While we were in Tokyo, at every major station there were always several people holding yellow signs attached with megaphones blasting their recorded message of “eternal life for believers” and “burning in hell for non-believers”. What was inappropriate, were their appearance in front of major shrines on during the first few days of the New Year, when a large number visit the shrines to welcome the New Year. Its analogous to someone standing in front of a church before Christmas mass with a megaphone touting their opposing religion – with one twist, the vast majority of Japanese aren’t religious – the New Year visit to the shrine is more about tradition, superstition, and spirituality.

There were in front of the Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya on New Years and also at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo a couple days later. Some of the sign holders seemed to be American.

This public message about elimination of nuclear weapons seems more appropriate.

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