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Japan's Perception of Jews and Israel

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Publication Date: January 1986

Publisher(s): Jewish Agency for Israel

Author(s): Akifumi Ikeda

Series: Forum: on the Jewish People, Zionism and Israel, No. 59 (Summer 1986)

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: Antisemitism; History; Anti-Israel Sentiment; Community Relations

Type: Other


The author traces Japan's perception of Jews and Israel from the late 19th century until the 1980s. He contends that Japan's perception of Jews was originally a product of importation and translation. For example, Jews were associated with usurers, misers and dishonest merchants after the introduction of William Shakespeare's the Merchant of Venice in 1877. The author explains the shifting viewpoints of the Japanese "quasi-intelligentsia" toward Israel and the Jewish people in the pre- and post-Holocaust eras. He concludes by outlining the views of Itagaki Yuuzo, a professor in International Relations and Middle East studies at Tokyo University, and explains and refutes Itagaki's belief in the "anti-Semitic nature of Zionism."