11/05/2014, 00.00
JAPAN

Bible-themed card game a big hit among non-Christians in Japan

"The Bible Hunter" seeks to introduce young people to the most famous Biblical stories with Christ, the apostles, the patriarchs and prophets. Endorsed by the Japan Bible Society, it is in anime style. So far, two instalments have been released. Its creator "would be happy to see the universal values found in Christianity spreading into society, albeit slightly."

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - 'The Bible Hunter' is a successful card game invented by Shinji Matsutani, a Japanese Christian. Endorsed by the Japan Bible Society, the game is designed to communicate the Gospel and introduce young people to Jesus in a society where Christianity is a distant thing.

The game represents Christ and his apostles, as well as the most famous patriarchs and prophets, in anime style. Players collect copies of Scriptures that were lost and scattered throughout the world. Whoever collects all the cards for a Biblical story wins.

Produced by Kirisuto Shimbun Co., the game is an "attempt to make churches more open and accessible," especially to young people.

Clergy oversaw the contents of the game editorially, and the Japan Bible Society, which publishes a Japanese translation of the Bible, endorsed the product.

Since March, 'The Bible Hunter' has sold about 3,000 sets, a huge hit given that sales of 1,000 copies of a publication on a Christian theme is considered a major success in Japan.

Most players are not Christian, and its success has prompted manufacturers to prepare two more instalments. The second, titled 'The Last Supper - Who betrayed Christ?,' came out in June. The third one will be released on 14 November.

 "I believe that there is a way to depict Christ's teachings accurately as well as interestingly," the game's creator told the Asahi Shimbun paper.

"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."

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