As the issue of Israel becomes polarizing around the world, support for Israel comes from an unexpected source. A Japanese religious movement called Makuya took out a full-page ad in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday expressing support for Israel and denouncing Hamas.
The ad read:
“We, the members of the Makuya Movement in Japan and around the world, are deeply saddened by the heavy casualties inflicted by the atrocious acts of terrorism of Hamas. We express our complete solidarity with the people of Israel and the State of Israel. Our hearts go to all the families in sorrow, and to all the soldiers who bravely fight for the peace and security of the country and for the eternity of Israel. And we pray for the wholesome recovery of the wounded and for the early return of the abducted safe and sound to their homes. May the God of Israel protect and preserve all the citizens of Israel and help the people to overcome and quickly defeat their enemies!”
The ad then quoted Psalms 121:4-5
See, the guardian of Yisrael neither slumbers nor sleeps! Hashem is your guardian, Hashem is your protection at your right hand.
“We are always with you, in peace and in war, in happiness and in sorrow. The Makuya Zionist Movement of Japan.”
Makuya is a religious movement in Japan that was founded in 1948, the same year as the State of Israel. The founder, Professor Abraham Ikuro Teshima, was a deeply religious Christian who had early on become disenchanted with the established Church and its western trappings. Teshima maintained that in order to grasp the spirit of the Bible, it was essential to reach a deeper understanding of the Jewish faith, its people, language, and history. Unfortunately, his burning desire to visit Israel was delayed for many years, until Japan and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1961.
Their stated aspiration is to grasp the inner truth of biblical religion, or the “Love of the Holy Spirit”, and extol this existential love by embodying it and living accordingly. The Makuyas stress “a return to the dynamic faith of the original Gospel of early Hebraic Christianity, as opposed to the dogmatic, institutionalized, European-dominated churches.” The Makuyas, thus, seek to restore this original spirit by returning to its Hebrew roots and learning about the Bible accordingly.
Unlike other Christians, who use the cross as their symbol, the Makuyas take the seven-armed Jewish menorah as their religious emblem, and they display it on their badges or pendants. They prefer to use the menorah as their religious symbol rather than the cross because to them, the cross is a symbol of “suffering” but the menorah is a symbol of “hope.” “Makuya” is the Japanese equivalent of the Hebrew word משכן mishkan, which refers to the Holy Tabernacle.
Makuya are fervent lovers of Israel and the Jewish people. They send young members to a number of kibbutzim in Israel and make pilgrimages to Jerusalem.
While they refrain from counting their members as per the Biblical prohibition (2 Shmuel 24:2), over 300,000 Japanese subscribe to the Makuya newsletter.