Islam in Japan

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

  1. BBadolato Fifth Picturewraith

    Jul 5, 2012
    It's less an invasion although that would be a justification thrown about, and more religion period was always trouble in Japan. The Christians getting persecuted was more common distrust from both Nobunaga and Ieyasu's experience with the Ikko Ikki which could have happened with Christianity Shimbara Rebellion aside and Hideyoshi's experiences with the Japanese Slave Trade. The Ikko Ikki was a mass movement of peasants against landlords lead by charismatic Buddhist monks of a populist school of Buddhism the Pure Land School, you can replace with Islam or Christianity if need be. Islam in Japan requires both a good vector and a place where it can stabilize, and something that make it appealing. Christianity had guns, what can Islam offer?

    The Emperor did not mean jack for a long time, hell the current line emperors even trace their lineage to technically appointed usurpers. The reverence for the emperor is only a comparatively recent thing, what your talking about is the State Shinto of the Meiji era and beyond. The emperor's authority by the time of Shogunate was minimal and no one took pains to overthrow them because there was no power to be gained. So a converting to a foreign religion was not this mark of treason as you think it is.
  2. Aviennca's Pupil Banned

    Jan 5, 2018
    Given the "revolutionary" character of Islam, possibly "liberation" or "freedom"?
  3. Word Bearer Well-Known Member

    Aug 6, 2015
    Which would upset the status quo and the Daimyo would purge the convert community.
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  4. wtw Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2010
    And I think in Cambodia they were Genocided to by Pol Pot.

    As to the Islam in Japan, it seems that diet would be a major issue unless you could bring a replacement for pigs, which makes Japan a lot like Northern Europe. In Northern Europe pigs were second only to fish as the most common source of meat people had until the last 200 years when that became beef, mutton and lamb.
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  5. Noscoper Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2015
    Also guns and maybe better access to Indonesian and Malaysian goods.
  6. Aviennca's Pupil Banned

    Jan 5, 2018
    Not if you break the status quo quick enough and have foreign backing as well.
  7. Dingus Khan Emperor of Nowhere

    Nov 10, 2017
    I can see a small but not large community of Muslim converts appearing in Japan, similar to the Hui Muslims of China. However if their presence becomes too noticeable, it's all too likely that they'd suffer a complete crackdown and persecution by the government, much like with the Japanese Christians.
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  8. snassni2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2015
    Maybe Okinawa could become muslim if there was a bigger muslim population in Luzon.
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  9. FillyofDelphi Banned

    Mar 7, 2017
    Given both are extremely similar (at least from a non-Abrahamic perspsecitive; I can't imagine the Japanese are going to have that neuanced a view) they'll likely get swept up in said same crackdown baring butterflies that prevent it irreguardless of size.
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  10. Remitonov Yousoro~! :3

    Sep 11, 2014
    Crown Dependency of Singapore
    It's not just presence, but the perceived threat the community poses on the existing order that can determine a crackdown. If the Japanese Muslims are seen as unthreatening and generally able to obey the shogunate, there'd be no reason for a crackdown. This can even apply to the Christians, if there was any way for them to dissociate their faith from the colonial efforts of the Iberian powers.
  11. FillyofDelphi Banned

    Mar 7, 2017
    It COULD, but it diden't for the Christians IOTL, hence my use of the phrase "in said same crackdown". What I was saying is the Tokugawa officals and local Diyamo probably aren't going to be nueanced enough to impliment a crackdown that targeted Christians while leaving the Muslim community alone, and that baring butterflies we have the former.
    Remitonov likes this.
  12. Calbertbreastpeach "The world is not beautiful, therefore it is."

    Oct 24, 2016
    New New York
    Due to the fact that pork is most avaible in terms of meat during this time if Islam is adapted in japan in any sustainable way could we see a vegan branch of Islam in japan?
  13. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2009
    If the Spanish are repelled in Luzon it would continue to be muslim and Okinawa would trade with a muslim luzon.
    inawarminister likes this.
  14. Remitonov Yousoro~! :3

    Sep 11, 2014
    Crown Dependency of Singapore
    Vegetarianism is already a thing in Japan, thanks to Buddhism. They'll get by. Besides, there's still fish.

