Tobunken-Seminar "Religion, Asianism and the “Yellow Peril”: The Creation of Islam in Japan in the Early 20th Century"

【Date & Time】
Jan 25 (Mon), 2016, 2:00-4:00pm

Conference Room 1, 3rd Floor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo

Ulrich Brandenburg (Asien-Orient-Institut, Universität Zürich)

Religion, Asianism and the “Yellow Peril”: The Creation of Islam in Japan in the Early 20th Century

Komatsu Hisao (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)

The journey of the Russian Muslim Abdürreşid İbrahim (1857-1944) to Japan in 1909 and his encounters with Japanese Asianists mark the inclusion of Islam into the vision of Asian unity under Japan´s leadership. However, circumstances and aims of İbrahim’s journey remain shrouded in some mystery. This presentation will point out the links between Abdürreşid İbrahim’s actions and self-portrayals and preceding speculations about the spread of Islam in Japan, which had received considerable attention in the years following the Russo-Japanese War.

After the Russo-Japanese War, the possibility of Islam in Japan was discussed in Muslim newspapers in two different ways. On the one hand this topic formed part of a religious reform discourse which strove to restore the value of Islam by enabling it to compete with Christianity. On the other hand, pan-Islamists argued the political relevance of Islam by offering their assistance to Japan in its expansion in Asia, actively playing into Western fears of the “yellow peril”. In the writings of Abdürreşid İbrahim both discussions are intertwined, thereby ensuring the attention of different publics and establishing a close connection between religion and politics in Japan’s engagement with Islam.

English & Japanese

No registration needed.