Protestantism in Japan

Protestantism in Japan

Protestants in Japan constitute a religious minority of about 0.4% of total population or 509,668 people in number (see Protestantism by country).

All major traditional Protestant denominations are presented in the country, including Baptists, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Pentecostals, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Lutherans, the Anglican Church, Methodists, the Presbyterian Church , Mennonites , the Salvation Army and some others.

Divie Bethune McCartee was the first Protestant Christian missionary to visit Japan in 1861-1862. His gospel tract translated into the Japanese language was the first Protestant literature in Japan. In 1865 McCartee moved back to Ningbo, China, but others have followed in his footsteps.

The Japanese responded favorably to the gospel in the late 1800s when Japan re-opened its doors to the West. However, this was followed by renewed suspicion and rejection of Christian teaching. Protestant church growth slowed dramatically in the early 20th century as pressure from within caused by rationalistic higher criticism and the influence of the military government stunted growth.

The post-world war II years have seen increasing activity by evangelicals, initially with American influence, and some growth occurred between 1945 and 1960, and more recently there is some influence from Korea.

The Japanese Bible Society was established in 1937 with the help of National Bible Society of Scotland (NBSS, now called the Scottish Bible Society), the American Bible Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society.

By some estimations, there are 3,000 Protestant churches in Tokyo, and 7,700 Protestant churches in Japan. There are several christian TV and radio stations broadcasting in the country.

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