Strolling down Ben Yehuda, a pedestrian mall in Jerusalem, we heard music and saw a crowd gathered. Ever curious, we walked closer and noticed a big banner that said, “The 63rd Makuyka Pilgrimage to Israel.” Of course, we had no idea who the Makuya were. We saw a group of people with Japanese features waving Japanese and Israeli flags and singing a Hebrew song. We approached a young woman who spoke a little English, who informed us they are a group of Japanese Christians who are very supportive of the State of Israel. Here are a few photos:
The Makuyas sang several Hebrew songs and danced with Israelis who were gathered around.
After we got back to our computers, we, of course, did a Wikipedia search on Makuya. We discovered that Makuya is a religious movement in Japan which started in 1948. Mayuka is the Japanese equivalent of “Holy Tabernacle,” the portable structure carried by the Israelites which served as the focus of the Lord’s interaction with the Jews. The Mayukas believe in living according to the Bible and the original gospel of the early Hebraic Christians. They stress the importance of the Divine Presence in everyday life. They are concerned not just with individual salvation, but with the spiritual restoration of each nation and group. They do not proselytize, and believe in religious tolerance and coexistence. They consider themselves an inclusive movement, rather than a sect.
Unlike other Christians, the Makuya’s symbol is not a cross, but a seven branch menorah, which they say emphasizes hope rather than suffering. They believe that the establishment of the State of Israel and the reunification of Jerusalem were fulfillments of Biblical prophesies and so are fervent supporters of Israel and the Jewish people. The Makuyas send their youth to Kibbutzim and make pilgrimages to Jerusalem. They have held pro Israel demonstrations in Japan and have argued Israel’s case at the United Nations.
The Makuyas have about 100 branches throughout the world, and while the exact number of their followers is unknown, their monthly magazine has about 300, 000 subscribers.