Itabashi (板橋区) and Nerima (練馬区) are two of the most important wards of Tokyo. They once made up a single ward until they were separated in 1947. Together these two wards contain the largest population of adolescents in Tokyo.
Itabashi is roughly 22 sq. mi. making it the 9th largest ward in Tokyo with a population of over 530,000 people. Itabashi is known for its factory industry, especially in printing. There are over 550 printing related companies based in Itabashi. The printing industry also led the ward to begin a unique relationship with Mongolia. In 1996, Mongolia faced a great paper shortage, so the printing companies of Itabashi stepped in a donated large quantities of paper and pencils to the people of Mongolia thereby establishing a relationship than continues. Today, Itabashi has the largest population of Mongolians in all of Tokyo. Also due to its thriving industry Itabashi claims home to the least commuters in Tokyo. This means that most of the people who live in Itabashi also work there. Itabashi also has the most hospitals of any ward in Tokyo with over 10,000 beds available. Sadly, Itabashi is also one of the poorest wards in Tokyo, ranking 18th out of the 23 wards for reliance on government support and welfare programs. To this end, Itabashi has the highest suicide rates of any ward in Tokyo. With only 25 churches in the ward the need for gospel presence is outstanding.
Nerima is the 5th largest ward (18 sq mi) and has a population of 710,000 people with only 33 churches. Nerima has more adolescents than any other ward. It is Tokyo’s greenest ward with over 40% used for agriculture including 628 parks. Nerima is also known as the origin of animation. Some of the first animation studios were started in Nerima and today there are over 90 animation studios operating in Nerima. Japanese animation influences cultures all around the world.
Please pray for Itabashi and Nerima:
- Pray that more churches would be planted
- Pray that the Christians of Itabashi and Nerima strive to boldly live out the gospel with missional lifestyles.
- Pray that those considering suicide would find hope and reason for living in Christ.
- Pray that more Christian leaders would be raised up out of the young people living among these wards.
- Pray that animation might become a powerful tool with which to communication the gospel.