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Multiethnic and Multicultural Society
Kosuke Hasegawa (LIII)

The course “Malaysia: Multiethnic and Multicultural Society” was aimed to deepen our understanding of the variety of religion, race and culture in Malaysia and especially the industries related to Islam through a pre-studying program at Komaba campus and a study-trip to Malaysia. Unfortunately, the tour which was planned for March 6th to 13th was cancelled, because of the increased danger of terrorism. It was an fascinating and elaborate study-program made in cooperation with the authority in Malaysia (included visiting local universities and even a session with Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister of Malaysia), so the cancellation was very disappointing. However, many people from Professor Nanako Sawayanagi down made the pre-studying program and the substitute classes enjoyable and intensive, so we had a very good time.

We learned three things through this program. First, we learned a lot about Islam. Through careful consideration of its roots and present situations, we learned that Islam, which is sometimes regarded as problematic, consist of humane and logical ideas. For example, Muslims go on a fast once a year in the Ramadan month in order to understand the feelings of the poor. After sunset, dinner which is paid by Zakat, donations from the rich, is treated to the poor. Moreover, we went to see Tokyo Camii, a mosque near Yoyogiuehara-Station. We saw the solemn interior, and we felt refreshed. On the other hand, Professor Tetsuya Sahara at Meiji University talked to us about the threat of terrorism which is spread globally by the Islamic-State (IS) and has now become an everyday event.

Next, we learned about the variety of race and culture, by studying the case of Malaysia, which has many racial groups. In Malaysia, with 60% Malaysian, 30% Chinese, 10% Indian and other minorities, there are many situations caused by the variety of race and culture. It’s not only about culture, but also about political and economic matters, which might at first seem unrelated to the racial variety. Mr. Kawabata Takashi, who works at NewsPicks, talked about the political situation in Malaysia. He said that there are many racial parties in Malaysia, and races may become harmonious. In Japan we don’t think about the variety of race, so the topic was new and surprising.

Lastly, we studied deeply about the Halal Industry and Islamic finance, which are developing in Malaysia. Islam has some precepts about food, like Muslims can’t eat pork, so certificating foods which are suitable for the precepts (called Halal) is a big business, and Malaysia is a hub of the industry. Mr. Akmal Abu Hassan, the CEO of the Malaysia Halal Corporation (MHC) said that Japan should promote this business in order to accommodate Muslim visitors. It is so to speak Omotenashi (treatment) in Japanese. We felt that to start with Japan should get ready to take in foreigners like Muslims for the Tokyo Olympic Game in 2020.

Even though we couldn’t study in Malaysia, we could learn a lot of things thanks to Professor Sawayanagi and many others' cooperation, and we all greatly appreciate their help.

長谷川マレーシア1

Mr. Akmal talks about Halal and Japanese Society.

長谷川マレーシア2

Visit to Tokyo Cami at Yoyogi Uehara

長谷川マレーシア3

Visit to Tokyo Cami at Yoyogi Uehara
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