. They were talking about a video feed to an overflow room and were turning people away. When we got there, there were over 90 people there and they had been able to secure a larger room for it. The people were very receptive and many eyes were opened to how scriptural, necessary and fruitful Culture Specific Evangelism is. They also shared stories of how the first film had helped open people to Christ. So many shared how they watched it over and over and wept each time. They are all eagerly awaiting the next one. We had 200 DVDs at the conference and they were gone almost as soon as I opened the boxes. I recently received an email from YWAM Japan that they just received an order for 300 DVDs from a pastor who attended the conference.

While Pastor Junji Ono and I were doing the seminars at Yokota Air Base, David Matsuura, Dan Keppel and Mr. and Mrs. Abe met with the Asian Gathering (the Gathering of prominent businessmen and politicians). People at this level in Japan are extremely cautious of new things but by their second meeting, God made a breakthrough and the majority of people there seem to finally understand the importance of what we are doing. They had a large turn out at their monthly breakfast on Tues. March 27th because people wanted to hear from them. When Mr. Abe asked how many people had seen “God’s Fingerprints in Japan,” everyone raised their hand. David said several prominent people there had accepted Christ through the film. One of them volunteered to open and close with prayer, asking God to bless our work and for the Japanese people to be open to it. A very prominent business leader with a very successful ministry told David that he feel that God is telling him to start “Japanese cultural” churches across Japan.

We went to the Lutheran Seminary to film professor Uemura and the busy president of the Seminary “just happened to be free” to meet with us. We got him on film talking about how God’s fingerprints are in Japanese history and culture. Professor Uemura said later that having him on the film is really huge. It will give us much credibility with the church in Japan and will open up the Lutheran Seminary and the Lutheran church to us big time. The Lutherans are very prominent in Japan.

The Lord did not want us filming famous Christians this time, if we had made appointments with them, we would not have had the time to meet with the non-Christians he made divine appointments for us to meet. The last time we filmed, we struggled to get enough good scenics and had to get a lot of fillers in Hawaii. Getting appointments, permissions to film temples and experts on film was also like pulling teeth. This time, beautiful scenics were everywhere, permission to film at places that were closed to us before opened miraculously and secular experts were very willing to be filmed. He also placed people in Japan to help us that were so amazing.

Through Professor Uemura, we were able to film Dr. Nakanishi, who is the foremost scholar in all of Japan about the ancient Japanese script and one of the most respected scholars on the Kojiki and the most ancient Japanese writings because of his specialty. His being on film will be as huge, credibility wise, as having the Grand Tea Master last time. He will open up the doors for many like the Asian Gathering people. He was so open and supportive of us. He openly said that Amenominakanushi was the creator God in Japanese history (He thinks this knowledge must have come from Nestorian Christians in China while we believe Rom. 1:20; either way, God made himself known in Japan.) and we filmed him explaining characters from the Abe genealogy scroll. We spent over an hour with him and he invited us to his home the next time we come. We had divine favor with non-Christians.

Without us knowing, Professor Uemura set up for us to film at a historic Noh playhouse in the foothills of the mountains in Kyoto. He is writing a Christian Noh play and we filmed him in hakama (traditional Japanese dress) doing part of it. The gardens surrounding the playhouse were beautiful with ten foot tall trees shaped like perfect bonsai. Professor Uemura asked a well known flute player to come who had played at many important events. She is not a Christian but took one of his open classes on Japanese religion and had seen "God's Fingerprints in Japan." She came at her own expense from Tokyo to Kyoto carrying a heavy suitcase with her kimono and gear. She put on her full kimono to play for us in the garden. It was a surreal experience, as she was playing her hauntingly beautiful flute in that setting, surrounded by bamboo forests rustling in the breeze in the background, the birds began to answer her song and the sunlight filtered through the bonsai tree above her. We recorded her playing two traditional Japanese songs that we can use in the film; free beautiful background music! Last time we had to pay for it all!

We had a surprise meeting with the head priest of Kono Shrine where the National Treasure Genealogy scroll is. This man is the 82nd priest in his line that goes back over 2000 years. It is so rare for him to meet people, especially without an appointment. His son came out first and said he would not meet with us. Later, his father came out to meet us and was so open and generous, giving us books he and his family had written. He did this because he said he felt that our meeting was a “Divine Appointment.” He looked at the copy of the Abe scroll and said that Amenominakanushi was the creator God in their scroll, too, and much more. Someone of his stature verifying that Amenominakanushi is the creator god and the Abe genealogy would really help many accept what we are saying. We want to communicate with him more to show him his creator is the same as ours. He spent about 3 hours with us. Partly our favor was due to having Professor Uemura with us. He has an amazing testimony. He was at the last step to become a Shinto priest when his mentor told him that Jesus was the true God and he should go to him. He has been a professor at the Lutheran seminary for 16 years. Because of his Shinto background, he knew exactly how to behave and what to do to gain favor. He was God Sent in so many ways.