    That has little to do with our current discussion thou... Besides which, Muslim Luzon could increase the chances of a Muslim community in Japan, but it's by no means necessary. :|
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  15. Meordal Well-Known Member

    Jul 9, 2017
    I hope it's good. It's just an idea.

    One POD could be the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution initiated by Tang Emperor Wuzong. Among its purposes were to appropriate war funds and to cleanse China of foreign influences. As such, the persecution was directed not only towards Buddhism but also towards other religions, such as Zoroastrianism, Nestorian Christianity, and Manichaeism.

    Islam was brought to China during the Tang dynasty by Arab traders, who were primarily concerned with trading and commerce. It is thought that this low profile was the reason that the 845 anti-Buddhist edict ignored Islam. This edict could have included Islam. The persecution lasted for twenty months—not long, but long enough to have permanent effects.

    This persecution pushed Islam to Japan. Exiled muslim traders from China chose to create a small muslim community in Kyushu Island and Heinan-Kyo. It is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and other Chinese influences were at their height. The Heian period is also considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art, especially poetry and literature.

    Islam began to spread throughout Japan during the Heian period, alongside Buddhism, leading a curious situaiton. Buddhism aimed to connect state and religion and establish support from the aristocracy.

    Marriage between upper class Japanese and muslims stays low at first, since upper class Japanese men would both refuse to marry Muslim women, and forbid their daughters from marrying Muslim men, since they did not want to convert due to their upper class status.

    Only low and mean status Japanese men would convert if they wanted to marry a muslim woman. Conversion rates would be still high among members of the Hinin class, peasants and jizamurais, thanks to the Islamic message of equality.

    Nevertheless the presence of this growing muslim community improved both trade and relations between Japan and China during the Song dynasty and later. The office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during Song dynasty, according to Ting, Dawood C. M. (1958), "Chapter 9: Islamic Culture in China", in Morgan, Kenneth W., Islam—The Straight Path: Islam Interpreted by Muslims, New York: The Ronald Press Company, pp. 344–374.

    Protecting Muslim traders and converts was gradually seen as a great way for daimyos to gain the upper hand in trading with China. As a result, several daimyō became muslims, soon to be followed by many of their vassals.

    With the introduction of Buddhism and Islam and their rapid adoption by the court and commoners, it became necessary for philosophers and religious leaders to explain the apparent differences between native Japanese beliefs and foreign teachings. This intellectual effort resulted in a new religious identity specific to Japan.

    The new social order of a declining Buddhist aristocracy and ascending military and peasant muslim classes resulted in new forms of religions, including islamo-buddhism and shinto-islam.

    The times that gave way to the Kamakura period were marked by political and military conflict, natural disasters, and social malaise attributed to the perceived arrival of the Latter Day of the Law. Islamic eschatology quickly became popular during this period and its teachings mixed with local fringe groups.

    The best example of such a syncretism are the Ikko-Ikki with their slogans "Hail to Buddha Amida“ and ”Hail to Buddha Mahdi“ in the 15th-16th centuries.

    The Japanese official contacts with the Ming dynasty began during the Muromachi period after the Chinese sought support in suppressing Japanese pirates in coastal areas of China. Wanting to improve relations with China and to rid Japan of the wokou threat, Yoshimitsu accepted a relationship with the Chinese that was to last for centuries.

    In 1401 he restarted the tribute system, describing himself in a letter to the Chinese Emperor as "Your subject, the King of Japan". The Xuande Emperor hired Zheng He, to lead an expedition to Japan in 1430. This expedition similar to his previous expeditionary voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, Western Asia, and East Africa was set to improve the relations between Ming dynasty and Ashikaga shogunate.

