Taito (台東区) is the smallest ward of Tokyo. Home to 175,000 people in an area of about 6 sq mi. There are only 16 churches located in Taito. Many elderly people call Taito home, because of its convenience and abundance of hospitals, grocery stores and other shops all located in close proximity with each other. Taito also contains one of the oldest districts in Tokyo, called Asakusa. With over 1400 years of history Asakusa is one of the most visited areas of Tokyo. It is home to several religious worship sites including the largest and oldest temple in Tokyo, Sensouji Temple. More than 30 million people visit Sensouji every year. Coupled with this spiritual darkness, Taito is also home to some of the largest, "Soaplands" in Tokyo. Marketed as bathhouses and massage parlors, these businesses exist in a legal gray area where prostitution is allowed but not widely advertised. This gives the appearance that the women of the parlors are employed just as with any other business but the truth is that many of them are trapped and enslaved.
As you pray for Taito this week pray against the spiritual darkness that covers Japan. Pray that the churches of Taito would shine the light of the gospel brightly against this darkness and that many would come to believe in Jesus. Pray that more churches would be planted so that the gospel message can continue to be proclaimed loudly throughout Tokyo. Pray for the women who are oppressed and trapped in the sex industry of Japan. Pray that they would find freedom and new identities in Christ and a new family in the church.
Sumida (墨田区) is home to the famous Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world. Living in just 8.5 sq mi are 250,000 people with only 14 churches. Like Taito, Sumida also has a long rich history. Known for its heritage, there are many families that have continued to remain in Sumida for generations, which makes it difficult for outsiders to move in and get involved in local communities. This also plays out in the education system of Sumida. In most wards schools are divided by the areas in which students live so that schools contain all the students from the area around it. But in Sumida, students are allowed to go to any school they choose. This also makes it difficult to be involved in the local community because interest is divided amongst different schools.
Therefore, as you pray for Sumida, pray that the gospel would become the means by which unity can be gained amongst the communities of Sumida. Pray that growth would continue through this unity and that more churches would be planted.