Thai in Japan

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People Name: Thai
Country: Japan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 9,800
World Population: 23,678,100
Primary Language: Thai
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 1.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.50 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Thai
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Central Thai, or Siamese, live on the country's rich central plain. The area, which includes the capital city of Bangkok, is watered by the Chao Phraya River. The Central Thai, who represent more than a third of the population, call themselves the Khon Thai, meaning "the free people".

Centuries ago the Thai lived north of Yangtzekiang in China. Relentless pressure by the Chinese gradually forced them southward. They conquered many peoples and cultures as they sought a new homeland, and by the 10th century they had settled in Central Thailand. A bloodless revolution in 1932, led by Westernized intellectuals, instituted a democratic constitutional monarchy. However, the country has suffered numerous governmental upheavals since then. Today, Buddhism is the central and unifying force in Thai society and even maintains social control. The Central Thai speak Thai, the official language of the country.

Where Are they Located?

About half of the Thai people in Japan live in Kanto, a suburb of Tokyo.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Thailand is a fairly prosperous nation, so there is not a large Thai diaspora. Traditionally the Japanese and the Thai have had good relations, so the Thai are welcome in Japan. There seems to be a cultural affinity between the Japanese and the Thai. Both cultures resist overt conflict and enjoy one another's foods. There is a lot of trade between Japan and Thailand. There is even a Japanthaifanclub" Facebook page!

It is very common for the Thai to go to Japan as tourists, but some find temporary work there and overstay their visas. Some Thai women work in Japan as sex workers or take on blue collar jobs. Others migrate to Japan to marry Japanese men.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Theravada Buddhism was introduced in Thailand in 329 B.C. Almost all of the Thai are devout followers of Buddha ("the enlightened one") and seek to eliminate suffering and improve their future by gaining merit in pursuit of perfect peace, or nirvana. They believe that merit can be acquired through feeding monks, donating to temples, and attending worship services. The Japanese majority adheres to a different form of Buddhism than the Thai.

Traditionally, young men enter a Buddhist monastery for three months to study Buddhism. The Thai also incorporate their Buddhist beliefs with folk animism, a practice in which they seek help through the worship of spirits and objects.

What Are Their Needs?

Like people everywhere, the Thai people in Japan need to understand that they are sinners who need forgiveness from the God who created them. They need to find their way to the only One who can bridge the gap between God and man, Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to raise up a strong disciple making movement to saturate the hearts and minds of the Thai people in Japan.
Pray for God's blessing, strengthening and healing of Thai families and communities through the abundant life Jesus offers to all who call on His name.
Pray for God's blessing on the Thai leaders along with their families, and for their communities to welcome and enjoy God's blessing.
Pray for the Lord to multiply the reception and influence of His Word among this people group, leading them to love Him with their whole being.

Text Source:   Keith Carey