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Managing Muslims: imperial Japan, Islamic policy, and Axis connections during the Second World War*

  • Kelly A. Hammond (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

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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Copyright
Footnotes
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*

I would like to thank Reto Hoffman and Daniel Hedinger for organizing the ‘Axis Empires’ workshop at the Center for Advanced Studies in Munich. A shorter version of this article was presented there. I would also like to thank all the participants at the workshop for their invaluable feedback and insights.

Footnotes
References
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1 Yichen Tang, Maijia xunli ji (Hajj journal), Beiping: Zhenzong Publishing House, 1943 .

2 National Archives Research Administration, College Park, Maryland, Office of Strategic Services (henceforth NARA, OSS), RG 226 2-4-3 890.2, ‘Japanese attempts at infiltration among Muslims in Russia’s borderlands’, August 1944.

3 Lipman Jonathan, Familiar strangers: a history of Muslims in northwest China, Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1998 .

4 Hoffman Reto, The fascist effect: Japan and Italy, 1915–1952, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015 .

5 Arsenian Seth, ‘Wartime propaganda in the Middle East’, Middle East Journal, 2, 4, 1948, p. 417 .

6 NARA, OSS, RG 226 190-3-4-3 890.1, ‘Japanese infiltration among Muslims throughout the world’, July 1944.

7 Herf Jeffrey, Nazi propaganda for the Arab World, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009 .

8 Ibid., p. 3.

9 For example, Aydin Cemil, The politics of anti-westernism in Asia: visions of world order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian thought, New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2007 ; Esenbel Selçuk, ed., The rising sun and the Turkish crescent: new perspectives on the history of Japanese Turkish relations, Istanbul: Boğaçizi Unversity Press, 2008 .

10 Esenbel Selçuk, ‘Japan’s global claims to Asia and the world of Islam: transnational nationalism and world powers, 1900–1945’, American Historical Review, 109, 4, 2004, p. 1143 .

11 Ibid., pp. 1141–43.

12 Sebastian Conrad and Prasenjit Duara, ‘Viewing Regionalisms from East Asia’, Washington, DC: American Historical Association pamphlet series, 2013, pp. 12–36.

13 NARA, OSS, RG 226 190-3-4-3 890.1.

14 For more on Abdürreşid İbrahim’s colorful life, see Yamazaki-Unno Noriko, ‘Abdürreşid İbrahim’s journey to China: Muslim communities in the late Qing as seen by a Russian-Tatar intellectual’, Central Asian Review, 33, 3, 2014, pp. 405420 .

15 For more on Yemen, see Willis John M., Unmaking north and south: cartographies of the Yemeni past, New York: Columbia University Press, 2012 ; Dresch Paul, A history of modern Yemen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000 .

16 ‘Lettera dell’Imam Yahya a Mussolini’, Oriente Moderno, 17, 11, November 1937, pp. 570571 .

17 For example, Kazama Akio, ‘Kaikyō raihai-dō no maku-shiki i-emen no ōji raichō (Inauguration ceremony of a mosque: prince of Yemen visits Japan)’, Bungei shunjū, 16, 10, October 1938, pp. 172181 .

18 ‘Ipotesi sui motivi della sosta del Principe yeminita el-Husein a Tokyo’, Oriente Moderno, 18, 8, August 1938, p. 447.

19 Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Tokyo, files relating to the Greater Japan Islam League (Dai Nihon kaikyō kyōkai o fukumu) (henceforth DAMFAJ, JMA), I-2-1-0, Folder 1.

20 Huang Yongni was a famous opera singer from Jinan and was better known by her stage name, Xue Yanqin.

21 Tang, Maijia xunli ji, p. 415.

22 DAMFAJ, JMA, I-2-1-0, Folder 1. These particular articles from Egyptian newspapers were translated from Arabic into French by the plenipotentiary minister of Egypt in Japan, Mr Hussein Bey (Abdul Khalek Hassouna Bey).

