In this study, the phenomenon of conversion is analysed in the context of the experiences of Japanese Muslim converts. The purpose of this study is to understand the processes leading to conversion to Islam among Japanese and to explore religious conversion motifs of Japanese Muslim converts, thus making a conceptual contribution to the existing conversion literature. The problems of the research were, understanding the conditions leading Japanese to Islam, exploring circumstances the Japanese had started to develop an interest towards Islam and Muslims, and finally discovering the main motivating factors of their conversion. With this aim, the research has been designed as qualitative research. A combination of phenomenology and grounded theory research methods were applied in order to understand the essence of the conversion experience of Japanese Muslims and also to develop a theoretical explanation for their conversion. A total of 2 years and 3 months, between September 2016 - December 2017 and February 2019 - January 2020, were spent in Tokyo, Japan for the fieldwork. The data is derived from the semi-structured interviews, participant observation and field study notes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 women and 30 men, in total 62 Japanese Muslims, whose ages are changing between 19 and 81. The participants were reached via snowball and purposive sampling methods. Most of the Japanese Muslims interviewed are from Tokyo, and some reside in other cities in Japan. The events and activities of various mosques, masjids and associations, especially of the Tokyo Mosque and Turkish Cultural Centre and the Japanese Muslim Association, were participated in order to make observations. Additionally, field notes were kept during these visits. Waseda University library and its resources were consulted for the literature research. It is discovered that Japanese conversion to Islam is a social process, led by their encounters with Muslims. Most of the time, their first memorable encounter with Islam took place in the social context, overseas, during their study abroad, business or leisure travel, or at their work and schools, or via their romantic interests within Japan. Few of them got introduced to Islam via media or their personal interests. Upon their encounters, the Japanese, who were not seriously dissatisfied with their existing living conditions and beliefs before, and who were not in search of a new way of life and belief, began to be interested in Islam in different ways. It is also discovered they had a lack of strong prejudice against Islam, thus following their encounters, they had an open attitude learning towards the religion and the people. In this study, four motivational factors discovered influential on Japanese conversion to Islam: social, intellectual, psychological and pragmatic. In social motivations, desires to be included in the Muslim community they encountered, to be like them, and to lead a life them are strong. Participants in this category are interested in human relations, perspectives, attitudes and behaviours of Muslims. They were impressed by the closeness of family relations, by the idea of an international Muslim brotherhood-sisterhood, kindness, sincerity and helpfulness they observed among Muslims, and their courage towards calamities of life. In this group, the participants are most interested in Muslims. In the intellectual motivations, their primary motivation is their conviction of Islam intellectually. The attention of participants was attracted by the theoretical and ideological aspects of Islam, its teachings and its belief system. They began asking questions about Islam to the Muslims around them. Some were convinced by clear, simple and sensible answers they received. Some found similarities between Islam and Japanese culture, and felt close to Islam. Some were interested in the Islamic social system. Lastly, some participants who were Christians previously found Islam as the next logical step they could continue. In the psychological motivations category, the participants are in need of a belief and a quest for a God prior to their encounters. The idea of a God with an infinite power, who can protect them from their fears and anxieties and who can always watch over them attracted them. Most of the participants in this category, while describing their experiences, explained that they realised their need following their encounters with Islam and Muslims. Few had emotional experiences hearing the sound of the adhan and the Qur’an, and participating in the prayer. The last motivations are the pragmatic ones. In this category, Islam and conversion are instruments for participants who had other interests. Some converted for marriage with their Muslim partners, some for business and scholarship opportunities.
Bu araştırmada din değiştirme fenomeni Müslüman olmuş Japonlar örneğinde incelenmiştir. Araştırmanın amacı, Japon Müslümanların İslam ile karşılaşma ve din değiştirme süreç ve deneyimlerini anlamak ve Müslüman olma motifleri üzerine bir tipoloji denemesi yaparak ile din değiştirme literatürüne kavramsal bir katkı sağlayabilmektir. Bu amaca uygun nitel bir çalışma olarak tasarlanan bu çalışmada hem fenomenoloji hem de gömülü teori yaklaşımlarının bakış açıları, araştırma teknikleri ve veri analiz metotları kullanılmıştır. Saha çalışması 2016 Eylül – 2017 Aralık ve 2019 Şubat – 2020 Ocak dönemlerinde toplam 2 yıl 3 ay Tokyo’da sürdürülmüştür. Veri toplama aşamasında yarı-yapılandırılmış mülakat, katılımcı gözlem, saha notları tekniklerine başvurulmuştur. Mülakatlar, kartopu ve amaçlı örneklem metotlarıyla ulaşılan, yaşları 19 ile 81 arası değişen 32 kadın ve 20 erkek toplam 62 kişi ile yapılmıştır. Araştırma sonucunda öğrenilenler şunlardır: Japonların Müslüman olmaları büyük oranda sosyal bir süreçtir. Din değiştirme hikâyelerinin başlangıcı Müslümanlar ile yaşadıkları anlamlı karşılaşmalara dayanmaktadır. İlk anlamlı karşılaşmaları büyük oranda yurtdışında, iş, gezi yahut eğitim seyahatleri esnasında gerçekleşmektedir. İslam ve Müslümanlar hakkında ciddi önyargılara sahip olmamaları sebebiyle, bu karşılaşmalarda öğrenmeye ve anlamaya açık bir tutum sergilemişlerdir. İslam ile karşılaşmadan önce hâlihazırda var olan yaşam şartları ve inançları hususunda ciddi tatminsizlikleri bulunmayan ve yeni bir yaşam ve inanç biçimi arayışı içinde olmayan Japonlar, farklı şekillerde İslam ile ilgilenmeye başlamıştır. Araştırmada, Japonların Müslüman olmalarının dört farklı motivasyon ile gerçekleştiği tespit edilmiştir. Bunlar sosyal, entelektüel, psikolojik ve pragmatik motivasyonlardır.
|Yayımlanma Tarihi||30 Nisan 2022|
|Başvuru Tarihi||31 Ocak 2022|
|Kabul Tarihi||8 Nisan 2022|
|Yayınlandığı Sayı||Yıl 2022, Cilt , Sayı 47|