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Personality changes after conversion among Japanese Muslims: Preliminary findings


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Date & Time

10:00-12:00, December 6, 2018



The conference room #1, 2F,
Graduate School of Education,
The University of Tokyo



Professor Khairul Anwar Mastor, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia



Growing numbers of Japanese people convert to Islam as their religion and way of life. Through many literatures and experiences on Japanese people and society, the Japanese are perceived as society rich in culture and possess good, polite and amicable personality characteristics even before becoming muslims.  It is interesting then to investigate whether these Japanese individuals feel that their personality and behavior has changed after the conversion. If they feel so, what are the main causes they thought that change them to become a better person? Do they think that religious obligations especially the religious rituals like solat and fasting in Ramadan has made a significant impact on their personality and characters? To pursue the questions, we interviewed 15 Japanese individuals who became Muslims in Tokyo areas. We asked the questions mentioned above to all respondents we met and found very interesting responses. The majority of them agree that their personality and character changed after the conversion, although not immediately, but through a gradual process. Some of them reported that these changes were due to their continuous engagement in performing daily prayer (solat), fasting in Ramadan and also reciting Quran at daily basis. Some other also reported that it is the combination of religious taught and practices with the long tradition of Japanese life and culture that mould their present personality and character.  This preliminary study suggest that conversion affects the psychological dimension of a person with the interaction of their previous belief and cultural and religious beliefs. Further study is in need to explore deeper the mechanism of changes in the personality and character especially among Japanese muslims in the future.






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