I am having a hard time finding hard and fast Christian demographics in Japan. For reference, here are my findings so far… (Updated 2010-05-21)
The Church Information Service has church numbers, attendance, church-to-population and baptism statistics for all Japanese prefectures. The 2009 survey show 7879 churches, up 51 from last year; total church membership for the whole country was 548,643. (Down 2.7%) Average weekly service attendance was 279,932. (Down 0.5%)
There were 7,727 baptisms in the last year. (Down 8%)
The average Sunday school attendance for the whole country was 57,923. (Down 2.7%)
So in terms of population, that means: 0.4% of the Japanese population is a church member; 0.2% of the population attend church regularly.
Comparing the 2000 and 2006 editions of Christian Newspaper’s “Christian Information Book”, just looking at the number of churches we can say that mission in Japan is tentatively advancing.
There were 7642 Protestant churches across the whole country in 2000, rising 350 churches in 6 years to 7992. In that time, the Japanese population rose slightly by 1.25m, but the church density rate improved from 16,431 people per church to 15,869.
However, average church attendance has declined from the 2000 edition, showing that although the number of churches has grown, the number of Christians has declined.
It also goes on about the affect of city mergers and redistricting obscuring unreached area numbers.
This article looks quite interesting. Here’s a free translation (apologies for some of the statistical weirdness - that’s theirs, not mine) but I’d love to see the source data:
What effect has the current “blockade mentality” - an aging population, low birth rate, collapse of the Japanese employment system and the stratification of society - had on Japan’s churches? Is this blockade mentality replicated inside the churches as well? The results of our survey, “Knowing the state of Japan’s churches”, held in conjunction with the fifth Japan Evangelical Association project show that 48.4% of Evangelical pastors report a “blockade mentality” while 51.6% say they have no such mentality. Let us examine the state of the church from the results of our survey.
The survey, carried out as a Christian Newspaper 40th anniversary project with the JEA took as its keyword “blockade mentality”. The survey (with 601 respondents) found that 48.4% reported a blockade mentality, while 51.6% say there was no such mentality, meaning that the “no blockade mentality” had a majority of 3.2% of respondents. Since “No blockade mentality” had a majority of 7.4% in our interim survey result published in this paper on the 7th of October, 4.2% more pastors reported a blockade mentality since that time.
47% of churches said that their levels of zeal remained unchanged.
Taking a broad survey of the state of the church from our data, we see that over 60% of churches are in the suburbs or residential districts, and 70% have a full-time pastor. Of those, 53% support themselves solely through their pastoral salary. The majority of non-salary income comes from pensions, and together with those who report that they have no salary and live purely off their pensions, we may catch a glimpse of the fact that the increase in the number of churches is supported by pastoral evangelism by aging pastors.
34% of churches say that their church zeal had increased, but around half - 47.4% - reported that it was unchanged. Comparing the “blockade mentality” amongst different generations of worshippers, those churches reporting no blockade mentality saw the percentage of nursery, primary, and secondary school children making up the church change from 22.8% to 10.% in the past five years, while churches with a blockade mentality went from 14.1% to 6.3%, an average drop of 6.4%… Looking at churches without any 20 year olds, 14.5% of those with a blockade mentality had no men in their 20s and 10.6% had no women in their 20s, while those without a blockade mentality were 4.8% and 3.8% lower respectively. From our results, we can clearly see those with and without a blockade mentality by attendance growth and attendance amongst children and young people.
Looking at regular church meetings, 8.2% had a men’s meeting and 32.8% had a youth meeting. A survey in the spring of 2002 for the 2003 Christian Information Book found that women made up 62% of worshippers, but this survey found a greater gap between men and women over the age of 30. We can see this from the 9% of churches reporting in this survey that they hold a regular men’s meeting.
Asked about regular meeting that had closed down, young people’s groups made up 14.5%. Those wondering about closing or reducing their Sunday school activities in the next ten years were 2% less than those closing young people’s groups at 12.5%, and 12.1% were closing down women’s groups. In addition to these regular meetings, the church attendance demographics reflect no change in the number of middle and senior school students, and a decrease in the number of young people. (18-30s)
However, several churches who reported closing their young people, men’s and women’s groups commented that this was because they had moved to a cell group structure or other planned church restructuring.
What I can’t find is any statistics for age or gender demographics in churches. Unfortunately, that’s what I’m really looking for.