The History of Diyanet Turkish Culture Center
According to information obtained from historical sources, Kazan Turks who settled in Tokyo established an association called “Mahalle Islamiye” in 1925 with the purpose of protecting their religious and national identities. As a result of these association meetings, they decided that there was a need to teach their religious beliefs and national culture to new generations. In accordance with this decision, they rented a Japanese house in 1927 and used it as a school under the name “Mekteb Islamiye”. This school was the first Muslim school opened in Japan. Later Kazan Turks, who collected money among themselves, bought the land and built a building here in 1930. This building was used as a school and masjid. One room of this building was transformed into a printing house in order to prepare the materials needed for the education to be given at the school. In the period corresponding to the years of the alphabet reform in Turkey, the printing machines of a newspaper in Istanbul were moved here. Textbooks were the first publication of the printing house called “Tokyo Matbaa-i İslamiyye”.
In 1934, a Holy Quran was printed in this printing house. Being the first Holy Quran printed in Japan and the Far East, this Mushaf is currently exhibited in the Tokyo Camii & Turkish Culture Center. The printing of the Holy Quran in the printing house continued for a long time and the printed Quran Mushafs were also sent to Muslims in the surrounding countries. In 1935, the building officially began to be used as a primary school, while printing activities continued. The building, which became old and worn out over time, was demolished and the current Turkish Culture Center building was built by the Presidency of Religious Affairs in 2017.
Tokyo Camii was built in the form of an Ottoman mosque, with a place of worship for ladies on the upper floor. Under the mosque, there is a cultural center consisting of an area suitable for exhibitions, a chief room and a multi-purpose hall. After the demolition of the school next to the mosque, it was brought to the agenda to increase the functionality of the mosque by building a separate cultural center on this land. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 19, 2017 and the construction of the Turkish Culture Center started. It was delivered to Japan Diyanet Foundation on July 20, 2018. The new building opened its doors to its guests under the name of Turkish Culture Center.
Features of Diyanet Turkish Culture Center
Tokyo Camii and Diyanet Turkish Culture Center is an important center where people from all nations, especially the Japanese, show great interest and learn about Islamic culture and art. The cultural center is designed to include sections with different functions such as classroom, kitchen and conference room.
“Halal Market” is located on the first floor, in the transition from the mosque building to the cultural center. In a country like Japan, where it is very difficult to find halal products, this market has become a frequent destination for Muslims. On the other hand, halal market is an important center where visitors from different nationalities visit and taste the products of both Turkish and other nations.
The kitchen, located opposite of the market, is designed quite large as two sections. Meals distributed every Friday throughout the year and iftar meals served every day during Ramadan are prepared in this kitchen. At other times, workshops such as cooking and dessert making are held, which attract Japanese and other nationalities.
There is a conference hall with a capacity of 130 people on the lower floor of the cultural center building. Turquoise, which is the color of Turkish blue, was preferred in the design of the hall. In addition to many events such as regular lectures, seminars, conferences and concerts, film screenings are also held in the hall.
On the second and third floors of the cultural center, there is a large oriental room, classrooms and offices. The oriental room, named Divan and designed in accordance with Ottoman architecture, is admired by everyone. In this place, classes, meetings and conversations for groups are held.
Offices and classrooms are named after important figures who contributed greatly to the Tokyo Camii. The classroom named Abdürreşid İbrahim is used as a library and meeting center by Kazan Turks. Enver Apanay classroom, where children are given religious and values education, is decorated with small furniture suitable for children. The classrooms named after Abdülhay Kurbanali and Temimdar Muhit are used for art classes as well as religious education. It is planned to build a large and rich Islamic studies library in the middle area where these classes are opened.
Tokyo Camii and Diyanet Turkish Culture Center is a monument to which many people have contributed since the day it was built. Even today, it is a place where many people of all ages and nationalities come together, meet and socialise. Tokyo Camii and Diyanet Turkish Culture Center has an environment where people can both worship, learn and establish social relations. It continues to exist as a good example that conveys the message that religion and the world are intertwined in the essence of Islam.