[POSTCARD / ÉMIGRÉ TATAR IMPRINT / MUSLIMS IN JAPAN] Dayren(?) ve Mukden mescidi [i.e., Masjids of Dairen & Mukden]

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[Matbaa-yi Islâmiye, Tokyo, ca. 1930].

Original litho postcard. 9x14 cm. Descriptive text in bilingual Japanese and Tatar with Arabic letters. Blank verso.

A very scarce lithographed postcard showing the Muslim Tatar educators and community with Japanese students in front of the building of the Mukden Masjid and the building of the Dairen Masjid. This uncommon postcard is not included in the Dündar list.

As of April 2024, we couldn’t trace any copies in OCLC, KVK.


The encounter between Muslims and Japan coincided with the end of the 19th century. Japan, which had closed itself off to most of the world for about 250 years during the Tokugawa period, opened its doors to the world due to the influence of the United States in 1853 and began establishing communication with many countries. Following this, encounters with Muslims and the Islamic world also began. The first Muslims to arrive in Japan are believed to be merchants who came on commerce ships. Thus, the journey of Muslims to Japan began with Indian Muslim merchants towards the end of the 19th century. Turko-Tatar Muslims who sought shelter in Japan following the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 constituted the second significant Muslim immigrant group.

After the Russian Revolution, some of the Idel-Uralian Turco-Tatars dispersed by immigrating to the Far Eastern regions, particularly Chinese territories like Manchuria, Hong Kong, Shanghai, as well as Korea and Japan, where they formed communities. Turco-Tatar groups in Japan began forming in 1919, and cities like Kumamoto, Yokohama, Tokyo, Kobe, and Nagoya hosted these newcomers. These groups had no close relationships with each other until 1924, when they began to meet after Molla Muhammad Gabdulhay Qurbangaliyef (Molla Muhammed Abdulhay Kurbanali) (1889-1972) arrived in Japan.

Molla Muhammed Abdulhay Kurbanali, who holds an important place in the struggle for the existence of Turco-Tatars in the Far East, is one of the most discussed Idel-Uralian leaders due to his political attitudes, relationships, and activities. He led the establishment of the first Islamic printing house in Japan, called “Matbaa-yi Islâmiye”, in Tokyo. The main reason for establishing this printing house was to meet the book needs of all Turco-Tatars who had to leave their homeland (primarily those in Japan) and to publish materials that would keep religious and national sentiments alive. During the establishment of the printing house, both Japanese officials and people from Idel-Ural made significant financial contributions. Undoubtedly, the reason for this was that Japan at the time aimed to create a new centre of attraction by establishing a base for propaganda activities towards the Turkish-Islamic world.

At a meeting held in October 1928, Turkish-Tatars living in Japanese-controlled lands and Japanese officials decided to establish a printing house in Tokyo that could publish books and other materials in Arabic script. Since the young Republic of Turkey began using Latin letters instead of Arabic letters with the Alphabet Revolution in 1928, the old letters and patterns of a newspaper in Istanbul were purchased and sent to Japan. Thus, between 1928 and 1942, the printing house produced 39 books, one newspaper, two journals, and 49 postcards (published in five groups: the first group includes sixteen, the second includes ten, the third includes four, the fourth includes eleven, and the fifth and final group includes eight cards), as well as calendars, advertisements, broadsides, invitations, programs, posters, and special envelopes.