Friday, September 17, 2010


Disclaimer: Please note that the following links to resources in English are provided for your convenience. Be advised that some information within a given article may change over time. However, please understand that searching for information in English (instead of in Japanese) on social issues within Japan, results in a more limited number of resources available. Periodic efforts will be made to check the following resources for “dead” links. (The date of the last revision is posted at the bottom of the page.)

Opportunities for Evangelism: Did you know that Japan has the most unreached people group of any developed nation in the world? The Christian population in Japan is usually cited as approximately 1% (or 1-2 million persons). Then in 2001, a Gallup Poll found approximately 6% of the population claimed Christian faith, a significantly higher percentage than earlier estimates. (Source: Of course, the vast majority (94%) are still non-Christian. Please pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers into his harvest field (Matthew 9:37-38).

Persecuted Church in Japan: Japan has a reputation as a place resistant to evangelism. Yet, Japan has one of the longest histories of the persecuted church in the world. In November 2008 at a special ceremony in Nagasaki, 188 Japanese Christian martyrs were officially recognized (beatified) by the Vatican. (For more information, see “Martyrs of Japan:”

Current Global Economic Crisis: In general, you can expect costs to be high during your time in Japan – including your food and transportation costs. And you can expect that economic instability affects Japanese citizens.

Homeless: Unemployment, the loss of jobs, and other factors contribute to the reasons for the growing homeless population. (Source:

Net Café Refugees: This is a category of homeless who sleep in 24-hour Internet cafes and manga cafes. (Source:

Death from Overwork: In Japan, there is a phenomenon called “death from overwork” (Karoshi) or occupational sudden death. (Source:ōshi)

Suicide: The suicide rate in Japan is one of the highest in the world among developed nations. For 10 consecutive years, there have been over 30,000 suicides per year. Financial concerns and unemployment are often factors.  (See also:

Bullying (Ijime): Student-to-student bullying is also a factor in student suicides. (Source:

School Refusal (Tokokyohi): One of the reasons students may refuse to go to school is because of bullying. (Source:

Social Withdrawal (Hikikomori): Persons become shut-ins; some not leaving their rooms. (Source:

Tokyo: The metropolitan area of Tokyo is listed as the world’s most populated area. Also, nearly 1/3 of the population of Japan lives within Tokyo and its surrounding area. Within the Tokyo area, there are specific cities or districts which have personalities all their own and attract certain kinds of people and activities. For example, Harajuku attracts many young people; it has lots of street musicians, street fashion (gothic Lolita, etc.). Shibuya also attracts many young people and is a major nightlife area. Akihabara is referred to as the Electric Town (or Electric City). Think electronic gadgets, hi-tech items, computer games, or anime. Shinjuku is the site of the Shinjuku government towers (from the top floor, you can see the surrounding Tokyo area). The JR Shinjuku station has an estimated 3.4 million people pass through it each day, making it the busiest station in the world. Other important places in Tokyo include the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, National Diet Building (national government building), and Yasukuni Shrine. In addition, there are numerous Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.

(Links checked December 10, 2014.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

For YWAM Outreach Teams

We, as YWAM Japan staff, want to help you prepare for your arrival in Japan. This page clarifies and explains the typical process of partnering with YWAM Japan staff in the greater Tokyo area. Our goal is to prepare your YWAM Outreach team, so that your experience and ours (as long-term YWAM Japan missionaries) might be enhanced.
Discernment Process
After you and your team have prayed and discerned that God has called you to come to Japan to serve on outreach, which specific locations (cities, regions) has God revealed to you? Please refer to the YWAM Japan web site for information on the various YWAM team locations in Japan ( Will your team serve the entire outreach in one location or more than one location?

What kinds of ministries has God put on your hearts? What spiritual gifts, talents, and skills do your teammates have? Do the existing YWAM Japan team locations have ministry opportunities you desire to provide? When you contact YWAM Japan staff, please inquire about ministry opportunities available in the area. YWAM Japan staff may also contact local churches and other ministries for your outreach experience. Please do not make direct contact with local churches or local ministries; please work through your YWAM Japan staff that have long-term commitments to serve in Japan and to develop enduring relations with local ministries and churches.

