Twenty-two years ago, my religious life was rooted in Buddhism and Shintoism, like other Japanese.
In 1981, when I was 30 years old, I traveled to Florence in Italy and became acquainted with Christianity.
Back in Japan, I happened to meet a group of Catholics and began to know and experience what it means to be a Christian.
With a friend, I got to know the Passionists and went through a long period of catechesis. I was baptized when I was 33 years old and began my journey following Christ Crucified.
The modern history of the church in Japan is 120 years old. A long period of interruption, following a brief period of Jesuit missionary activity in the 1500s, preceded its modern history.
Today, in a population of 120 million, Catholics number 440,000 (0.4%). Yet, despite its small numbers the Catholic church has a strong position in Japanese society, thanks to institutions founded and administered by religious: schools, hospitals, shelters, etc. (map above shows locations of Passionist retreats in Japan)