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Christian Newspaper Uses Manga to Attract Young Followers

A newspaper based in Japan uses cartoons, game apps, and cosplay events to engage the youth in Christianity, reports Japan Times.

With newspaper readership on a decline, Christ Newspaper, or Kirisuto Shimbun in Japanese, aims to attract young fans by using modern media.

“With the aging of members, churches will die out if they do business as usual. We’d like to counter that trend,” Shinji said.

The Christian newspaper launched a tabloid version published three times a month. The tabloid has more photos and illustrations than the company’s weeklies and online edition.

Pyuri-tan is the lead character of the 71-year-old newspaper’s cartoon. The school girl’s name is a play on words for “Puritans.” In the comic series, Pyuri-tan is joined by the cute characters from different Christian groups, such as Catholics and Anglicans.

According to Kirisuto Shimbun Co., producer of The Bible Hunter, the card game was developed in an “attempt to make churches more open and accessible.”

Shinji Matsutani, the religious paper’s president, created the Christian comic characters in the hopes of raising the interest of the youth in the faith. He noticed that Christian churches in Japan are focused in missionary work that they sometimes leave no room for newcomers to become followers.

“With the aging of members, churches will die out if they do business as usual. We’d like to counter that trend,” Shinji said.

Another Bible-themed project that Shinji invented was “The Bible Hunter.” It is a card game cleverly designed to share the Gospel, Asia News reports.

“To put it in extreme terms, it would be OK even if [the card games] did not result in an increase in the number of followers. We would be happy to see the universal values found in Christianity spreading into society, albeit slightly.”

Jesus Christ, the apostles, prophets and other Biblical figures were drawn in a Japanese cartoon style called manga.

The goal of the game is to collect various cards containing Scriptures from the Old and New Testament. The player who collects all cards to complete a whole Biblical story wins the game.

According to Kirisuto Shimbun Co., producer of The Bible Hunter, the card game was developed in an “attempt to make churches more open and accessible.”

The Bible Hunter was a big hit with fans when it was launched in 2014. The following year, the company released another installment of the game called “Lost Bible.”

“I believe that there is a way to depict Christ’s teachings accurately as well as interestingly,” said the game’s creator.

He added that, “To put it in extreme terms, it would be OK even if (the card games) did not result in an increase in the number of followers. We would be happy to see the universal values found in Christianity spreading into society, albeit slightly.”

Sources:
The Japan Times
Asia News

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