When there is talk about Islam, Japan is not a country that comes instantaneously to our minds. Nevertheless, there are many substantial bonds and links between Japan and the Islamic world. Japan’s resource diplomacy, which centres mainly on petroleum and oil, is one of these. Perhaps, that is why various aspects of Islam including history and culture as well as the relationship with the Muslim world have been some of the important areas of scholars’ interest in Japanese academia, particularly in the last few decades.
There have been three peaks in the history of Japanese scholarship regarding Islam: first is before the Second World War, the second is post-war period after the “oil shock” and the last is after 9/11. Although, Islam was not studied as a religion in early stages because the role of comparative religion was minor and the Japanese scholarship in general was mainly confined to publications in Japanese language. However, gradually the situation has improved. The academic activities in recent years are different from earlier as the spectrum of research has widened studying Islam from various approaches such as methodological and typological. Another recent trend is the production of quite reasonable amount of material in English.
This brief survey on Japanese scholarship on Islam shall trigger the attention of Pakistani scholars for further studies and be helpful to understand how Islam is perceived in Japan.