Probing into Japan’s quest to legitimize itself within the Islamic sphere, this article examines some of the lessons that imperial Japan hoped to learn from the Germans and the Italians regarding their respective handling of Muslim populations in the Middle East and North Africa. For their part, Muslims living under Japanese occupation on the mainland often benefited from Axis cooperation and were able to create relationships with Muslims beyond China. In the article, I posit that Japanese militarists used their Axis connections as a powerful rhetorical tool to position themselves as liberators from Western imperialism and communism throughout Asia. I also argue that, by examining intellectual currents circulating Eurasia through Axis-facilitated connections, we glean a more nuanced understanding of global anti-colonial movements among Muslim populations from the Maghreb to Manila in the post-war era.
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