As the anniversary of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami coincides with what is traditionally Japan’s highest suicide month (March), Japan Campus Crusade for Christ is leading a suicide-prevention campaign to help counter hopelessness. The campaign is centered on a tool called Risk Ride created through the “Manga” magazine style that is popular in Japanese society.
“On top of suffering one of the largest earthquakes in history, Japan struggles with one of the highest suicide rates in the world. There is a definite sense of hopelessness throughout the country,” says Andy Meeko, staff member of Japan Campus Crusade for Christ and author of Risk Ride. “Risk Ride is a powerful story of faith and redemption that will encourage a path to recovery, purpose and revived hope for survivors to rebuild their lives.”
Risk Ride is the story of a young man who is considering suicide. At the end of the magazine readers are encouraged to view The Jesus Film Project’s My Last Day, a nine-minute Japanese-style animé film depicting the crucifixion of Christ from the perspective of the thief on the cross. The website, mylastday.jp, also contains a clear presentation of the gospel of Christ with illustrations from the film.
Unlike the stranger-to-stranger distribution style often used in evangelistic campaigns, the Risk Ride campaign is using a network of pastors and Christian leaders throughout the disaster area of Japan. Meeko has trained more than 1,100 workers in soul care for disaster victims and is now in the process of training them to use Risk Ride in suicide prevention. Japan Campus Crusade for Christ expects to distribute 50,000 copies of Risk Ride through pastors trained by Meeko.
Risk Ride can be viewed online. My Last Day is available in 27 languages on the website MyLastDayMovie.com. Since the short film premiered online in April 2011, more than 250,000 viewings have been recorded on YouTube alone. Scripted with existing audio loops from the Jesus film, My Last Day can be dubbed in any of the existing 1,149 languages currently available.
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