23 Ibid.

24 Esenbel, ‘Japan’s global claims to Asia’, p. 1165.

25 Bayliss Jeffrey Paul, On the margins of empire: Buraku and Korean identity in prewar and wartime Japan, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013 .

26 DAMFAJ, JMA, I-2-1-0, Folder 2, ‘Itaria no kaikyō seisaku (Italy’s Muslim policy)’ (henceforth ‘Italy’s Muslim policy’).

27 Suzuki Tōmin, ‘Do-I to Kintō seisaku (Germany, Italy and the Near East policies)’, Shin Ajia (New Asia), 3, 3, March 1941, pp. 1830 .

28 Ibid., pp. 27–30.

29 Hoffman, Fascist effect, introduction.

30 Akiyama Rokurōbee, Gaikan doitsu shi (A general survey of German history), Hakusuisha: Tokyo, 1938, pp. 6974 .

31 ‘Italy’s Muslim policy’, p. 14.

32 McMeekin Sean, The Berlin–Baghdad express: the Ottoman empire and Germany’s bid for world power, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010, pp. 12 .

33 Motadel David, Islam and Nazi Germany’s war, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2014, p. 16 .

34 Herf, Nazi propaganda, pp. 89–150.

35 Ibid., p. 177.

36 McMeekin, Berlin–Baghdad express, p. 3.

37 ‘Italy’s Muslim policy’, p. 14.

38 Ibid.

39 Ibid., p. 15.

40 McMeekin, Berlin–Baghdad express, p. 14.

41 Ibid., p. 124.

42 Ibid.

43 Ibid., pp. 85–7.

44 Motadel, Islam, p. 25.

45 Ibid., p. 27.

46 Herf, Nazi propaganda, p. 20.

47 Ibid., p. 53.

48 Krämer Hans Martin, ‘Pan-Asianism’s religious undercurrents: the reception of Islam and translation of the Qur’ān in twentieth-century Japan’, Journal of Asian Studies, 73, 3, 2014, pp. 619621 .

49 Esenbel Selçuk, Japan, Turkey, and the world of Islam: writings of Selçuk Esenbel, Leiden: Brill Global Oriental, 2011, p. 201 .

50 Krämer, ‘Pan-Asianism’s religious undercurrents’, p. 621.

51 Ibid.

52 Ibid., pp. 622, 627–31.

53 Motadel, Islam, p. 73.

54 Ibid.

55 Ibid., p. 117.

56 ‘Italy’s Muslim policy’, p. 21.

57 Ibid., p. 33.

58 Juzi, ‘Riben chuangli huijiao xiehui zancheng (Japanese approval of the Islamic Association)’, Huiguang, 1, 1, 1924, p. 50 .

59 ‘Huijiao lianzong hui jianshe libaitang (Muslim Federation builds a mosque)’, Islam, 1, 6, 1938, p. 43.

60 Motadel, Islam, pp. 160–1.

61 ‘Guanyu Dongjing qingzhensi luocheng yu li zhi suowen (Regarding the completion and opening of the Tokyo Mosque)’, Yiguang, 97, 1939, pp. 11–13.

62 ‘Italy’s Muslim policy’, p. 14.

63 Ibid., p. 16.

64 Ibid.

65 Ibid.

66 Ibid.

67 Juzi, ‘Riben chuangli huijiao xiehui zancheng’, pp. 50–2.

68 ‘Italy’s Muslim policy’, p. 27.

69 ‘Rappresentanti di paesi arabi al Congresso “Giovane Asia” di Tokyo. Ordini del giorno (Representatives of Arab nations at the “Young Asia” Congress in Tokyo: orders of the day)’, Oriente Moderno, 17, 12, December 1937, p. 597. Translated from the Iraqi newspaper al-Bilad, 21 November 1937.

