Islam in Japan

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by KarneeKarnay, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Changundramon Well-Known Member

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    The Islam that might hypothetically grow in Japan has to deal not only with the concept of coexistence with a polytheist religion that is central to imperial authority, but also things like a general popularity of alcohol. The more it adapts to Japanese culture and customs- the more unique it will become, and such a community might get the same treatment from Middle East Muslims as Alawites or Ahmadiyya get in our timeline.
     
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  2. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    The Korean alcohol soju and Japanese alcohol shochu can trace their descent from the Levantine alcohol araq. There was a caliph of the Ottoman Empire named Selim the Sot. Islam's effect on alcohol historically wasn't to destroy it, but to impoverish it via discouragement (leading to the extinction of many historic grape varieties from Mauretania to Iran). Remaining sorts of wine, or later distilled drinks like araq, would be eagerly consumed by less orthodox Muslims, up to and including the ruling class.

    Traditional Hui Islam was generally heterodox, so any traditional Japanese Islam would likewise be the same. If there's a Japanese ruler who declares himself Caliph, then odds are good his variety of Islam won't be very orthodox either. Pork was and is a major meat in Japan, so there needs to be a workaround. Sake was a huge part of government revenue since the Middle Ages (as late as the Russo-Japanese War, about 30-40% of government revenue on either side was funded by alcohol taxes). There's always been a loophole in some groups of Muslims about what alcohol Muhammad forbade (in opposition to the orthodox Muslim position that all alcohol is forbidden)--some say only intoxicants of grapes and dates are banned, and not those of wheat, honey, etc. Sake, made from rice, would thus be exempted under this view (nowadays a heterodox view), as would most all shochu, which is made from rice, barley, buckwheat, and even more odd ingredients like sweet potato, green tea, etc.
     
  3. Changundramon Well-Known Member

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    Interesting bit about the different sources of alcohol being treated differently. Forgot about the pork issue, as I thought Japanese in those times didn't get to eat meat often. I guess it was more available than I thought. Climate plays a role in food preference. The colder a winter can get in any given area, the more caloric food will be preferred.
     
  4. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    IIRC pork would have been the most common meat the peasant in Japan would have eaten (except fish in some parts). They normally would have eaten millet, buckwheat, or brown rice, which wasn't as prestiged as white (polished) rice like the elite ate, which ironically gave the peasants an advantage in nutrition since buckwheat, brown rice, etc. have important nutrients which white rice lacks. A lot of rice was also sold to sake breweries, which were often under the control of monasteries or the government (and monasteries had an unfortunate tendency of fighting with the government).

    It's also worth noting that to this day, shochu production is most associated with Kyushu.
     
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  5. BMN Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with regards to Islam, as only a direct descendent of Muhammad (ie an Arab) can be a Caliph. I don’t know much about the Sokoto Caliphate, but my guess is the ruler was of mixed ancestry and could claim Arab paternity.
    For the Japanese, it would be tricky to achieve being the direct descent of an Arab without being a half-breed, which would be seen as ‘less pure Japanese’

    At least in the case of Christianity, being an heir to Christ’s throne was more spiritual than biologically genealogical, so an Emperor crowned by a pope could claim to be the Prince of Heaven regardless of his ancestry
     
  6. FillyofDelphi Banned

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    The Sokoto Caliphate didn't claim the mantle of the Universal Successor of the Prophet, and in Sunni Islam there isent any strict ethnic requirement anyways (Shia Islam is different, believing the title is hereditary down the Line of Ali, but wouldn't be the sect involved here if we're talking about it being introduced by an Arabic and Malay merchant class). Rather, they were taking on the title as "Commander of the Faithful"; the protector and guide of a particular Islamic community.

    A Japanese Emperor would by tricky to fit into a contemporary Islamic theological framework, that is true. However, the Muhgal Emperor's managed to square that circle, so I imagine you'd see a similar scenario that consolidated the Shinto traditions and spiritualism into an Islamic framework. One possability might be the melding of the spirits and the Jinn, with the Emperor being cast as a decendent of a great good Jinn that sealed away Ibles at God's command, and their tradition had involved Allah the whole time by a series of intervening spirits to advocate for their souls since they weren't directly exposed to the Revelation.
     
  7. Remitonov Yousoro~! :3

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    IIRC, only the Shi'ites have that requirement for the Caliph, specifically having him as a descendant of Ali via his children. Sunnis don't have that requirement, though it does add to the prestige if one is.
     
  8. EmperorBuaya Well-Known Member

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    Based on the topic of this thread, I'm going to add in my opinion on the subject. It is not impossible to have Japanese Muslims in Japan but not in very large numbers, nor being dominant group in Japan. It'll be similar case to the Christians. Just as one of the religious minorities to say the least. But it can be started as the religion of merchants in Kyushu or fitted in Japanese framework like the Hui Chinese Muslims.

    Although off-topic, I thought the main Japanese meat diet is seafood. Even though, pork is one of the main meats in Japan. Well, this is based on my observation from my Japan trip in 2016. I could be mistaken.
     
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  9. elkarlo Banned

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    I agree. And as a long time resident , I've found two religions to have little appeal to the Japanese. Islam and Mormonism seem to be pretty low on interest level here. Not every religion matches with every religion. I feel that Catholism matched pretty well with pre edo Japan, while Islam wouldn't.. Islam never became popular in any oriental country ala Vietnam , Korea, Japan and China
     
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  10. Aghstadian Well-Known Member

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    I think is more to do with european controling trade network in 1600s onward and colonization of South East Asia. Say for some reason European expedition to Asia happen significantly later than otl. While I doubt it will gain majority, 3-5% is plausible I think. With merchant made up majority of their communities.

    Also correct me if I'm wrong but from what i read about portuguse expedition they are usually accompanied by some priest not to mention some support back home while Muslim state tend to focus convert their own domain with much of outside realm work done by merchant and occasional sufi traveler independent of state support. No wonder Catholic will spread faster.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  11. markus meecham Marxism-Leninism-Bricksquad thought Banned

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    My favorite is Ethiopian black jesus with a 'fro
     
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  12. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire

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    It did in Indonesia and the Malay States as Oriental Countries.

    And the Champa in Vietnam were Muslim for a while.

    Islam was never attempted to spread in Korea, Vietnam or Japan. If they did there could be a small existing minority. Majority is unlikely if not impossible.
     
  13. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member Banned

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    They were? Why not anymore?
     
  14. EmperorBuaya Well-Known Member

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  15. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

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    During that time Champa was majorly hindu, when the vietnamese conquered the last parts of Champa, the Muslim Chams majorly fled.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  16. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire

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    Their kingdom got destroyed I suppose... or sent back to another dimension.
     
  17. Byzantion Well-Known Member

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    There might be some Sufi Orders with Shintoist and traditional elements.
     
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  18. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member Banned

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    Where to?
     
  19. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire

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    Cambodja?
     
  20. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Cambodia and Aceh primarily.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
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