Islamic Culture Forum 1- 30th September 1974-Islamic Culture Society (JAPAN)
p5-6

GLIMPSES

gISLAM AND JAPANh

Tadazumi lida
Here we put a glimpse to the past as to how a non-Muslim Japanese scholar viewed Islam more than four decades ago. Re-produced on this pageC with some omissionsCis an English article under the above title. The author was a founding member of the thengThe Islam Institutehwhich publishedgISLAM CULTURE,ha research journal on Islam. The present article was published in the first issue of this journal in 1932. Apart from its historical valueC the views expressed in the articleC specially in the last paragraphC hold fast even todayCmore than four decades laterC rather with a greater importance at a time when a
new era of understanding between Japan and the Islamic world is emerging | Editor.

History teaches us what a Titanic things the Islamic civilization has created. This is a most powerful branch of the Eastern civilization; and at the same timeA the mother of Modem European civilization. What a splendid history the Mussulman nations had! To check back the Western barbarian invasions towards the EastC and thereby to keep the classical learnings and culture untouched from those invadersC was a holy role that they played. In this chaotic state of the whole world as now, Islam may play its great role once more, for Western and Central Asia, a good part of the Indian subcontinent, and North and Central Africa are under the spiritual rule of Islam.

An old saying is very popular: gex oriente lux.h And so was once Islam to Europe. In sincere estimation weCthe Japanese nation as a branch of the AsiaticChold Islam and the Mussulman nations|a powerful religion in the East and the nations belonging to the East. But once very rare were the chances for us to get into direct contact with them. Unfortunately as we happened to know the Christian civilization previous to the IslamicC even though the former is very much antagonistic to the latter, when the latter were not so well situated politically in the world in modern ages, our understanding of Islam has been too much crooked mostly because of the anti-propaganda on the part of the Christian nations.As it isC the time is now with us at last when we can hold our cordial hands forth to Moslem people. Friendship is ensuredCand our door is open to the Islamic nations. Traffic is now vivid between them and us: we may fully grasp a true idea of them through direct and non-prejudiced media. Recently the number is enormously increased of students and investigators among us who are deeply interested in things IslamicCand the glory of Islam is being widely known to us. Even several moves are suggested with a view to distributing thorough information about Islam and Islamic nations to wider extents.0ur organization, gIslam-Bunka-KenkyujohiThe Islam InstituteC Tokyojis actually an example thereof. Frankly speaking, now in Japan there rises a wide and striking movement of Orientalism to the effect that the Islamic spirit is just within its easy reachccc

Already in the middle of the 7th century, Islam was first introduced to China en route the Continental trades as well as on board Persian merchant-vessels; and then in the 13th century, even to the South Seas. But partly because there had been no direct communications between Japan and the Islamic lands for a long time and partly because Buddhism had prevailed as a popular religion in Japan since the remotest past, it was not until the twenties of the Meiji era that Japan learned about Islam and received the Musulmans.

As years went on, the number increased of those who were Interested in Islam in Japan. Above a11Cit cannot go without saying that so many studies has been reported on diverse occasion about Islam and Islamic civilization since a few decades. Several books of travel in Islamic lands are published, among which some are very valuable and interesting, Even the Koran (Qurfan)was rendered into Japanese and published with an enormous circulation in 1921; and further reprinted in 1930. But, to our great regret, it was translated not from the original Arabic but from some English version. Recently, a group of fervent academic scholars who form the organizing body of our institution are making a special study of Arabic language as well as Turkish and Persian with a view that they may have full ideas of Islam and Islamic nations through direct media and that they may prepare the authentic Japanese version of the Koran, too.

It is our sincere desire that Japan and Islamic nations are in concert to contribute to the further progress of human civilization and the establishment of peaceful state of international life, both scientific, political, commercial and industrial, through mutual understanding.