70 Arsenian, ‘Wartime propaganda’, pp. 418–20.

71 Ibid.

72 Ibid., pp. 419–21.

73 NARA, OSS, RG 226 2-4-3 890.2.

74 Arsenian, ‘Wartime propaganda’, pp. 419–21.

75 NARA, OSS, RG 226 190-3-4-3 890.1, Box 14 890.0.

76 Arsenian, ‘Wartime propaganda in the Middle East’, pp. 419–21.

77 Herf, Nazi propaganda, p. 260.

78 NARA, OSS, RG 226 2-4-3 890.2.

79 Crews Robert, Afghan modern: the history of a global nation, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2015, p. 8 .

80 NARA, OSS, RG 226 2-4-3 890.2.

81 NARA, OSS, RG 226 2-4-3 890.2.

82 NARA, OSS, RG 226 190-3-4-3 890.1.

83 Tang, Maijia xunli ji, pp. 312–14.

84 NARA, OSS, RG 226 190-3-4-3 890.2, ‘Japanese infiltration among Muslims in China’, July 1944.

85 NARA, OSS, RG 226 190-3-4-3 890.2.

86 Wei Shuge, ‘News as a weapon: Hollington Tong and the formation of the Guomindang centralized foreign propaganda system, 1937–1938’, Twentieth-Century China, 39, 2, May 2014, pp. 118119 .

87 Ibid., pp. 127–30.

88 Ren Wenbo, ‘Huijiao shijie de mogui huodong (The [Japanese] devil’s movements in the Islamic world)’, Chinese Islamic National Salvation Federation Journal, 1, 8, 1939, pp. 3437 .

89 Ibid., p. 35.

90 Ibid.

91 Aiko Inomata Kurasawa, ‘Mobilization and control: a study of social change in rural Java, 1942–1945’, PhD thesis, Cornell University, 1988.

92 Benda Harry J., The crescent and the rising sun: Indonesian Islam under the Japanese occupation, 1942–1945, The Hague: W. Van Hoeve Ltd, 1958, p. 99 .

93 Ibid., p. 49.

94 Ibid., pp. 44–7.

95 Kobayashi Yasuko, ‘Islam during the Japanese occupation’, in Peter Post, William H. Frederick, Iris Heidebrink, and Shigeru Sato, eds., The encyclopedia of Indonesia in the Pacific War, Leiden: Brill, 2010, p. 305 ; William H. Frederick., ‘Mansur, Kyai Haji Mas’, in ibid., p. 547.

96 Kurasawa, ‘Mobilization and control’, p. 318.

97 Ibid., p. 366.

98 Herf, Nazi propaganda, p. 38.

99 Kobayashi Yasuko, ‘Kyai and Japanese military’, Studia Islamika, 4, 3, 1997, pp. 7072 .

100 Ibid., p. 87.

101 Benda, Crescent, pp. 104–5.

102 Ibid., p. 138.

103 Cooper Fredrick, Citizenship between empire and nation: remaking France and French Africa, 1945–1960, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014 , introduction.

104 Benda, Crescent, p. 200.

105 Herf, Nazi propaganda, prelude.

106 Benda Harry, ‘The Japanese interregnum in Southeast Asia’, in Grant Goodman, ed., Imperial Japan and Asia: a reassessment, New York: Columbia University Press, 1967, pp. 7477 .

107 Reid Anthony, ‘Indonesia: from briefcase to samurai sword’, in Alfred McCoy, ed., Southeast Asia under Japanese occupation, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1980, p. 26 .

108 Herf, Nazi propaganda, p. 2.

109 Andall Jaqueline and Duncan Derek, ‘Memories and legacies of Italian colonialism’, in Jaqueline Andall and Derek Duncan, eds., Italian colonialism: legacy and memory, New York: Peter Lang, 2005, p. 17 .

110 Herf, Nazi propaganda, prologue.

111 Ibid., p. 1.

* I would like to thank Reto Hoffman and Daniel Hedinger for organizing the ‘Axis Empires’ workshop at the Center for Advanced Studies in Munich. A shorter version of this article was presented there. I would also like to thank all the participants at the workshop for their invaluable feedback and insights.

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Journal of Global History
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