Islam in Japan: Tracing The Path to Hajj

Islam in Japan:  Exploring the Journey of Japanese Muslims on the Road to Hajj and the Intersection of Islam in Japan” The vague truth that there are Japanese Muslims in the nation serves as the starting point for the journey to Hajj, the Land of the Rising Sun.

Each day, the prayer is heard in different regions of the country, which is predominantly Buddhist, silently inside the roughly fifty mosques and one hundred musollas, or communal prayer halls.

A young guy of twenty-six named Kubo-san prays at a modest musola in the rural region of Saitama, around two hours’ drive from Tokyo, the nation’s capital.

Founded in 1995 by immigrants from Bangladesh, Kubo is the sole Japanese ethnic community in the area.

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“I am a member of a typical Japanese family” says he. “We didn’t have a deep sense of faith.”

Since the old Shinto religion had an influence on Kubo’s views and approach on life, his experiences are similar to those of many Japanese people.

Shinto is a traditional polytheistic religion that is exclusive to Japan and involves the worship of nature.

While shamanism and divination are used to obtain insight into the unknown, the faith is not defined by written books, canonical scriptures, or a priesthood tradition.

When the Emperor was compelled to renounce his position as a living god during the Second World War, Shinto suffered a severe blow.

Many historians assert that after this incident, the Japanese became agnostic, however new research indicates that at least 85% of them still practice Buddhism and Shintoism.

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“Special meaning”

“The first time I learned about Islam was during my days at school,” adds Kubo.

“History is a common subject taught in Japanese educational systems. Islam was something I knew about in these history classes. Even though I knew so little about the topic, it really affected me.”

His reading about Islam piqued his interest, but he didn’t start considering converting to Islam until he met Japanese Muslims who were living abroad.

He now intends to travel for the Hajj, which is initially an annual journey to Mecca.

“As Muslims, we offer five daily prayers to Mecca. and offer the Prophet Muhammad’s blessings, saying “peace be upon him.” The town is home to the prophet Muhammad, who founded Islam from Mecca. As a result, visiting Mecca holds great significance for Muslims. Being able to visit there makes me feel privileged.”

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“First action”

The Kubo pilgrimage would not have been possible in the previous five years.

Reda Kenawy left Egypt when he was twenty years old and immigrated to Japan. After working for a travel agency, he decided to start his own business that specializes in planning Hajj trips for Japanese Muslims.

“All my colleagues thought that I was insane when I decided to organize for the Hajj excursion,” explains Kenawy. “In terms of the business side, the market should demand payment for the outlays. In the event that no Muslims travel, it will fail.”

“I then went on to tell them that everyone has to start someplace and that once someone is done, the others can move on.”

But there was a steep learning curve, particularly when interacting with Saudi authorities.

Kenawy asserts that they stated: “We’ve never heard of Japanese Muslims and we’ve never heard of Hajj trips that are organised by Japan.”

“I then told them that I came there because I am Japanese and that they are Muslims living in Japan. Being a Japanese national, I wished to travel to Hajj with Japanese pilgrims as my representative.They said that I didn’t have a passport, that it was a fake, and that I looked Egyptian.”

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“Honor and happiness”

Five years after Kenawy’s travel agency became one of just two registered companies authorized by the Saudi government to arrange Hajj trips for Japanese Muslims, he remained resolute in his attempts to carry out travel for Muslims across Japan to Mecca.

It’s clear that more people are using Kenawy’s services annually, but the growth that gives him the most hope is the increase in the proportion of Japanese Muslims.

As of right now, 90% of our population is foreign, and 10% of our population is ethnic Japanese. My objective is to reach the opposite condition, meaning that there will be only 1% of foreigners and 90–99% local Japanese people.”

In 2006, Abdullah Taki, a 36-year-old former body piercer, converted to Islam. In 2007, he made his Hajj journey.

“For my part, the purpose to visit the Kaabah isn’t to visit a place, but to go to God’s house and to talk with God,” he states.

“Originally, we flew into the nation and arrived at Madina before going into Mecca itself. I cried in an unconscious way even though I was unable to see the location because I was on the plane and I did not hear a statement announcing our arrival.


Categories: PRAYER (Salat), ALMS (Zakat), SAWN (Fasting) HAJJ (Pilgrimage) & DUA (Supplications), Hadith and Tafseer, The Holy Quran, Quran Jaz 1- 114

Topics:  Ushr and Zakat, Hijab, Arabic Corner, Faith, Islamic History, Biography, Sirat ul Nabi PBUH,  Islamic Studies, Halal & Haram

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