From Panislamism to Greater Asianism: Japanese Empire, Islam, and the Turkic World

Merthan Dundar , Assoc. Professor, Ankara University

After the Russian invasion of Kazan Khanate in 1552, Turko-Tatars of the Volga-Ural region became a part of the Russian Empire. Most of the Russian Muslim activists fighting for cultural and religious rights were also of Turko-Tatar origin. After the 1917 Russian revolution, some Turko-Tatars joined the Bolshevik groups, while others took part in Tsarist groups. Starting in 1919, many Tatar families immigrated to China and also to areas controlled by Japan, settling in Yokohama, Tokyo, Kobe, and Nagoya. With the support of Japanese nationalists and statesmen, Turko-Tatars of China, Korea, and Japan organized under the institutional framework of Mahalle-i Islamiye (Islamic District) and became active in cultural, religious and national matters. The support was connected to Japanese Islam policy. By giving permission to Turko-Tatars to settle in Tokyo, the Japanese government planned to make Tokyo a new center for the Muslim world. Matbaa-i Islamiye (Islamic printing-office) and Tokyo Camii (Tokyo Mosque) were founded with Japanese financial support. In 1933, Japan helped and supported the Muslim rebellion in China-East Turkestan and tried to establish a puppet government under the rule of Prince Abdulkerim Effendi, the grandson of ex-Ottoman Soultan Abdulhamid II. In this respect, Turko-Tatars constituted a very crucial population for the Japanese Army and ultra-nationalist groups for infiltration into the Muslim/Turkic world until 1938.

Monday, January 14, 2013 | 4:15 pm — 5:45 pm | RSVP
Encina Hall West - Room 208

Center for East Asian Studies
The Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies

Mediterranean Studies