Japanese Charities

In Tokyo in May, I went to visit people from two different development charities. They were both Christian charities because the contact that I found them through was Christian. However there isn’t a strong secular philanthropic tradition in Japan, as people are more inclined to let the government do everything.

Keep in mind that although these notes have come from Japanese people, they are quite Christian and American points of view. They may be unbalanced.

Religion and Communism

In communist Vietnam and Laos, I was told that the government is scared of religion. The staff of one of the Japanese Christian charities were followed and monitored closely, and they had great difficult renewing their visas every year. Eventually they had to close their local offices. Secular charities were left alone.

From the Christian point of view, this communist fear is because religious people “obey no earthly authority”. This is certainly true at the cutting edge of missionaries working in Asia (although in my experience believers are just as likely to obey authority when in the West). On the other hand, as someone who supports secular charities, I can imagine why a government might get frustrated by a ham-fisted linking of development aid with religious instruction. People should be free to explore whatever religion they like to try and understand what we are in this astonishing world, so it is a shame when the politicisation of religion from either direction causes such conflict.

It’s interesting that in Asia organisations like the Wycliffe bible translators, and Christian development missions seem to have far more difficulties than in Africa. I wonder whether this is because of the presence of an existing similarly structured religion (Buddhism) to compete with, because the African’s monotheistic animism is better tuned to Christianity, or some other historical reason?

Reliance on Government

I was told that Japanese people are very submissive these days. The older generation from just after the war were much more creative and active, but now people are more likely to just slot into their cog’s position in society. For example, there were demonstrations against the renewal of the Japan/US Security Treaty in the 1960s, but there are never large protests now.

This conformity is worrying from an economic point of view – that Japanese inventiveness may now decline – and also from the point of view of a charity looking for donations.

Once a charity takes too much government money, it can do less advocacy. One of the charities I visited refused any government money, to force themselves to try and make the rest of society care directly about poverty throughout the world. After WWII the Japanese had little and were helped. Some of the old people alive now remember this, and so in turn help those who are suffering in today’s world.

The government does do what would otherwise be charitable work. Often a welfare service started by Christians will be taken over and run by the government. On development, it is believed that although the Japanese government give aid, it does not really get to help the poorest of the people. NGO spending tends to be longer term than the short 1 or 3 year government projects.

Other Issues

Another problem that Japanese charities have is racism. There’s no feeling that you need to help people from another race. Black people are for some reason considered more alien than white. I didn’t manage to get a full understanding of how racist people in Japan are, but unlike the submissiveness problem, this one is on the decline. Japanese culture is becoming less racist.

6 thoughts on “Japanese Charities

  1. I am also interested in obtaining a list of japanese and if possible european charities and foundations.

    With Thanks

    P.O.Box 12170
    Kampala – Uganda
    East Africa
    Tel:+256 772 647 513

  2. I have just met an American Japanese girl who has been taken from her whole life – I decided “As a Christian” to lift her spirits by sending her a dress.

    It seems to me that gifts to Japanese people can either be miss interpreted as either insults or viewed as if given with conditions.

    It’s ironic that tonight I did a search for Japanese charities on yahoo and found none.

    My question – or statement I would like to ask is – are Asians scared of Jesus Christ? – don’t they see that we are his instruments and that by doing his will is the highest living possible on this earth?

    I have met Buddhists and in my opinion – Buddhism is a very lazy religion – Buddhists can walk past someone who is starving on the street and justify it – they must deserve there karma – where as a Christian cant walk past without doing something as we have to live with ourselves if we don’t.

    Hope is cheep in that it can be given so freely and yet the will to live – to witness a soft soul can be the Falk in the road we all need from time to time – we all hit rock bottom in our lives – we all also find ourselves in the process – suffering is fuel – to use that fuel for good – or evil is our choice – the choice to be good is harder – yet the only choice we can make if our lives are to have any purpose at all.

    I have also discovered that there are no Chinese Charities either – nor does the Soviet Union have any charities.

    Why is this???

    Can someone explain to me the selfishness of this lifestyle?

    To me – I have been given to from many many countries through the world – including Muslim and Buddhists citersens I might add. Turkey has the warmest respectful people – Germany, Spain, France, Thailand – the list goes on and on.

    Honestly if a race cannot give unconditionally as a way of thanking the universe “Jesus for me” – there lives are wasted as they have learned nothing and haven’t seen a single thing and cannot appreciate the gifts we are all surrounded by in this life.

    Darren John Edmonds

    P.S – I am right behind the people of Thailand for overthrowing there corrupt monarchy – turkey did it in the 20’s and hasn’t looked back from there.

    Perhaps the Japanese, The Chinese and The Russians need to find themselves – after all its there countries – the government is there for them – not the people for the government.

    At our Orphanage, Home
    we aim to give the children hope, in a very uncertain world.
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    community within our cultural heritage with pride in our hearts.
    Thus raising children with a dream of a future, as good citizens, who
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    and it is our desire that our children can dream also, in a safe and
    beautiful world. But without you all, we are as nothing. But a raindrop
    in the sky, waiting on the sun to rise. And dry up all the rain, as
    feeding our crops to give us nourishment for a new season to begin.
    And thus, a child has a new beginning, a new day, and a future in our
    beautiful land. We have a dream, please let it be yours also, and support our children today.

    I on Behalf of the Fancis and Michel Orphan Smile Kindly request you to be part of this coming events. I am writing you on the behalf of the Francis and Michele Orphan Smile, a non-profit organization that Giving Shelter to Orphan Children and widows living with HIV / AIDs as well as spreads awareness about violence against women and girls. At Francis and Michele Orphan Smile, we provide female victims of domestic violence and abuse with support groups, counseling and safe-houses across the communities .

    On October 31, 2011, the FRANCIS AND MICHELE ORPHAN SMILE will be hosting a fundraiser, at Siaya county township to raise $25,000 for a new safe-house in orphanage home. The Francis and Michele Orphan Smile currently has 15 Roof Thatch-houses in the Orphanage home which is based at Alego Usonga Constituency which has the highest rate of violence against women, Due to their traditional culture where widows are forced to remarries their respectives inlaws after the death of their husbands, tis practice also is the root cause of the spread of HIV/AIDs The new safe-house will provide female victims of the Community a safe environment to seek refuge, counseling and help with how to get out of their violent situation.

    Francis and Michele Orphan Smile will be inviting local and national businesses, women’s organizations and families to participate in the event. If you could donate an item for our auction, provide food/beverages, print posters and t-shirts for the event, that would help make Francis and Michele Orphan Smile a huge success. Francis and Michele Orphan Smile will also be giving 100 sterling silver rings to the most involved members. If you could either donate the rings or help pay for them that too would be greatly appreciated.

    In return for your generosity, the Francis and Michele Orphan Smile will be printing the names of each business, individuals, involved with the event on commemorative t-shirts.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and about the Francis and Michele Orphan Smile. We hope you consider making a donation. If you have any questions or need further information, please feel free to contact me via email at francisorphanagehome@yahoo.com or visit our website at
    Pator Francis

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