At this time in the greater Tokyo area, there is no YWAM “base.” YWAM Japan missionaries typically live in their own rented housing in different locations throughout the greater Tokyo area. Therefore, there is no single “base” for housing large teams. If teams are willing to split up into smaller groups, it is usually easier to accommodate you within the Tokyo area. Please consult with the YWAM Japan staff at the locations your team intends to serve.

In the greater Tokyo area, here are the YWAM teams and a brief explanation of the ministries available:
·      YWAM Japan National Office (Tokyo): Prayer and intercession for Japan, homeless ministry, and prayer-walks with outreach teams. Email:
·      YWAM Tokyo: Evangelism, worship, and Discipleship Training School. Email:
·      NorthEast Tokyo (Ayase): Sports ministries, working with local churches, and an affiliated coffee house. Email:
·      Narita (Chiba-ken): Church-planting and a Christian international preschool. Email:

Three Keywords
In order to make your outreach fruitful, we advise you with three keywords: Good Preparation, Servant’s Heart, and Thorough Communication.

Good Preparation
  •  Learn about Japan and prepare by praying frequently for your outreach and interceding for Japan. 
  • In general, Japanese do not understand English. A translator may not always be available in every church. In order to tell the good news, something beyond language needs to be prepared in advance of your team’s arrival in Japan (such as pantomime, dance, music, drama, etc.). If you learn some Japanese greetings before coming to Japan, it also helps to make the Japanese people’s hearts more open to you.
  • Please bring one set of clothing appropriate to wear in church at a Sunday worship service. These outfits do not have to be fancy. However, in Japan for special occasions, clothes are still one of the expressions of respect to others rather than just self-expression. Please consider how your team will look when you are standing on the platform in front of the congregation. How you present yourselves also reflects on other YWAM outreach teams and on YWAM Japan’s ongoing relationship with the local churches. At church services, please avoid wearing clothing that exposes a lot of skin, such as short pants, clothing with holes, sleeveless dresses, tank tops, spaghetti-strap tops, short skirts, beach sandals, low-slung pants, low-cut tops, etc. When in doubt, please “dress up” (rather than “dress down”).
  • Please bring clothes appropriate for the season. In the winter, colds and flu usually go around. Often team members become sick. In summer, it is very humid and hot. In spring and autumn, the weather is unstable. Recommended: Bring vitamins, cold medicines which you find effective, etc. (Typically, medicines and vitamins are expensive in Japan, and you may not be able to read the labels with instructions in Japanese.
  • Please practice using chopsticks before your arrival in Japan.

Prepare the way for the Lord; make straight paths for Him (Matthew 3:3).

Servant's Heart

·      In Tokyo, there are no YWAM “bases” (only family or individual homes or apartments). In most cases, we will try to arrange for your team to stay at local churches where you can also serve. Local churches are typically not big or rich. Most likely, you will have to sleep on the floor. Please do not expect that every church has futons or beds. SLEEPING BAGS are NECESSARY for every member of the outreach team to bring.
·      Church people will welcome you and try their best to host you. However, they expect you to minister to them. Please serve them with a servant's heart.
·      Please plan to bring a gift for the host of each place where your team plans to stay. (Suggestions: Pray and ask God what to bring. Ideas: Gift cards with a photo of your team, small packages of specialty coffee, packaged sweets or treats, something representative of your home country.)
·      Please be sure that all members (not only outreach leaders) receive the pastor’s orientation at the beginning of your stay.
·      Please follow the pastor’s guidance during your time at the church. Cleaning, washing dishes, tidying your belongings, properly handling garbage (sorting, recycling), etc., can minister to Japanese hearts mightily. This demonstrates thoughtful stewardship of the church building and builds a foundation of trust. This is also a way of honoring your host.
·      Please be aware that your hosts will bear additional costs while your team is staying with them (increased use of utilities, household supplies, etc.). Please do your best to conserve energy and resources.

and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:27-29)

Thorough Communication
One of the enemy’s strategies to disturb your team’s unity is miscommunication. Prayerfully guard over all communication, particularly:
·      Communication between the outreach leader and the contact person in YWAM Japan
·      Communication between the outreach leader and the local pastor
·      Communication between the outreach leader and the members of the team
To minimize miscommunication, communicate thoroughly even on seemingly small matters. Please confirm and reconfirm every communication in order to keep unity in the body of Christ. When you hit a communication snag, be sure to intercede until you feel the breakthrough.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).

