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SEJJIR: Volume 4, 2008





Shingetsu Electronic Journal of Japanese-Islamic Relations,
Volume 4, 2008
Research Papers

Malay Muslims in Early Meiji Japan
By Michael Penn

Abstract: This paper examines the activities of Malay and other Muslims in the treaty port of Yokohama in the 1870s and 1880s. Previous scholarship has often assumed that there were no Muslims in Japan in this period, and so the main purpose of this paper is to correct that misperception. Most of the Malays in Japan were sailors on British and Dutch merchant ships, but a few drifters seem to have stayed in port even after their ships pulled out. Additionally, one Malay head-of-state, Maharaja (later Sultan) Abu Bakar of Johor, made a state visit in 1883. This paper chronicles his activities in some detail, and suggests some possible reasons for his behavior during his travels. This paper concludes that the global dominance of European powers in this period stifled the development of Japan-Muslim relations due to treaty restrictions, and therefore there was no institutional presence of Muslims in Japan. However, this should not be confused with saying that individual Muslims were not present in Yokohama in this period, because they certainly were.

Michael Penn is the Executive Director of the Shingetsu Institute for the Study of Japanese-Islamic Relations.

The Impact of the Russo-Japanese War on Ottoman Turkey
By Selcuk Esenbel

Abstract: Viewed by many in Europe and Asia as a victory of the downtrodden, the deep influence of the Japanese triumph in the Russo-Japanese War on nationalist and anti-imperialist currents has been widely noted. However, the Japanese victory over Tsarist Russia also had the effect of accelerating demands for constitutionalism in Muslim and Asian opposition circles since many regarded it as a blow to the concept of autocratic government. This paper will examine the political impact of the Russo-Japanese War in this context. The paper concludes that not only did the defeat of Tsarist Russia serve as the foundation for Japanís connections to the Turkish world and the world of Islam, as has been previously understood, but it also played a crucial ideological role in bringing about the destruction of the Ottoman Empire itself.

Selcuk Esenbel is Professor of History at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Japan and the Issue of Piracy in Southeast Asia
By Tai Wei Lim

Abstract: This paper examines the issue of Japanís involvement in anti-piracy efforts in Southeast Asia, especially near the Straits of Malacca. Piracy is an issue that has a profound impact on regional integration and cooperation, and preventing the outbreak of such criminal activities is imperative. This paper argues that narrow definitions of national interest should be replaced with comprehensive multilateral security approaches that include multilevel cooperation, information exchange, confidence-building measures, and generous donations by all the regional powers. A crucial element of this is the need to gain further understanding and active support from the littoral states. This article describes Japanís recent efforts against piracy in Southeast Asia with the core mechanism being the Tokyo-initiated Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

Tai Wei Lim is Research Fellow at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore; Research Associate at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs; and Adjunct Professor at Georgian Court University, New Jersey.

Indonesia, Japan, and the LNG Conundrum
By David Adam Stott

Abstract: This article focuses on energy issues to assess the current state of bilateral relations between Japan and Indonesia in the wake of the August 2007 signing of the Japan-Indonesia Economic Partnership Agreement (JIEPA) and its coming into force on July 1, 2008. Despite its wide-ranging nature, the JIEPA ironically leaves unresolved what is arguably the most important issue between the signatories, namely future natural gas exports to Japan. Indonesia has cut its exports to Japan, its best customer, by more than half, whilst ramping up the price to previously unseen levels. This paper examines the reasons for the Indonesian policy change. It finds these reasons to be multi-faceted, but essentially grounded in both an evolving domestic situation and in altered global energy realities.

David Adam Stott is Associate Professor at The University of Kitakyushu, Japan.


Travel in Iran and Iraq: From Tehran to Baghdad (1941)
By Fujio Inoue

This travelogue presents a picture of Iran and Iraq published in the Japanese-language journal Kokusai Chishiki (International Knowledge) in July 1941. This was the eve of major political upheavals in both countries. The Iranian regime of Reza Shah would soon be overthrown by an Anglo-Soviet invasion in the autumn of 1941. Inoueís description of Baghdad was written just before the coup of Rashid Ali al-Gailani and that regimeís rapid overthrow by British forces in May 1941. The picture presented by Inoue, however, is a very peaceful one of beautiful sights and interesting local customs. He takes us on a tour of the elegant shopping streets of Tehran, a scenic drive in the Alborz Mountains, visions along the roadside of the desert, and bustling scenes of the bazaars of Baghdad. We are left with a Japanese visitorís impressions of a modernizing world just as that world was facing tremendous political and social changes.

Fujio Inoue was an author of prewar Japan. In 1941, he published the Japanese-language book, The State of Oil in the Near East, India, and the Dutch Indies.


Source: Shingetsu Institute