Some Reflections on the First Muslim Visitor to Japan

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James Harry Morris

Keywords

Islam in China, Islam in Japan, Mongol Empire, Chinese History, Japanese History, Yuan Dynasty, Sino-Japanese Relations, Mongol Invasions of Japan, Muslim visitors to Japan, Japan-Middle East Relations

Abstract

This research note explores the biography and visit of the first Muslim visitor to Japan. This figure known as Sādōulǔdīng 撒都魯丁 visited Japan as part of a Mongol envoy in 1275CE, which ultimately ended in his execution in the country. Very little research has been conducted on Sādōulǔdīng, and therefore this note begins by evaluating relevant primary sources in order to assess what information can be garnered about this figure and his visit. Hitherto most scholars have suggested that Sādōulǔdīng was either a Uyghur or an Arab. This note, on the other hand, offers a new hypothesis; namely that there is a high probability that Sādōulǔdīng was of Persian ancestry. In the final part of the note, some thoughts on the significance of his visit to Japan both historically and contemporarily are presented.

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