Japanese Temples Use Disco Light Shows To Attract Visitors
Apparently the answer is "yes".
Forget free wifi - declining attendance is inspiring Buddhist temples in western Japan to get more and more creative to draw in younger visitors.
According to a story by The Japan Times, chief priest Koji Jo at Kosenji temple in Fukuoka said, "Things have changed from the days when people would attend temple schools to learn writing. People don’t come to temples unless there is a funeral or other memorial service." His dance classes aim to flip that downward trend with flashing lights and disco music.
Another temple in Fukuoka, the Bodaiji temple, is taking an astronomically different route to catch the interest of the public. It's actually not that different, we just like puns... It's astronomy!
At the Bodaiji temple you can catch free planetarium shows in the main hall. Since setting up the show with nice projectors aimed at the dome-shaped ceiling and reclining chairs for comfortable viewing, they've attracted over 1,000 people. It's working!
In the Outenin temple in Osaka, the main hall houses a theater for training young performers, and attracts around 30,000 visitors per year. Chief priest Mitsuhiko Akita said, "A temple has an interesting potential as a social hub. Temples should not be transitory but contribute to society by connecting people and broadening their perspective."
With similar issues facing several small church communities in the USA, we may want to take a page from their book. Organized religion may go down in popularity over time, but disco will never die.