Prayer Profile
The Japanese of China

[IMAGE] The Japanese living in China are primarily businessmen, bankers, and engineers. They are part of a complex structure providing an exchange of economic and technical aid to the Chinese. Over the last twenty years, there has been a significant change in relations between the peoples of China and Japan. A long-term trade agreement and a Chinese-Japanese peace treaty were signed in 1978. These seem to indicate an end to the Chinese resentment against the Japanese (for their invasions into China in the 1930's). However, the current relationship is primarily driven by economics.

For the most part, China welcomes Japanese capital and technology, while Japan attempts to adapt to China's diplomatic and economic goals. The Japanese government is very interested in an economic relationship between China and Japan. They also feel that Japan's support for China's political leaders and modernization policies is essential for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

What Are Their Lives Like?
The Japanese can be found in many of China's major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. However, no other city in China today has a more interesting historical and geographical tie to the nation of Japan than the city of Dalian.

In the 1930's, Dalian was known as the jewel in the Japanese Manchurian Empire. Located due east of Beijing, Dalian served as a point of entry for up to 200,000 Japanese on their way to a Japanese colony, Manchukuo. Their goal in Manchukuo was to unite its five races (Japanese, Chinese, Manchu, Koreans, and Mongolians) into a perfect multi-cultural society. Unfortunately, their attempt to create a "continental paradise" ended in disaster. Countless Chinese peasants lost their land to Japanese "pioneers." Tens of thousands lost their lives, killed by Japanese efforts to control rebels and bandits. Chinese workers in factories and coal mines were brutally treated.

Perhaps the worst brutality was committed by the Japanese doctors in the Kwatung Army. They conducted horrible medical experiments with plague-infested rats, fleas, and contaminated food and drinks. In their haste to elude the Soviet Red Army in 1945, 20,000 Japanese were left behind, mainly women and children. Since 1972, many of these people have returned to Japan. Some have suffered discrimination, being regarded as Chinese rather than Japanese.

With such a past, it is surprising that the Japanese would once again concentrate on Manchuria and Dalian as its most popular areas of investment in China. Some assume that this may be based on sympathy or guilt from the past.

The Chinese acknowledge how the Japanese invaded their country and brutally treated their people, but consider this a part of their history that is no longer relevant. The Chinese view themselves as behind economically and believe they must make sacrifices by accepting foreign capital and exercising cooperation.

Dalian is now home to over 825 Japanese firms. The majority of Japanese investments are located in the city's Economic and Technological Development Zone. Ten years ago this area was a tiny fishing village; now it generates employment for over 80,000 people with such prestigious Japanese firms such as Toshiba and Matsushita. Japanese businessmen live comfortably in a housing complex within the zone. There, they enjoy a Japanese restaurant, karaoke bar, and a Japanese bath house.

What Are Their Beliefs?
Many Japanese are indifferent and skeptical of established religion. Most of the Japanese in China are Mahayana Buddhists. However, it is not known how much they are influenced or controlled by the Chinese government's attitude toward religion.

What Are Their Needs?
On the outside, the Japanese seem to have few needs. However, many of them have become obsessed with materialistic pleasures, careers, and possessions. Their greatest need is to be introduced to the Father through His Son, Jesus. Unfortunately, China's present system of Communism restricts the spreading of the Gospel.

Prayer Points
  • Pray that China will soon be open to Christian missionaries.
  • Pray that Christian businessmen will have open doors to share the Gospel with the Japanese.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Japanese toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
  • Pray that the Japanese Christians will have opportunities to share the love of Jesus with their families and friends.
  • Pray that Christian radio and television broadcasts will be effective in reaching the Japanese.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that have kept the Japanese bound for many generations.
  • Pray that God will raise up teams of intercessors to stand in the gap for these precious people.
  • Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Japanese in China by the year 2000.

See also the following Groups:
The Japanese of Japan; and The Japanese of Thailand.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Japanese
  • Country: China
  • Their language: nihongo
  • Population: (1990) 783,200
    (1995) 827,900
    (2000) 870,900
  • Largest religion: Buddhist (Mahayana) 60%
    New-religionist 18.4%
    Nonreligious 18.4%
  • Christians: 1.6%
  • Church members: 13,247
  • Scriptures in their own language: Bible
  • Jesus Film in their own language: Available
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 1
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 369,300 (44%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 62,900 (7%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 306,400 (37%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 458,600 (56%)
  • Country: China
  • Population: (1990)1,135,043,000
  • Major peoples in size order: Han Chinese (Mandarin) 67.7%
    Han Chinese (Wu) 7.5%
    Han Chinese (Cantonese) 4.5%
    Han Chinese (Hunanese) 3.5%
  • Major religions: Nonreligious 55%
    Chinese Folk Religionist 17%
    Atheist 12.7%
    Christian 7.5%
    Buddhist 5.3%
    Muslim 2.4%
  • Number of denominations: 42

© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center

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