What do the Japanese really believe?


The original Japanese text is here. The survey was carried out in October 2003 with a response of 1,417 people from the 2,000 parcipitants chosen. Sorry, but some of the religious terms are not too familiar to me, so the translation may not be very accurate.

Q1: Which of the following do you have in your house?

Shinto shelf 44.1%
Buddhist Altar 49.8%
Shinto God Charm 24.0%
Shinto Paper Offering 7.3%
Temple/Shrine Charm 26.3%
Cooking Stove God Charm 9.8%
None 24.0%
Don’t know 1.5%

Q2: Which of the following do you do:

New Year’s Temple Visit 72.6%
Obon etc Grave Visit 76.0%
Carrying a Charm 25.8%
Visiting Shrines when in Neighbourhood 24.3%
Prayers for Family or Business 22.7%
Reading Fortunes/Horoscopes 8.9%
Reading Religion-Related Books 7.3%
Zen, Yoga, Mass, etc 3.3%
None 5.7%
Don’t know 0.5%

Q3: Which of the following do you think exist?

God (or gods in general) 35.6%
Buddha 36.3%
Ancestors’ Spirits 36.3%
Heaven 12.1%
Hell 10.0%
Other Worlds (Pure Land, etc) 15.9%
Reincarnation/Rebirth 17.8%
Charms and Guards do not Exist 13.0%
Nothing Supernatural Exists 27.0%
Don’t know 10.4%

Q4: What do you think about “god” (“God”? “gods”?) and “Buddha”?

They are almost the same 22.8%
They are completely different 23.9%
They are different, but work in similar ways 23.7%
I’ve never thought about the differences 21.0%
Don’t know 8.5%

Q5: Which of the following do you take note of:

Butsu-metsu (unlucky) wedding day 42.1%
Tomobiki (unlucky) funeral day 42.8%
Purification returning from funeral 30.2%
Sleeping with head pointing northward 31.7%
The number 4 15.3%
Friday the 13th 11.9%
Unlucky year 43.8%
Direction house faces 21.2%
Name kanji stroke count 13.3%
None of them 22.5%
Don’t know 2.0%

Q6: Which of the following do you think are true:

Spoon-bending 9.9%
Blood-type & character 37.8%
Star signs & character and fate 11.9%
Mediums 18.7%
Healing/laying on hands 8.1%
Feng Shui 10.0%
Curses 14.4%
Poltergeist 5.8%
None of them 33.8%
Don’t know 10.1%

Q7: Do you have faith?

Yes 29.1%
No 70.9%

SQ: If Yes, which of the following (more than one OK)

Shinto 22.0%
Buddhism 77.2%
Christianity 7.7%
Other 3.6%
Don’t know 2.7%

Q8: Do you think that to have a happy life, religious is important?

I think it is 38.7%
I don’t think it is 44.2%

Q9: In the future, how will the relationship between Japanese and religion change?

Religion will become essential 3.4%
Religion will be needed more 10.3%
No change from now 58.5%
Religion will become less needed 13.5%
Religion will not be needed at all 4.2%
Don’t know 10.1%

Q10: Are you a member of a religious group?

Yes 8.8%
No 91.2%

SQ: If yes, which ones?

Shinto-related 4.0%
Traditional Buddhist 17.7%
Christian 12.9%
Soka Gakkai 41.9%
Other Nichiren Buddhist 3.2%
Tenri Sect 4.8%
Shinnyo-en 4.0%
Other group 9.7%
Don’t know 1.6%
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  1. samuel welsh said,
    November 19, 2010 @ 14:14

    well at least thier are more christians now in japan

  2. Al Costanzo said,
    March 20, 2011 @ 21:27

    Being a Christian, I pray for the country of Japan, the leaders and the people. I pray that they believe in the one true God and his son Jesus Christ.

    And to those that are Japanese in Japan that read this, Chistmas, is not just a day Jesus Christ’s birth.

    Now more than even, they need Jesus, please do not discard my words, but believe an turn to to the Lord so that you may be saved.

    • Philip Timmis said,
      February 10, 2014 @ 13:13

      I will pray for you to the Amita Buddha, that you will find enlightenment to be more tolerant of other religions.

  3. Charlotte davies said,
    January 1, 2015 @ 00:05

    I am sure the people of Japan don’t need anyone to prey for them. Who is anyone to tell anyone else what they should believe. I wish Christians would do their own dirty laundry instead of trying to convert others

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