14

There are a large number of anime shows that portrays Christianity. Neon Genesis Evangelion shows a lot of Christian symbolism, such as crosses. Shows such as Trinity Cross and Chronos Crusade have nuns/people from the Church. Is the percentage of shows containing strongly Christian elements representative of the percentage of Christians in Japan?

I'm not expecting exact percentages, but more of a general ballpark idea.

  • 5
    A clarification: Hideaki Anno, the director of Evangelion, is an agnostic and Japanese spiritualist, and he is "not familiar with many things in Christianity." I don't believe he's ever divulged why he chose so many Christian concepts except his thoughts that they "sounded cool." – Killua Feb 5 '13 at 4:49
  • Related to what @Eric said - 0-media-cdn.foolz.us/ffuuka/board/a/image/1338/14/… – atlantiza Feb 5 '13 at 15:28
  • Not sure about that, (that they're portraying Christianity in animes). Well simply because I noticed some animes that have priests as villains (e.g. Fate Stay Night). And I think Christians percentage there is relatively low. – xjshiya Feb 6 '13 at 0:44
  • I was hoping you would have an example like Kenshin; which had a major Christian villain who wants to avenge Tokugawa atrocities against Christians in Meiji era, resulting in a stand-off that could lead to massacre of innocents, a 250 year backstory that involves Portugal. – Jesvin Jose Feb 10 '15 at 11:34
21

No, not at all. As looper mentioned, the amount of Christianity in Japan is around 1% which is a really small percentage.

Evangelion assistant director mentioned that they originally used Christian symbolism only to give the project a unique edge against other giant robot shows, and that it had no particular meaning:

"There are a lot of giant robot shows in Japan, and we did want our story to have a religious theme to help distinguish us. Because Christianity is an uncommon religion in Japan we thought it would be mysterious. None of the staff who worked on Eva are Christians. There is no actual Christian meaning to the show, we just thought the visual symbols of Christianity look cool. If we had known the show would get distributed in the US and Europe we might have rethought that choice." source

This is the case in a lot of other anime series which have religious symbols: they are placed there to give the show a distinct look and feel, or to add a thin coat of mysticism.

Note the "we just thought the visual symbols of Christianity look cool" part of the above quote. I think (I may be wrong though, this is my personal opinion) that most of religious symbols in anime are there for that reason.

4

No it is not. Christians only make up about 1% of Japan. The main reason for this is because it is foreign to most Japanese, giving it a different feel.

Think about most American movies. Whenever they want to have some supernatural force, it will almost always be because of some Buddhist or other East Asian philosophy/religion. To us Americans, it seems foreign, exotic and even cool. However, the vast majority of the time, it is not anything like what it actually is.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

3

No. There are only around 1% Christians in Japan, so it's very minor. Christmas isn't even an official holiday.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

0

Japanese people have a penchant for admiring foreign cultures and artifacts, and "glorifying" them in the process. The way Christianity is being portrayed in anime is in the same level as that of portraying French or English culture. It is primarily added to bring about a certain look and feel, but also because the story/plot has some relation to the religion mentioned. If it wasn't Christianity, the animators/story-tellers would have added another foreign artifact to bring that certain look and feel - a.k.a. cool factor.


Source: https://www.quora.com/Why-do-the-Japanese-have-such-an-admiration-of-Western-culture-especially-American

The answer on the link above explains much of Japan's admiration for foreign cultures and artifacts. That aspect carries over to anime as well.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.