There is nothing contrary in Japanese culture with Islam
Ali Hiroaki Kawanishi is a young peace seeker. As a Buddhist and Shintoist, he studied Christian Theology in Japan. He was seeking for a better version of himself. Then his path crossed with his Muslim friends. He said that in Japanese culture, there is not even one point contrary to Islamic moral teachings. The media represent Islam in a really bad way. But after Kawanishi find out what Islam really is, he decided to convert to it. And he became a Muslim.
Maybe you have studied the principles of different religions, but there were always some grey points that don’t satisfy your expectations. Ali was feeling exactly the way you do. If you are wondering how did he find his inner peace and what is Islam really about, knowing Ali may help you.
Transcript of the interview
My name is Ali, Hiroaki Kawanishi. I came from Japan. I am 25 years old now. I attend Ibn Haldun University PhD Programme of Alliance of Civilizations Institute. I was a Buddhist, and the same time I was a Shintoist too. I have been a Muslim for the past five-five and half years now. I got my bachelor’s degree in Japan at first. My major was Christian Theology. I wasn’t a Christian but I was highly curious about religious studies in general and philosophy of religion. That’s why I ended up deciding to study Christian Theology.
How did you become a Muslim?
I attended some lectures about Islam and Judaism back then. I mean, I got a special feeling in Introduction to Islam lectures that no other religion gave me that feeling; neither Judaism nor Christianism.
After that, when I met the unbiased, the real Islam; my view until then has completely changed about it.
I have read books about Islam in Japanese. I’ve watched videos about the Muslim community and its culture in Youtube. Then, I made some Muslim Japanese friends. I was highly impressed by their morality. I have decided to become a Muslim when the Islamic belief principles made sense to me. There was nothing I could deny when I learned them.
If there are a hundred different people, then there would be a hundred different stories.
I mean, anything can happen. There are also ones that become Muslim through marriage. I saw many conversions to Islam in that way. Just the opposite is possible also; there are people that do not know any Muslim people in their social life but became a Muslim eventually. It varies. As I mentioned, I really like the Islamic Belief Principles, I agreed. There was also an effect of my friends that I met. But nobody invited me to religion. No one insisted me for becoming a Muslim. Instead, they affect me indirectly, I was impressed by their morality and decency. This was also a reason.
Especially if you made this as a daily life practice, as a way of life, Japan is so simple and elegant. This is also not contrary to Islam. Politeness to older, politeness to everyone; these are similar to Islam, also you can find various equal aspects. The longer the time I’ve been Muslim; the more I realize and learn new things. There are things I still learn about it. Particularly in the spiritual aspect, about satisfaction.
Before you become a Muslim, what was your knowledge about Islam?
Especially in Western societies; there is a settled vision of Islam and this vision has nothing to do with the real Muslim life. However this image of Islam created by the media is not looking good at all, generally, Islam represented as evil. These news affects people because since a person learns about Islam, this image has a bad effect since he believes that Islam is like that. Islam has a bad image (because of the Western media) of course, I had this view before yet when I started reading by myself, I’ve learned Islam as what really is.
Same time, there is too much and complicated information in internet for a non-Muslim that; people could probably not realize whether the information is accurate or not. In that sense, internet has some difficulties to use. In fact in Islamic society, there is no one that we can follow on the internet and get the exact correct information.
There are some invitation organizations of Muslims but they have political sides too. Especially Saudi Arabia; the embassy of SA occasionally works well but generally, it is something political. Also, for example, Iran, they both make invitation activities very active in Japan.
Is there anything you want to say to those who want to become a Muslim?
If you are going to be a Muslim; is there something to lose I wonder? No, there is not; you’ll win. Japanese are able to make calculations well; they are smart.
Smart ones become a Muslim anyway; there is no doubt about it.
So if the Japanese are smart, they become Muslim (laughs). It’s a bit joke, but it’s not just a joke. I’m serious because of the traditional decency, the common morality and the discipline of Japanese… There is nothing contrary to Islam. But there is no way to meet Muslims in Japan, so there is no access to Islam. There is also a difference in the image of Islam.
Islam is different from what is imposed by the media.
To become a Muslim, you need to meet a Muslim. You need to meet someone who tells you about Islam correctly, you need to get the right information.