Japan: The Women
“My husband is not a Christian… yet,” Yukiko said. She was one of three Japanese women that attended a house church with us a week ago on Saturday night.
Beside Yukiko sat Nori, whose husband is also not a Christian and is not much of a father to their 5-year-old son, Yuki, who sat playing in the middle of the floor.
Keiko was the oldest of the three women and a widow. Her husband died at the age of 41. He was required to work 90 hours a week. He hadn’t had a day off in nearly 5 months. He was worked to death, literally.
That’s the harsh reality for women in Japan. Husbands are (typically – some exclusions apply) abusive, non-existent, workaholics, or a combination of the three.
The demands on Japanese men are nearly unbearable. They often have a long commute (5 million – no exagerration – people ride the train into Tokyo each morning), work long hours (until after their boss leaves), then drink until the wee hours of the morning to numb the pain. By the time they get home, it’s usually around midnight or 1:00 a.m., so they crash in bed. Rinse and repeat.
As a result, most children in Japan don’t know their dads. This is why it was such a huge victory that TEN fathers showed up to our closing program. This included Yukiko’s husband, who came to support their two sons. The other amazing news for Yukiko is that her husband has agreed to couples counseling.
I sympathized with the weariness in her voice as she spoke of her trying marriage. She and her husband have been married for 13 years. Most of that time, he has treated her horribly. Yet through it all, she clings to hope – that one day her husband will come to know Christ.
As Keiko so aptly said, “If Christ touches it, it can change.”
That’s my prayer for Japan. That Christ would touch it… that He would change hearts… that He would be a Father to the fatherless… that He would give strength, patience, and endurance to the women…