Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
In the minds of many people, religious rivalry could occasionally be expected to spill over into violence in places as diverse as the occupied West Bank or Glasgow’s ‘Old Firm’ football derby.
Japan’s Kansai region, home to the world’s most renowned Zen gardens and some of the country’s finest cuisine, on the other hand, is not generally seen as a tinderbox of religious tension.
But over the last year a series of mysterious attacks on Protestant churches and other facilities have roiled the area, leaving many churchgoers shaken and perplexed.
There have been over 50 such incidents in the last 12 months, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported, all involving fire extinguishers being thrown through the windows of Protestant premises when nobody was inside. Although there haven’t been any injuries, NHK news last week showed parishioners saying the attacks were shocking and unsettling.
When I was 14, my best friend and I were obsessed with the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar”, and we played the album until we had it memorised.
When I recently saw an ad for a “Japonesque Version” performed by Gekidan Shiki, one of Japan’s best-known theatre groups, with the entire cast in the white foundation and flaring makeup lines of traditional kabuki theatre, I knew I had to go.