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The Multiple Publics of a Transnational Activist: Abdürreşid Ibrahim, Pan-Asianism, and the Creation of Islam in Japan

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Abstract

The Russian Muslim Abdürreşid Ibrahim (1857-1944) was not only a successful journalist and reform-minded Islamic scholar. He was also a transnational activist who became influential in different local contexts, notably Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan. During his four-month stay in Japan in 1909, he cooperated with Japanese pan-Asianists and helped found the first pan-Asianist society, which focused on building ties between Japan and Asia's Muslims. Researchers have predominantly regarded Ibrahim as a pioneering figure in an emerging anti-Western coalition of pan-Islamists and pan-Asianists, or as a Muslim missionary aspiring to convert Japan to Islam. This article will demonstrate, however, that Ibrahim's pro-Japanese pan-Asianism, as well as his missionary zeal, should both be read as flexible stances in reaction to the expectations of different publics. An ostentatious pan-Asianism and the exaggeration of his missionary success equally served the transnational activist to attract attention and assert his importance in varying local contexts.

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... In that way, Tanaka stress that the formation of , 1886-1957) and Toshiko Izutsu (井筒俊彦 -1914-1993) also drew attention to the importance of Islam for the unification of Asia. Okawa Shumei sees Islam as "potential that can be used in the fight against the West" because, in his view, it is Islam that overcomes the contradictions between politics and religion (Brandenburg, 2018). Okawa considers the emergence of such contradictions to be one of the main reasons for the colonization of India. ...
Article
Under the influence of a globalized discourse about Japan’s uncertain religious future, many Muslims in the early twentieth century placed Meiji Japan in a religious imaginary, in which Japan became the arena for a competition between different religious aspirations. This religious imaginary is an example of the effect of mediated connections, in which information from Japan to Muslim majority regions and vice versa was generally transmitted through Euro-American channels. As a result, Muslims envisioned strategies to convert the Japanese to Islam, aiming to demonstrate the universal relevance of their religion. While this led to a number of missionary endeavours, which quickly ended in failure, it was in the realm of the imperial imaginary that Islam as a geopolitical tool became attractive to pan-Asianist circles in Japan. In collaboration with select Muslim partners and by giving visibility to the existence of Islam in Japan, Japanese pan-Asianists of the late Meiji period tried to inspire loyalties in Muslim regions for the benefit of Japan’s imperial goals. Although this partnership would not last long, it prepared the ground for Japan’s Islam policy in the 1930s and 1940s, which characteristically blended pan-Asianism with religion and the showcasing of Muslim life in Japan.
  • Mektup Pek Mühim
Pek Mühim Mektup," Ülfet, June 7, 1906.
Cevdet denied that they intended to travel to Japan. When İbrahim in March 1910 gave a talk in Istanbul in the presence of Mahmud Esad, he commented jokingly on the latter's alleged voyage to Japan. Cf
  • Meyer
Meyer, Turks across Empires, 124; Adam, Russlandmuslime in Istanbul, 92. 67 "'Ülfet' Muharririnin Teşebbüsü," Tercüman, no. 60, June 18, 1906. Cevdet denied that they intended to travel to Japan. When İbrahim in March 1910 gave a talk in Istanbul in the presence of Mahmud Esad, he commented jokingly on the latter's alleged voyage to Japan. Cf. "Konferans. Ahval-ı Alem-i İslam Hakkında," Sırat-ı Müstakim 4, no. 82 (1910): 66-74, 70.
Japonya Mektupları: Üstad-ı Muhterem Manastırlı İsmail Hakkı Efendi Hazretlerine
  • Abdürreşid İbrahim
Abdürreşid İbrahim, "Japonya Mektupları: Üstad-ı Muhterem Manastırlı İsmail Hakkı Efendi Hazretlerine," Sırat-ı Müstakim 2, no. 40 (1909): 213-14.
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Mushir Hosain Kidwai, Pan-Islamism (London: Lusac, 1908), 53-55;
For discussions of the "yellow peril" in Muslim writings, see also Eich
An Attempt to Isolate Japan," The Japan Times, June 15, 1906. For discussions of the "yellow peril" in Muslim writings, see also Eich, "Pan-Islamism," 126.
Ierō periru no shinwa: Teikoku Nihon to "kōka
  • Akira Iikura
Akira Iikura, Ierō periru no shinwa: Teikoku Nihon to "kōka" no gyakusetsu (Tōkyō: Sairyūsha, 2004), 183-211;
The Japanese Response to the Cry of the Yellow Peril during the Russo-Japanese War
  • Iikura
Iikura, "The Japanese Response to the Cry of the Yellow Peril during the Russo-Japanese War," Kokusai bunka kenkyūjo kiyō/Josai International Review, no. 11 (2006): 29-47.
Creating a Region, Forging an Empire
  • Sven Saaler
Sven Saaler, "Pan-Asianism in Modern Japanese History: Overcoming the Nation, Creating a Region, Forging an Empire," in Pan-Asianism in Modern Japanese History: Colonialism, Regionalism and Borders, edited by Saaler and J. Victor Koschmann (London: Routledge, 2007), 1-18, 11-14.
Dattanjin no dokuritsu no kibō
  • Abdürreşid İbrahim
Abdürreşid İbrahim, "Dattanjin no dokuritsu no kibō," Gaikō Jihō, no. 137 (1909): 26-33, 30; reprinted in İbrahim, Japon'ya, 227.
Abdürreşit İbrahim ve Japon Milliyetçileri
  • Komatsu
Komatsu, "Yakusha kaisetsu," 489; Nobuo Misawa, "Abdürreşit İbrahim ve Japon Milliyetçileri," in Akbay, Abdürreşit İbrahim, 277-83, 280-81;
Nihon ni okeru isurāmu shugi
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Misawa, "Nihon ni okeru isurāmu shugi," 501.
Rokoku kaikyō ō no dan (Dattan to Nihon no ruii)
"Rokoku kaikyō ō no dan (Dattan to Nihon no ruii)," Mainichi Denpō, April 24, 1909; reprinted in İbrahim, Japon'ya, 329-30.