Merthan Dundar: From Panislamism to Greater Asianism

Posted on December 21st, 2012 by Med Studies Staff in Events

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

Merthan Dundar (Ankara University), “From Panislamism to Greater Asianism: Japanese Empire, Islam, and the Turkic World”

Abstract: 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.

Merthan Dündar is Associate Professor in the Department of Japanese Language and Literature at Ankara University, Director of International Turkic Eurasia Foundation, and Visiting Scholar at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Hacettepe University. His research interests primary focus on Turkish-Japanese relations during the 19th and 20th century. Among his most recent publications are “Japan and Japanese in Mehmet Akif’s Poety as a Source of Japanese Imagination for Turkish Nationalists” (2012), Central Asian Policies of Japan (2011),  Books in Tatar-Turkish Printed by Tokyo’da Mahalle-i İslamiye (2010), and Turkish Footprints in Japan: Turco-Tatar Mosques of Manchuria and Japan as Cultural Heritage (2008).

[Co-sponsored by the Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, the Center for East Asian Studies, and the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies]


Leave a Reply