Also, through Shinobu and Evan Carmichael, pastors at Church on a Sure Foundation (Shinobu's father, pastor Kato, is a well known pastor in Japan), Keiko Nakamura (who goes to pastor Kato's church), one of the best known secular and Christian narrators (she is one of the best known voices in Japan. If you hear a woman's voice announcing the trains at the subways and train stations, it is probably her voice and when you call for the time on the phone, it is her voice; and the time conscious Japanese call for the time a lot!) has consented to narrate the new film. What a blessing!

This is just a quick summary of some of the many things God provided on this trip. We had many other great surprises as God orchestrated divine appointments and situations.

On to the next step; praying in the finances to finish the film. Another businessman whose Japanese wife wept through "God's Fingerprints in Japan" from beginning to end will donate $10,000 if we can get matching funds. I have not had time to see what we actually spent on this trip yet but I guesstimate (after we come up with the matching funds and more free music), we would need about $65,000 more. Agree with me that this is nothing for our God! This is a team effort, this is your project, let's pray fervently, not only for the finances but for a covering over the Abes and the other important people in the film and those who are supporting us in Japan and moving forward in Culture Specific Evangelism. The Lord spoke to several people on this trip that when revival comes to Japan, it will be quick and massive. Let’s be a part of this. If you are looking for a very fruitful place to sow your prayers and mission’s budget, there is one right under your nose!

Mahalo Nui Loa!


Thursday, March 15, 2007

More about Amenominkanushi

Amenominakanushi no Kami in Late Tokugawa Period KokugakuI

SASAKI Kiyoshi
1. Introduction

Japanese academics have been quick to point out the influence of Christianity on Japanese Kokugaku.II The particular aspect of that issue I wish to raise here is the claim that Christian influence is apparent in Hirata Atsutane's emphasis on a creator deity, and that such influence made its way into the Shinto thought of the Meiji period. For example, Ebisawa Arimichi stated1 that

Atsutane grasped the concept of a creator god, and recognized that the emperors forming the descendants of that creator god were absolute beings in a sense even greater than that admitted by Norinaga. In other words, by introducing a creator deity to restoration Shinto, the spiritual basis for a restoration of imperial rule was strengthened, and by viewing the Japanese emperors as descendants of the same Amenominakanushi no kami who created the world and entire universe, Kokugaku's Japano-centric thought formed one factor promoting the establishment of absolute emperorism upon the conceptual basis of "all eight corners of the world under one roof."III

Ishida Ichirô, who called Hirata's thought "syncretic Shinto-Christian Shinto" (Shin-Ki shûgô Shintô), adopted the same viewpoint when he stated,

Hirata Atsutane, who called himself Motoori's posthumous disciple,IV authored the work Honkyô gaihen with the appended comment "not to be shown to others." As a private work, he considered it "Shintoistic self-exhortation" [honkyô jibensaku]; in fact, it was after he wrote Honkyô gaihen that he penned all his other works relating to Shinto. This Honkyô gaihen is, as a matter of fact, a replication of a book of Christian apologetics, or else a satire of such a work, in which Atsutane models Amenomina-kanushi no kami after the deus of Christianity as a creator and ruler of all things, who dispenses rewards and punishments to human beings in accord with actions during their lives, and who leads good souls to heaven and casts evil souls into an underworldly hell. This syncretic Shinto-Christian "Hirata Shinto" became the rallying ideology of the sonnô ["revere the emperor"] movement in the late Tokugawa period, as is evident from such works as Shimazaki Tôson's Yoakemae ["Before the dawn"]. And that same Hirata Shinto became linked to the movement for the "Dissemination of the Great Teaching" (taikyô senpuV) in the early Meiji period, and to State Shinto from the last half of the Meiji period.2

Needless to say, both Ebisawa and Ishida base their claims on the presumption that Hirata was influenced by Christianity. Most scholars of the Shinto and Kokugaku persuasion, on the other hand, are more diffident with regard to the influence of Christianity on Hirata. As I have argued elsewhere,3 it is impossible to establish with certainty that Hirata developed his thought based upon an acceptance of Christianity. While it is true that Hirata emphasized Amenominakanushi no kami, his thought is not so simple as to allow one to conclusively establish that such emphasis was the direct result of Christian influence. In short, it must be said that the attempt to directly link Hirata's thought and the early Meiji-period Taikyô Senpu Undô, which was centered on a creator-god concept, represents a distortion of Hirata's thought.

Transcending earlier philological interpretations, the nativists who followed Hirata in the late Tokugawa period continued to maintain a foundation in the myths of the Kojiki and Nihon shoki, but came to the point of proposing a new cosmology. The concept of kami in the early years of Meiji cannot be considered while ignoring the intellectual contributions of this group. In turn, the structure of the cosmology they were attempting to achieve can be seen by studying their idea of Amenominakanushi no kami. Toward that end, it is first necessary to understand the relation of Amaterasu ômikami and Ôkuninushi no kami to that cosmological structure.

....... For more please refer to