(Updated September 16, 2009) 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Considering YWAM Japan?

Has God given you a prayer burden for Japan? Are you thinking about becoming a full-time missionary? Are you looking for more information to help you in your decision-making process? If you answered "yes" to all these questions, then please read on.

Discernment Process

Here are four key questions to ask yourself while you are discerning God’s calling on your life.
  1. Is God calling me to full-time ministry as a missionary?
  2. Is God calling me to join Youth With A Mission (YWAM), or some other organization?
  3. Is God calling me to Japan, and if so, which city or region?
  4. What is God calling me to do as part of my ministry and mission?
Missionary Organizations

There are many opportunities to serve as a full-time missionary in Japan. Youth With A Mission (YWAM) has teams in Tokyo, Narita, Osaka, Kagoshima, Okinawa, Nagano, and Kyoto. (See our YWAM Japan web site at

In addition to YWAM, there are other mission-sending organizations active in Japan. Many missionaries in Japan join the Japan Evangelical Missionary Association (JEMA) ( If you are interested in other organizations, check out the JEMA web site under the JEMA Member Missions. You can also find information by searching the Internet, talking with your pastor about your denomination's missionary organization, contacting missionaries in Japan, etc.

Other Opportunities in Japan
There are also other ways for Christians to come to Japan and serve or volunteer, without becoming a full-time missionary. Some persons come to Japan as short-term volunteers or on outreach. Some seek jobs teaching English or seek other kinds of employment. Some schools assist their employees in obtaining a working visa and sometimes with housing, as well. You can search the Internet for job opportunities.

YWAM Japan
If you are still thinking about serving as a full-time missionary with YWAM Japan, the following questions and statements may help you in your decision-making process and in your preparation for service in Japan.
  •  Are you familiar with the YWAM Foundational Values? If not, please read the values on the YWAM International web site ( If you join YWAM, you will be expected to uphold these values.
  • Please read the YWAM Statement of Faith ( Are these statements compatible with your own beliefs? If not, you may want to consider other missionary organizations or other ways of serving in Japan.
  • Have you completed the YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS)? This is the basic requirement for every YWAM missionary in any location in the world. If you haven't yet completed the DTS, please go to the YWAM International web site ( for when and where DTS is available. The typical DTS classroom period is 3 months, followed by 2-3 months on outreach. There is an English-speaking DTS in Tokyo (please email:
  • If you've already completed the DTS, have you ever been to Japan? If not, it may be helpful for you to take an exploratory trip to confirm that God is calling you to Japan. On your trip, please visit YWAM teams that have ministries which appeal to you.
  • Which ministries has God given you as a special passion? What is your vision for your ministry in Japan? How does your vision make use of your particular spiritual gifts? Of the YWAM teams in Japan, which seems to be the best match for your gifts, talents, etc.?
  • Persons interested in joining YWAM Japan must make a commitment to learn the Japanese language. If you are not fluent, are you willing to set aside time to study the Japanese language? What current options do you have for Japanese language study where you are located?
  • Do you know something about Japanese culture, customs, foods, and lifestyle? What can you do to learn more about life in Japan? Are you interested in learning about and experiencing other cultures than your own?
  • What do you know about the Christian history of Japan? Many people are unaware of the centuries-long persecution of Japanese Christians and the many martyrs of the faith in Japan. Please do some research on the Internet, or read some books on the Christian history of Japan.
Application Process

When you have confirmation of your calling to Japan, the next step is to contact the staff at one or more of the team locations. Names and email addresses are listed on the YWAM Japan web site for each location (

The typical process involves your completion of all required application forms and requested documents, including completed reference forms, for the specific YWAM team. Once the application packet is received in Japan, the next step is usually a time of prayerful discernment by the team. If the team discerns that God is calling you to join them, they will notify you. The next step is typically for the team to submit a "Religious Activities" visa application on your behalf to the Immigration Department in Japan. If and when the visa is granted, you will be notified of the timeframe (window of time) during which you can enter Japan.

After you've been officially accepted as new "staff" by a team, you can inquire about costs of living, available housing options, required national health insurance, estimated local transportation costs, utilities, etc. In this way, you can estimate your total monthly living expenses. Because YWAM "staff" are not paid, but serve essentially as volunteers, you will be expected to raise your own support and to be dependent upon God for all your needs.

