Uyghur in Japan

Uyghur
Photo Source:  EnricX - Flickr  Creative Commons 
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People Name: Uyghur
Country: Japan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,000
World Population: 12,494,300
Primary Language: Uyghur
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Uyghur
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Before 1921, the various Turkic groups in Xinjiang called themselves by the name of the oasis near their villages. When Turkic leaders met in Tashkent in 1921, they chose the name Uyghur as the mark of their identity. Uyghur means "unity" or "alliance." Uyghur is a Turkic language, related to Uzbek, Kazakh and Kirgiz. It also contains loanwords from Chinese, Arabic, Persian, Russian, and Mongolian. In the mid-eighth century, the Uyghurs inhabited part of present-day Mongolia. Around AD 840, the Kirgiz attacked from the north. They fled southwest to their current homeland in what is now China’s Xinjiang Province. Xinjiang is the border between the Chinese and the Turkic worlds. It is part of China, but the Uyghur people are Turkic in their looks, their religion and their culture. Many want to break away from China, causing violent clashes between the powerful Chinese government and Uygur separatists. Many innocent Uyghurs are victims of government violence. Some have left their homeland for safer places like Japan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Uyghurs in Japan are refugees. They are dealing with the trauma of the injustice meted out against Uyghurs in China. In Japan, those who call attention to the atrocities in China are not beyond the threats of the Chinese government. The Chinese communicate that their Uyghur family members in China can be ill-treated. Sometimes they blackmail the Uyghurs in Japan into spying for them. Some Uyghurs who have returned to China from Japan have been killed. While dealing with this stress, Uyghurs in Japan need to begin new lives, find new jobs, and learn the difficult Japanese language. The Japanese government is not in a suitable position to criticize China’s treatment of the Uyghurs because China is an important trade partner. This situation means Uyghurs in Japan are unlikely to gain protection from the Japanese government if they dare to protest.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Uyghurs follow folk Islam mixed with pre-Islamic beliefs. Today, although almost all Uyghurs confess to be Sunni Muslims. It is a central part of their identity. Their Sunni Islamic beliefs are one of the cultural elements the Chinese government wants to stamp out.

What Are Their Needs?

The Uyghurs in Japan need trauma counseling and job training. They need to learn Japanese.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to guide and protect Uyghurs in China and Japan. Pray that Uyghurs in Japan will surrender their hearts and minds to the Risen Christ. Pray for Asian believers to reach out to the Uyghurs among them. Pray for a strong disciple making movement among Uyghurs in Japan that will affect other Muslim peoples in that country.

Text Source:   Joshua Project