Religionization at Margins in Insular Southeast Asia: Introducing Recent Southeast Asian Studies in Japan
Date : 20 Mar 2018
Time : 10:30 - 13:00
Venue : Asia Research Institute, Seminar Room
AS8 Level 4, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260
National University of Singapore @ KRC

Jointly organized by Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore; International Program of Collaborative Research, CSEAS, Kyoto University; JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 17K18533; and Asian Cultures Research Institute, Toyo University, Japan.



Dr Amelia Fauzia, National University of Singapore


Assoc Prof Kazufumi Nagatsu | Toyo University, Japan, and National University of Singapore



Islamization Compared: Processes of Becoming "Pious Bajau" in Malaysia and Indonesia
Assoc Prof Kazufumi Nagatsu | Toyo University, Japan, and National University of Singapore

To Become “Christian Bajau”: The Sama Dilaut’s Conversion to Pentecostal Christianity in Davao City, Philippines, 1997-2005
Prof Waka Aoyama | University of Tokyo, Japan

Calabai and "Bissu" among the Bugis: Their Role as a Cultural Performer
Prof Makoto Ito | Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan


Prof Leonard Y. Andaya | University of Hawaii, USA, and National University of Singapore






This seminar aims at introducing recent Southeast Asian studies in Japan focusing on the religionization of marginalized peoples, such as minorities or peoples in the peripheries in Insular Southeast Asia. In the last few decades, the national religious authorities have shaped public affairs and deeply intervened in the every-day religious lives in Malaysia and Indonesia, while global non-governmental missionaries have extended their outreach activities to the least visited communities in the Philippines and Indonesia. Experiencing these modern religionization process, religious life of the marginalized peoples has changed more drastically than that of the mainstream societies. The reason is that the religious order of the modern nation-states or global missionaries is configured on the basis of the ideals, values and concepts of the mainstream societies which are often far different from those of the marginalized peoples. How have such marginalized peoples reorganized their religious lives in the religionization process? This general question will be addressed in the following three presentations in this seminar: Islamization of the Bajau in Sabah, Malaysia and eastern Indonesia; Christianization of the Sama Dilaut/Bajau in Mindanao, the Philippines; and cultural reorientation of “Bissu” or androgynous priests among the Bugis, in South Sulawesi, Indonesia.


Kazufumi Nagatsu is an Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at School of Sociology, Toyo University. He received his PhD in Area Studies from Kyoto University and is a co-editor of several books, including Global Studies from People’s Perspectives: In Search of Philosophy and Practice of Co-existence (2016, Sophia University Press, written in Japanese) and A Social History of Development: Dynamics of Gender, Minority and Periphery in Southeast Asia, (2010, Fukyosha, written in Japanese). His current research concerns the ethnogenesis and Islamization of the “sea people”, the Bajau in particular, in insular Southeast Asia. Since 1995, he has conducted fieldwork in more than fifty Bajau villages in southern Philippines, Sabah, Malaysia and eastern Indonesia.

Waka Aoyama is a Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of Tokyo, Japan. She received her PhD in Economics from the University of Tokyo, and is the author of An Ethnography of Poverty: Socioeconomic Life of Five Sama Families in Davao City, Philippines (2006, University of Tokyo Press, written in Japanese). The book earned academic awards including the 8th Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Prize. Her research interest is in understanding the interactions of institutions and agency in the adaptive process of cultural minorities to the globalized market society. She has been making multiple visits to Sama-Bajau communities in Davao (Mindanao, Philippines) since 1997 as well as to an Ainu community in Biratori (Hokkaido, Japan) since 2009.

Makoto Ito is a Professor Emeritus of Social Anthropology, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan. He received his PhD in Social Anthropology from Tokyo Metropolitan University and is the author of social anthropological articles including "Peranakanization, Indonesianization, and Cultural Citizenship among the Ethnic Chinese in an Indonesian Town: The Case of Makassar", in Urbanization and Formation of Ethnicity in Southeast Asia, edited by Toh Goda (2009, New Day Publishers) and “The Nature of Bugis Migration and their Networks”, in Making of Multi-Cultural Sabah, edited by Koji Miyazaki (2002, Tokyo University of Foreign of Studies). He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork among the Bugis communities in South Sulawesi and many other provinces, Indonesia, and in Sabah Malaysia since 1980 as well as among the migrant Indonesian workers in Hong Kong and Japan since 2005.

Leonard Y. Andaya is a Professor of Southeast Asian history, University of Hawaii / Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. He received his PhD from Cornell University and has written extensively on the early modern period, particularly of Indonesia and Malaysia. His most recent publications are Leaves of the Same Tree: Trade and Ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008); A History of Early Modern Southeast Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015 / with Barbara W. Andaya); and A History of Malaysia, Third Edition (London: Palgrave, 2017 / with Barbara W. Andaya). He is currently writing a history of eastern Indonesia in the early modern period.


Admission is free. We would greatly appreciate if you click on the "Register" button above to RSVP.

Contact Person(s)
Minghua TAY