Remember, one of the YWAM Foundational Values is to rely upon relationship-based support. "YWAM is called to a relationship-based support system, depending upon God and His people for financial provision, both corporately and individually. We believe that relationship-based support promotes responsibility, accountability, communication, and mutual prayer. It involves the donor as a partner in ministry. As God and others have been generous toward us, so we desire to be generous. YWAMers give themselves, their time and talents to God through the mission with no expectation of remuneration."

Usually fund-raising begins by talking with family, friends, your pastor, etc. Pray for God to give you guidance on whom to ask and how to share your vision for your future ministry. Consider putting together an attractive brochure or single-page newsletter that describes your future mission. There are also YWAM resources on support-raising, such as Loren Cunningham's book, Daring to Live on the Edge: The Adventure of Faith and Finances (available at the YWAM Publishing site 

Prayer Support
It is also important to have prayer support when you enter full-time missions. Which persons or groups will regularly pray for you and your ministry? If you had an emergency while serving in a foreign country, how could a prayer network be activated on your behalf?

When you have completed your discernment process, you will probably have more questions to ask. If you decide to apply to a particular YWAM team, then that team will be the one to answer your questions. Because each team has its own unique setting, staff, vision, etc., your team can advise you best.

(Updated December 10, 2014.)


Address: Nihonzutsumi 1-19-6, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0021.
Office Phone: 03-5603-1775

The closest train station to the YWAM Japan National Office is MinamiSenju. 
You can take any one of the following: Hibiya Line, JR Joban Line, or Tsukuba Express.

If you use the Hibiya Line, take the South exit. Near the Hibiya station South exit, take the stairs to the walkway that goes over the railroad tracks and road. Then follow the main road on the right-hand side of the street. You'll pass a 7-Eleven store. Continue straight until you see a Police Box (koban). Then turn right and walk approximately 2 blocks. We're on the left-hand side in the covered shopping street. Watch for our sign (shown on this blog). From the station, it takes approximately 15 minutes to walk to the National Office. 

About Us

The YWAM Japan National Office has 6 team members. 

  • Chiori Kawamoto is the Office Manager. Over her years of serving YWAM Japan, she has also served on the National Leadership Team (NLT). 
  • Sandy Gibbard (Canadian) has been serving the National Office since 1998. She has been called by God to the area where the National Office is located. 
  • Aki Hayashi handles paperwork and files related to personnel and immigration visas for YWAM staff. 
  • Shinko Hayashi joined the team in 2015. She is Aki Hayashi's wife and has been associated with YWAM Japan many years prior to becoming an official teammate.
  • Kristyn Kuroki's commitment as YWAM Japan staff was completed at the end of July and a week later she has left Japan for the US. All your former team members are missing you and praying for much more blessings be with you as resuming life back in California.
(Updated August 6, 2015.)

Ministry Opportunities with the National Office

The YWAM Japan National Office is located in a section of Tokyo historically called Sanya. It has been the low-class area of Tokyo where leatherworkers practiced their craft and where an execution site was located. After World War II, many men came to Sanya looking for day-work. Today, the execution site is no longer in use. However, there are still signs of deterioration and economic depression. When you walk through the area, you will see many homeless persons. Nearby there is also a prostitution district.

Ministry Opportunities
Whether you are part of an outreach team or are a single visitor, if you plan to come to Tokyo and would like to participate in some Christian ministries, there are opportunities to do so.

Prayer & Intercession: Given the history and present reality of the area, there are opportunities for prayer-walks and times of prayer and intercession with the National Office staff. Past times of intercession have included themes of praying for Japan, for the healing of historic wounds between Japan and other nations, and times of reconciliation with persons from other nations. Prayer-walks can be scheduled for locations within Tokyo such as the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, Shinjuku Government Tower.

Homeless Ministry: There are various ministries which serve the homeless in Tokyo. Some churches and other charitable organizations are involved.

Other Opportunities: There are several YWAM teams with ministries in the greater Tokyo area (Kanto region). On the home page of this blog, there is a list of links to other YWAM Japan web sites.

Preparation for Outreach in Tokyo
If you are preparing to bring your team to the greater Tokyo area, please read through the YWAM Japan Outreach Team information available on this blog.