I am currently reading three books related to Japan that are so interesting that I can hardly put them down. First, only for Kindle owners, be sure to read “Reconstructing 3/11: Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown – how Japan’s future depends on its understanding of the 2011 triple disaster.” With a $2.99 price tag, it certainly won’t break the bank.

Book description from amazon.com: “Reconstructing 3/11 draws on the experiences and expertise of noted journalists, independent writers, and Japan experts to take a close and insightful look at various facets of the 3/11 disaster. From an assessment of what the Kan administration did right, to a first-hand account of what it took to volunteer for clean-up after the disaster, to an analysis of how Japan’s yakuza gangsters actually proved a force for good during the early stages of disaster recovery, “Reconstructing 3/11” reports on angles and attitudes about that fateful day which you likely didn’t get from your conventional media outlets.”

Second, a recent publication by Wide Margin is “Developing a Contextualized Church As a Bridge to Christianity in Japan” by Mitsuo Fukuda (available in paperback and Kindle). This is an excellent book for those who are interested in learning more about Japanese culture as well as how to contextualize the gospel within the context of Japanese culture. From amazon.com: “What would a truly Japanese church look like – a church contextualized to Japanese needs, that sought to answer Japanese questions from a Japanese worldview? To find out, we first need to find out what those Japanese questions are and to understand how the Japanese worldview works. This study unpacks the social and religious assumptions that make up the Japanese way of seeing the world, and examines the cycle of rituals that make up a Japanese religious life. It then brings these views and assumptions into dialogue with the ecclesiology of the Apostle Paul and of contemporary Western theologians, producing new images of Church which resonate with a Japanese heart, and suggests new rituals which redeem and transform Japanese religious symbols.”

Third, I highly recommend “If I Perish” by Esther Ahn Kim. From amazon.com: “Ahn E. Sook stood alone among thousands of kneeling people. Her bold defiance of the tyrannical demand to bow to pagan Japanese shrines condemned her to a living death in the filth and degradation of a Japanese prison. This brave woman remained faithful to Christ in the face of brutality, oppression, and ruthlessness of her captors. The story of how she won many of her fellow prisoners to Christ in the most deplorable conditions is an inspiration to all.”

Although I am not quite finished the book, I have been deeply moved by the passages describing her spiritual battle against her fear and dread of impending brutal torture, starvation, and imprisonment. Before reading this book, I was not aware how incredibly violent and severe the persecution of Korean Christians was during the time of Japanese occupation. This is certainly an important read for all Christians who love Japan; it is also incredibly inspiring!

A quote from the book as the author travels from Korea to Tokyo, Japan: “I opened the front window and looked down on the Tokyo business district…Jesus! I said to my Savior. The crowd You saw must have been like this one. That was why You could not come down from the cross but had to die there. You died to save them. I shall also die. Even though I might have to go through horrible torture, I shall die gladly if that will make this crowd walk in the right path.” Oh, that we would all love the Japanese as she did – enough to die for them!