China’s Muslims and Japan’s Empire: Centering Islam in World War II

Kelly A. Hammond. Univ. of North Carolina, $29.95 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-1-4696-5965-7
Hammond, professor of East Asian History at the Univ. of Arkansas, debuts with an illuminating overview of Japan’s overtures during WWII to minority Muslim communities in Asia as a nation-building tactic. Beginning with the occupation of North China in 1937, the Japanese government attempted to build a network of loyalists who could maintain trade networks, practice diplomacy, and voice political support. Focusing mostly on Chinese-speaking Muslims—with occasional examinations of Tatar, Afghan, and Filipino Muslims—Hammond provides key context about the justifications for Japan’s outreach (such as fabricated shared historical connections) while also showcasing the successful establishment of markets between Japan and Sino-Muslim communities, who had to chose to either collaborate with or resist the Japanese occupation. Hammond’s observations on the “incredible diversity among Muslim communities and Islamic practices throughout Asia” provide an eye-opening departure from the more common, Western-oriented perspectives on WWII in Asia, and counters the stereotypes of Japan and China as internally homogenous nations with single schools of thought. Though the prose is occasionally dry, Hammond’s thorough research will illuminate lay readers and scholars alike. This is an excellent and important addition to the WWII history shelf. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 07/29/2020
Release date: 11/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 314 pages - 978-1-4696-5964-0
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