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‘Japan as a savior of a Muslim World’: Saudi Arabia’s KFCRIS discusses evolving relationship between Islam and Japan

Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal Center for Islamic Research and Studies (KFCRIS) hosted a web based lecture “Japan as a Savior of a Muslim World: Transnational Nationalism and Empire 1900-1945” on June 7.

The lecture was moderated by the Head of Asian Studies Program on the heart, Mohammed Al-Sudair, and the speaker was Professor Emeritus at Bogazici University Ayşe Selçuk Esenbel.

Esenbel explored how a phase of Japanese nationalists depicted themselves as saviors to the world’s Muslims previous to World War II. They sought to co-opt them as allies to Japan’s empire towards the Western powers in 1900-1945.

In the session, the Turkish professor additionally mentioned the complexity of the mental and political encounter between Muslim diaspora activists and Japan’s Asianist intellectuals throughout the formulation of Japan’s imperial technique.

“There is a moment where Japan is proactive in trying to inculcate a face that Japan is the special friend of the world of Islam, unlike the Western empires that exploit and oppress the Muslim people,” Esenbel instructed lecture attendees.

 

 

In the early twentieth century, pan-Islamic transcendentalists and Muslim nationalists essential of Western colonialism flocked to Tokyo, which they selected as a political haven. According to Esenbel, Tokyo turned the “Paris for political immigrants in the early 20th century.”

 

 

She additionally defined that the primary Japanese Muslim, who’s all the time offered as the primary pilgrim, had the Muslim title of Umar Yamaoka Kotaro.

In 1909, he arrived in Saudi Arabia and met with essential notables in Makkah and Madinah. Esenbel mentioned Kotaro mentioned issues not solely regarding Islam, but additionally politics. Particularly, the way forward for Japan’s relations with the Muslims of the world, and to type pal relations with native notables of Arabia and Japan.

 

 

The professor defined that Japanese Muslims and students “always tried to find connections or similarities between Islam and the esoteric religious traditions of East Asia.”

A Japanese Imam of Islam, Tanaka Ippei, particularly explored the bond between Shinto and Muslim spiritualities, that are comparable in morality and private ethics. According to Esenbel, that is the explanation why it’s simpler for a Japanese particular person to transform to Islam, because of the acquainted background.

In East Asia, Muslims from China, along with immigrants and refugees, helped type the Japanese Muslim neighborhood. They shaped diaspora communities in Kobe, Tokyo and different elements of Japan’s colonial territories.

In the early twentieth century, the primary Japanese Muslim pilgrimages or the Hajj occurred in Makkah and Madinah. Major pilgrimages by the primary Japanese Muslims occurred in 1910, 1924, 1934 and 1936.

 

 

According to Esenbel, Chinese nationalists on the time additionally organized Chinese Hajj pilgrimages to the holy cities to compete with the Japanese agenda as representing themselves because the savior of Islam.

The opening of the primary mosque in Tokyo on May 12, 1938, was thought-about the image of Japan’s portrait because the savior of the Muslim world.

This article was initially publish in Arab News Japan

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