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Article Released Tue-30th-January-2007 18:34 GMT
Contact: Yoshiko Nagano Institution: University of the Philippines Diliman
 Filipinos and the Catholic Church in Japan

These three papers examine the role of the church in the lives of Filipinos living in Japan and the rest of East Asia.

Author: KASUYA, Maria Carmelita
Title of paper: The Filipino Catholics in Japan: Learning their Faith, Living their Faith, Sharing their Faith

Driven by poverty and/or the desire to improve the quality of life to ensure a brighter future for the family, Filipinos come to Japan. Once in Japan, they experience a lot of adjustments related to culture, language, working styles and climate. Uprooted from their own culture, Filipinos are faced with emotional problems like loneliness and helplessness. One of the ways to cope is to find solace and comfort in the church – alone, or with friends. Not only do they find spiritual refuge and joy in being at home with a community of the same faith, the church also gives them the opportunity to express their talents and to be of service, hence increasing their self-worth and brings about a new meaning to their existence with a stronger sense of identity. Coming from a predominantly Catholic country, most of the Filipinos come to Japan with their faith intact. While some learn more about their faith in Japan, others continue living their faith and have taken the challenge of sharing their faith. However, the differences in the expression of faith between the Japanese and Filipinos, the difficulty in integrating into the local church, the language barrier and lack of programs and structure to support migrants are among the problems that the Filipino Catholic in Japan need to overcome.

Author: ZARATE, Robert Paul
Title of paper: The Filipino Catholics: Hand in Hand with the Church in Japan in Taking Care of Bi-Cultural Children

Filipinos in Japan enjoy a sense of freedom and feel at home whenever they are in a Catholic Church. It is in Church where they can be themselves, where they feel they can do and give something to the Church and to society as well. Their presence in the Church in Japan is a sign of faith, happiness and religious enthusiasm. However, there is a lingering worry on how this vivacity can be sustained. The hope lies on their children, born or raised here in Japan, but there are issues that the children themselves face within the Church and within Japanese society. For those who can go to Church, they are asked to mingle with other Japanese kids in Church like they do in school. This is good. However, the Church can give them more than just Sunday mass and Sunday school. Many of them suffer a sense of identity-crisis, and there is a need for them to recognize, appreciate and share the richness of the two cultures they are raised in. Filipino and Catholics must address this specific problem of bi-cultural children together, from its awareness stage to the implementation of its solutions.

Author: LAGDAMEO, Ressurecsion P.
Title of paper: The Filipino “Floating” Community in East Asia: Convergence around the Catholic Churches

Economic resources determine the flow of migration; and this holds true to Filipinos who have left the Philippines. The mid-1970s up to the present marks the third-wave of Filipino migration mostly to Middle East and East Asia. Filipino men initially dominated the labor force. However, in the recent development, Filipino women share a substantial number dispatched as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).In the capitalist economy of Hong Kong, hundreds of thousands of Filipino domestic helpers get a niche to be helpers of Hong Kong residents and expatriates. Some of these women have been working in Hong Kong for more than 20 years. Every individual has a story to tell about their sacrifices living away from family. And every Sunday, the Statue’s Square (also known as “Black Man”) becomes the landmark of Filipino gatherings, where they come to meet with fellow OFWs and hear mass in a nearby church. In South Korea on the other hand, it is a male dominated labor force of Filipinos. Their presence can strongly be felt on Sundays as they meet fellow Filipinos (kababayan) who are to hear mass in Hyehwa-dong and or in other Catholic Churches. In this inquiry, the presenter would like to delve on the kind of Filipino communities being formed in Hong Kong and South Korea, the role of the Catholic Church in the formation of the community, and how Filipinos living abroad perceive the Church.

Meeting information

First Philippine Studies Conference of Japan (PSCJ November 2006)

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