    As a result, an official Chinese embassy is opened in Japan and a triangular trade is officially established between daimyos, China and Southeast Asia, controlled by the Tanegashima clan and the Hosokawa. It led to the creation of official Japanese trading colonies in various areas, including military forts built to defend traders.

    The presence of Japanese traders and soldiers in southeastern Asia was already witnessed by Marco Polo in the 12th century. A common faith greatly helped Japanese traders and settlers in Southeast Asia. Japanese ronins often acted as bodyguards for local sovereigns and rulers.

    In 1420, the creation of the Japanese trading colony and heavy forts of Singapura was accepted by Megat Iskandar Shah in exchange of the creation of his own ”Ronin guard“ made of 10’000 samurais. For centuries, European attempts to rule in Southeastern Asia will be severely hampered by the presence of Japanese settlers and soldiers causing numerous administrative and endless military difficulties.

    In 1467, the Ashikaga shoguns were reduced to such powerlessness that control of the lucrative China trade became contested between the nominal Ashikaga vassals the Hosokawa clan in Kyoto and the Ōuchi clan of Yamaguchi. Trade continued despite this rivality.

    In 1511, minor Japanese trading colonies situated near Malacca straits were attacked by Portuguese explorers. Survivors of this attack describe their attackers as faithless and unthrustworthy barbarians.


    Impact of the Malaccan on China and the rest of the world :

    The Portuguese attacks of Malacca enraged the Zhengde of China when he received the envoys from the Sultan Mahmud accompanied by Japanese envoys. The furious Chinese emperor responded with brutal force, culminating the period of the decades of prosecution of Portuguese in China.

    Among the earliest victims were the Portuguese envoys led by Tomé Pires in 1516 that were greeted with great hostility and suspicion. The Chinese confiscated all of the Portuguese property and goods in the Pires embassy's possession. Two successive Portuguese fleets bound for China in 1521 and 1522 were attacked and defeated in the first and second Battle of Tamao.

    After the Portuguese bribed their way into obtaining a trade mission in Ningbo and Quanzhou, they inflicted savage behaviour against the Chinese, and raided the Chinese ports. In retaliation, in 1545 the entire Portuguese community of Ningbo were exterminated by Chinese forces. It’s only by 1620 that Ming China finally agreed to allow Christian traders to settle on Tamao Island in a new trade colony, similarly to the Dutch factory in Deijima.

    The so-called informal 400 years Mandarin alliance between China and Japan was built during this period of Christian peril. Those two countries were later joined by Joseon dynasty in 1666 after the escape of Hendrick Hamel. Together they would prove successful enough to deter most of European threats.

    Repeated attempts by Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch settlers on Taiwan Island were repulsed by Chinese and Japanese joint forces in the 17th and 18th century. The same events happened in Korea, where expansionist attempts were blocked by diplomacy. Unfortunately war was necessary in Viêt Nam to defend this country from French invaders in 1843. This war consolidated China and Siam relations.

    This informal alliance lasted until the 19th century, when it was joined by Siam and Russia in 1850, after the first Opium War fought by Great Britain against China, Japan and Korea with informal Russian support.

    This alliance was of great use against the Taiping rebellion (1851-1864), a war in which Ottoman Empire and Prussia decided to send advisors.


    In May 1523, trade fleets from both the Hosokawa and the Ōuchi clans arrived in Ningbo. Despite a violent incident between the Japanese delegations, the Hosokawa delegation, led by a Chinese muslim convert named Song Suqing, was able to secure its direct trade rights with China and to keep Ningbo port open to Japanese trade. This agreement led to a quick downfall of the Ouchi clan.

    During the 16th century, traders and Jesuit missionaries from Portugal reached Japan for the first time, initiating direct commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the West. Unfortunately for them, southwestern daimyos weren't interested in new commercial brokers, since their trade system with Southeastern Asia and China was already well consolidated.

