Recently, I watched a Blu-Ray DVD concert of a holographic singer in Japan, Miku Hatsune performing for a live audience. It was one of the most interesting things I have ever seen. Not reading into this performance as one just for Otaku diehards who will not pay to see a REAL person performing, but I would like to use this as the basis for the title of this article. I think it may have some deep meaning and can offer a chance to ask many questions of ourselves and those around us.
Are we seeking the things that are truly meaningful in life, or are we simply satisfied with things that are almost real, seem tangible, or offer temporary happiness or even a shred of depth in a mundane, predictable world?
When the Lord began to work in my heart in 2003 regarding a passion for the souls of the Japanese, I became interested in the all things Japanese; culture, history, art, language, food, music, television and movies.
I was on a quest to understand the Japanese mindset from many perspectives. I read books on Japanese business, on teaching English in Japan, on Japanese schools, family life, home decor, World War II, and the history of Christianity in Japan.
I also became interested in understanding the origins of subcultures of Japan such as the young people of Harajuku who dress in fantastic outfits, and live out “cosplay” (costume play) while in the public view. I researched modern homosexuality in Japan, night clubs, Otaku (obsessive hobbies usually involving electronics, music, anime, etc. ) I read book upon book, exhausting our local libraries in our community as well as web sites containing images, articles and interviews of people who were involved in extreme lifestyles or a-typical behaviors; compared to the average Japanese person, that is.
I read about the widespread introduction to pornography via the innocent and not so innocent looking covers of Manga (comics). Laced with suggestive images, inappropriate relationships, homosexual and bisexual crossovers, effeminate men, as well as loads of hard-to-stomach violence, manga are everywhere. Young kids are able to pick up manga on every corner convenience store, library or shopping center. Hentai is a dark world in and of itself, filled with beyond-graphic cartoon pornography and sexual violence, often with a mixture of supernatural undertones.
I watched a DVD series featuring several night clubs, each catering to a different need or fetish; some for women only who are served expensive drinks by handsome young men who offer conversation, flattery and sex. Most of the women said they attended the clubs because the men said nice things to them and made them feel special. Some clubs for men offer the same by beautiful women, and the flavors of deviation are endless in areas such as Tokyo.
I viewed another feature of a man who had a collection of latex sex dolls. He had hundreds of them in his small home, all of which he used for self-gratification. His comment at the end of the feature startled me. He said, “I would never want or need a girlfriend or wife. I have many different companions to keep me company.” He then admitted that he does not sleep with them during the night because he needs some space to himself.
Even for those who are not party to the subculture mentioned above, there are many daily social and cultural strongholds which can bind the heart perhaps even moreso.
In many ways, the subculture reflects the mainline culture of Japan, but also the world. Every human has same basic needs: the need for purpose, the need to feel loved, accepted and wanted, the need for relationships, family and friends. Most people go through life reaching death without finding at least one of the aforementioned.
Many Japanese are blinded by the close proximity of their own lives and culture. So are many Americans, as well as every other culture in the world who see anything other than a relationship with God as most important. They may see things as “Well, this seems to be what I need,” or “This brings me joy.” One of my family members, a lifelong smoker, told me once, “Smoking is my treat to myself.” I never understood that until as a young man who vowed never to smoke, bought his first pack of cigarettes at 18 years old. My family member enjoyed her habit. She harbored it and protected it. She would not let anyone talk her out of it because well, it was her habit and she owned it. I suppose she might think to this day that she controls it too, but that is where addictive THOUGHT PATTERNS can ruin a person’s life.
Looking past WHAT WE THINK WE NEED in life is a key.
” ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD” Isaiah 55:8
KNOWING what we need for TRUE LIFE is another key.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
I have learned that despite a person’s hangups, habits, desires, hopes, dreams, personality or outlook on life, one thing matters—helping others to see Jesus in a clear way so they can identify with the man who took on their sins and sinful nature so that they can be free. Truly free! And at that point, when they receive Jesus, we simply pray and allow God to do the work as the Captain of our Souls, ordering this and that, adjusting and measuring for the future, setting the course of His will for our lives as we obey his command.
The holographic concert of Miku Hatsune represented to me a visage of what we think we need to survive, versus the veiled truth of what we truly need to not just survive, but to live — Jesus Christ.
Let us not settle for things that seem real, but that we would grasp the only thing that is real, His endless love for us! Let us not look for the temporal things which will not only cause dissatisfaction and will ultimately burn up (1 Cor 3:12-13), but can cause our own soul to be cast into a lost eternity of separation from God. May we seek the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit. And lastly, may we yearn not for for our fleshly desires, but for the holiness and righteousness of Jesus.