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A Transnational History of Revolution and Nationalism: Encounters Between Japanese Asianists, the Turkish Revolution, and the World of Islam

  • Selçuk Esenbel (a1)

Extract

The leading intellectual and ideologue of the Japanese Asianist agenda of Japanese imperialism until the end of World War II, Okawa Shumei (1886-1957), was tried in the Tokyo War Crimes Trial as a war criminal but found to be mentally disturbed. The post-war memory about Okawa is an alien image-Okawa spending his days translating the Qur'an while detained in a mental hospital in solitary confinement. The clinical description of Okawa's hallucinations on 13 March 1947, while under psychiatric treatment, is a telling climax of the narrative on the fusion of Japanese Pan Asianism and Islam. The examination report describes in detail the psychological state of Okawa, who might have been suffering from syphilis-induced hallucinations: “Okawa believes Mohammed comes to him. In his vision, he states that he sees Mohammed dressed in a green mantle and white turban. Mohammed's eyes glow brilliantly, and his presence fills him with courage, enthusiasm, and contentment […] Patient believes that this is a religious experience. Mohammed enables him to understand the ‘Koran’ as he was never able to understand it before. There is no conflict with his Buddhist faith because he states there is only one God: and Mohammed, Christ, and Buddha are all prophets of the same God.” The report notes that the prisoner's principal interest is now in “Mohammedanism and the translation and interpretation of the Koran.”

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