ASIA/JAPAN- Inter-religious solidarity and hope in the day of mourning for the "49 days"

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Tokyo (Agenzia Fides) - Christians and Buddhists in Japan have shared today, April 28th, in solidarity and love for one another, the "49 Days" since the tragedy of 11 March, when an earthquake and tsunami devastated the nation.
According to Japanese Buddhist traditions in fact, the "49 days after death," called "Shiju-kunichi" is a significant occasion because it is the moment when the spirit leaves the body of the dead, to achieve one of the six kingdoms of the Buddhist cosmology The 49th day, the Franciscans of Tokyo, refer to Fides is a very moving day. If in past weeks, the media broadcast news and movies, and in many areas of the country the Spring Festival was celebrated, today the country has experienced a day of mourning. The celebrations were cancelled, many offices and public parks were closed. Nobody went out to nightclubs and restaurants and very few people were seen in the shopping streets. The Japanese, explains Joseph Yamada, a Franciscan lay from Tokyo to Fides, "have lived a day of voluntary sacrifice”, contrary to the message issued in recent days by the institutions for fear of a drop in consumption, and therefore asked the Japanese citizens to live normally this occasion, despite the difficult period, and not to give up shopping and entertainment.
"We Christians have lived our voluntary sacrifice on a day of fasting, to remember more than 28
thousand people, including dead and missing victims of the tragedy on March 11. Buddhists perform their last memorial service for the soul of the departed on the forty-ninth day: as Christians we are spiritually united in their prayer of intercession” says Yamada. Meanwhile, "great excitement and solidarity goes towards the voluntary service for the benefit of the survivors in the devastated area, which surely contribute to the rehabilitation and economic recovery there" refers Joseph Yamada to Fides.
"The country can rise again, as it did 65 years ago after the disasters of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This time we are struck by the support we receive from China and the United States. A friend in need is a friend indeed”. A special thought, concludes the Franciscan lay, "goes to those who have been making their utmost effort to put the malfunctioning nuclear reactors in Fukushima under control at the risk of their life. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 04/28/2011)