    When Xavier disembarked in Kagoshima, the principal chiefs of the two branches of the Shimazu family, Sanehisa and Katsuhisa, were warring for the sovereignty of their lands. Katsuhisa, adopted Takahisa Shimazu who in 1542 was accepted as head of the clan having previously well received the Portuguese merchants on Tanegashima Island, learning about the use of firearms.

    In 1549, he met St. Francis Xavier at the castle of Uchiujijo. Xavier asked for the conversion of his vassals. Having a shinto-muslim religious background, Takahisa showed himself to be benevolent and already allowed freedom of worship but refused helping the missionaries nor favoring their church.

    Unable to find a way to the centre of affairs, the court of the Emperor, the uncompromising Xavier took to the streets denouncing, among other things, infanticide, idolatry, homosexuality and even worse Islam. Misunderstandings were inevitable and he was later decapitated by Takhisa himself.

    In 1559, Gaspar Vilela was denied permission from Ashikaga Yoshiteru to teach Christianity. Emperor Ōgimachi issued edicts to ban Catholicism in 1565 and 1568. Toyotomi Hideyoshi also promulgated a ban on Catholicism in form of the "Bateren-tsuiho-rei" (the Purge Directive Order to the Jesuits) on July 24, 1587.

    Hideyoshi put Nagasaki under his direct rule to control Portuguese and Spanish smugglers while allowing Dutch sailors to trade with Japan. It didn't last long. Following incidents between Dutch sailors and muslim imams, Christianity was officially banned in 1614 and all Christian missionaries/priests ordered to leave.

    Sakoku was the isolationist foreign policy of the Japanese Tokugawa shogunate (aka Bakufu) through a number of edicts and policies from 1633–39. Japan was not completely isolated under the sakoku policy.

    It was a system in which strict regulations were applied to commerce and foreign relations by the shogunate and by certain feudal domains (han). There was extensive trade with China, Korea, Russia, Southeastern Asia and the Ottoman Empire.

    The policy stated that the only Christian influence permitted was the Dutch factory at Dejima in Nagasaki. It thus didn't stop trade between the Netherlands and Japan, but drastically reduced Christian conversions due to a lack of missionaries and priests. Many Christian converts, without contacts with priests, turned themselves to Islam and its local versions.

    Christianity only came back to Japan in 1853, when the American Black Ships commanded by Matthew Perry forced the opening of Japan to American trade through a series of unequal treaties.

    Christianity is still a minor religion in the archipelago. Around 0.5 percent of the population claims Christian belief or affiliation, while the various Islamic cults are observed by roughly 50% of the Japanese.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
  16. Remitonov Yousoro~! :3

    Sep 11, 2014
    Crown Dependency of Singapore
    Initial premise seems ok, but everything after the initial POD is going to change a lot. There's no guarantee an Islamic-influenced Heian court is going to collapse at the same time as OTL, and anything after is going to be even more different from what we know. Y'know... Butterflies.
    Cataquack Warrior likes this.
  17. theg*ddam*hoi2fan Beware of the Leopard

    Jul 1, 2014
    Under a bridge, handing out business cards
    What Remitonov said. Not guaranteed who the Shogun would be, that the US would open Japan to trade...Hell, with these butterflies there might never be a United States.

    That said, the general sweep of the introduction and spread of Islam seems a solid one. Even if the Buddhist-Muslim thing makes me think of Dune :p But otherwise...yeah, this could work. It'd be a really interesting setting for a story, anyway.
  18. Remitonov Yousoro~! :3

    Sep 11, 2014
    Crown Dependency of Singapore
    Oh yea, the Zen-Islam... :3

  19. Ricardolindo Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2018
    The best way for Islam to reach Japan is the Spanish never colonizing the Philippines, thus, allowing the Bruneians to convert the locals to Islam. Then, the Bruneians could advance further north and convert the Taiwanese aboriginals, too. Then they could reach the Ryukyu Islands in Japan but I doubt, that, they would have success in converting them.
  20. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2009
    Except, they already did IOTL however they did not have time to expand further north in Taiwan , the best POD would be have the Portuguese defeated in Malacca.