Episode 11: “Various Ways to Spend Christmas Eve”
In the spirit of Christmas, I decided to retry an anime that I dropped over a year ago, Lucky Star. Last time I tried to watch the series, I made it to only episode 4. For this project, I watched episode 11 which takes place on Christmas Eve. The biggest things to stand out in the episode were related to the Japanese understanding of Christianity and Christmas.
One of the characters in the series stated that she wasn’t sure if it was okay for her sister, who was a shrine maiden, to wear a wedding dress for her wedding. This whole idea comes from a difference of understanding in Judeo-Christian and Japanese Religions. In Christianity, the main part of the belief system is this concept of faith. For example, the concept of grace through faith or that Abraham’s faith is credited to him as righteousness. For people of the English language, we can even refer to religions as faiths or beliefs.
In Japanese, the religions of Shinto and Japanese Buddhism are based upon action and tradition, such as going to temple festivals, praying to kami at shrines, or even dedicating children at temples. Given this difference, it is understandable why some Japanese people may worry about having a western style wedding aka Christian Wedding. A traditional Japanese wedding is done in a Shinto manner, so a Christian Wedding, even though it doesn’t mean you are Christian, can appear to the Japanese like a religious act of Christianity. This concept of faith is rather foreign to the Japanese understanding of religion. That is why a shrine maiden may worry about having a Christian Wedding.
This same concept applies to Christmas. In Lucky Star, they mention Christmas Cakes; these are to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. It was quite a surprise to one of my family members who was offered birthday cake in Japan on Christmas. I think it is a little ironic that a nation with a miniscule minority of people who believe in Christ is more open to the celebration of his birth than many nations in which the church has thrived in the past. That is just something to think about.
As far as Lucky Star goes, I am not going to finish it. Sorry to Lucky Star fans, but those twenty-five minutes were brutal for me. I don’t know what it is, but that show just really bugs me. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.