Japanese in Malaysia

Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Japanese
Country: Malaysia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 16,000
World Population: 120,448,500
Primary Language: Japanese
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 1.50 %
Evangelicals: 0.50 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Japanese
Affinity Bloc: East Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Before World War II, few Japanese lived in Malaysia. When Japan invaded and took over Malaysia in 1941, the Japanese military and workers from Japanese companies came to Malaysia. After the war most of these Japanese returned to Japan.

The Japanese in Malaysia speak Japanese at home and English and Malaysian at work. Many resources are available in Japanese including a complete Bible, the JESUS Film and radio programs.

Most Japanese live in or near Kuala Lumpur and in Selangor.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Today some Japanese people retire in Malaysia due to the low cost and warm weather. Also, Japanese businesspersons live in dozens of nations throughout the world. Many Japanese are managers in manufacturing (eg, the electronics industry) and are among the most prosperous members of the host countries. Often the poor resent their wealth and status. Wages are lower in Malaysia than in Japan.

The Japanese like to keep to themselves rather than mix with the Malaysians. There are Japanese day schools in several cities including Kuala Lumpur, the capital. Japanese parents want their children to attend top universities in Japan, Europe or the USA. The Japanese like to live in high rise flats near Japanese or international schools.

Japanese parents prefer than their children marry other Japanese. Today most Japanese young people choose their own spouses with the blessing of their parents. Monogamy is the norm for Japanese. Most Japanese couples have a small number of children compared to Malaysians.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Shintoism is the native religion of Japan. It is rooted in animism (belief that non-living objects have spirits). Its many gods or spirits are known as kami. Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the sixth century. Today, most Japanese claim to be both Shinto and Buddhist.

Traditions of Shintoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism have all contributed to Japanese religious principles: a reverence for ancestors; a belief in religious continuity of the family; a close tie between the nation and religion; a free exchange of ideas among religious systems; and religious practices centered on the use of prayer, meditation, amulets, and purification. Unlike many Asian peoples, there has been only a minimal movement to Christ among the Japanese. Most Japanese are proud of their wealth and traditions, and few see their need for the salvation that Christ offers.

What Are Their Needs?

Japanese in Japan and Malaysia must see themselves as sinners. They must understand that pursuit of money and materialism will not bring them the peace and personal meaning they seek. Many Japanese are indifferent to and skeptical of established religion. However, many have become obsessed with materialistic pleasures, careers and possessions. Their greatest need is to be introduced to the Father through His Son, Jesus.

Prayer Points

Pray that the Japanese in Malaysia will realize they need a Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ask the Lord to call laborers to go to Malaysia and share Christ with the Japanese people there.

Pray that Christian businesspersons will have open doors to share the gospel with the Japanese.

Ask the Lord to raise up a church among the Japanese in Malaysia in this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project