Prof. Elif Erhan: "Universities in Japan show interest in Sufi texts of the Seljuk and Ottoman periods."
The 2023 chapter of the project titled 'A Comprehensive Sufi Research: Sufi Thought, Literature, Music and Rituals', which is carried out by Üsküdar University Institute for Sufi Studies in partnership with Kyoto University, Asia and Africa Field Research Institute, will be completed with the conference on August 28. Director of the Institute for Sufi Studies Prof. Elif Erhan, who made a statement about the project that started in 2022 and will last for 6 years, said that "Universities in Japan show interest in the Sufi texts of the Seljuk and Ottoman periods. They speak Old Turkish. This project is a unique opportunity for Japanese researchers to examine the Turkish commentaries in which Masnavi is explained with Fusûsu'l-Hikem and Fusûsu with Masnavi as a feature of Ottoman Sufi thought, and to get to know the Ottoman commentary tradition more closely." Stating that the program is open to everyone's participation, Erhan invited everyone to listen and evaluate the results of the project.
Üsküdar University Institute for Sufi Studies met with Japan in a joint project.
The project is supported by the Japanese Association for the Promotion of Science
Üsküdar University Institute for Sufi Studies is conducting a joint project with Kyoto University, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies (ASAFAS, Kenan Rifai Center for Sufi Studies). Prof. Yasushi Tonaga is the director of the project titled 'Comprehensive Study of Sufism: Through Metaphysics, Literature, Music and Rituals'.
The project, which will continue for 6 years, is supported by 'The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)', which funds scientific research in Japan. The first studies within the scope of the project started with the meeting held at Üsküdar University in November 2022 in Türkiye. Then, the Japanese delegation visited Konya for their studies on Mevlevi and made contacts about Mevlevi under the coordination of the International Mevlana Foundation.
Field research of the project has started
The project group, which came to Istanbul in August for 2023 field studies, includes Prof. Yasushi Tonaga, Prof. Masayuki Akahori, Prof. Nobua MisawaManami Suzuki and Azusa Fujimoto. The delegation, which made its first contacts with the President of the International Mevlana Foundation Esin Çelebi Bayru with the invitation of the Institute of Sufi Studies, started the field research program. Prof. Tonaga, Deputy Director of the Institute for Sufi Studies in the Turkish delegation of the project, Prof. Emine Yeniterzi, Prof. Reşat Öngören and Asst. Prof. Cangüzel Güner held talks with Zülfikar. Within the scope of field researches, Prof. Mim Kemal Öke and Dr. Savaş Barkçin were hosted at the meetings held at the Institute for Sufi Studies on August 20. During the meetings, the historical, sociological and cultural aspects of Anatolian lore were discussed, while Prof. Öke discussed Mevleviyeh and Dr. Barkçin also discussed the musical aspect of the subject. The studies will continue with the contributions of the Institute faculty member and IRSICA President, former Ambassador to Jakarta Prof. Mahmud Erol Kılıç and former Ambassador to the Vatican Prof. Kenan Gürsoy. In these meetings, Sufi thought and philosophy, especially the title of 'Anatolian Wisdom' will be discussed in various dimensions.
The 2023 chapter ends with the conference on August 28
The 2023 part of the project will conclude with the final conference titled 'Bridging Mystical Philosophy and Arts in Sufism: Poetry, Music and Sama' Ritual' on Monday, August 28, 2023. At this stage of the program, which is also included in the studies organized by Üsküdar University on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of Mevlana, the subject of Mevleviyeh will be discussed. In the opening session of the last conference of 2023, which will be held at Üsküdar University Main Campus Nermin Tarhan Conference Hall, Advisor to the Rector Cemalnur Sargut, a faculty member of the Institute and President of IRCICA (former Ambassador to Jakarta), Prof. Mahmud Erol Kılıç, Prof. Yasushi Tonaga from Kyoto University and Vice Rector of Üsküdar University Prof. Hikmet Koçak will take place as hosts on behalf of the University. The first session of the program will begin with a session moderated by former Ambassador to the Vatican Prof. Kenan Gürsoy, who teaches courses on "Civilization" in the doctoral program of the Institute. In the sessions, Graduate Student Petek Kutucuoğlu from the Institute for Sufi Studies presented 'Ahmed Avni Konuk's Mesnevi Commentary and the Concept of Istidat respectively; Prof. Reşat Öngören, 'Dimensions of Sufi Thought in Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi'; Deputy Director of the Institute Prof. Emine Yeniterzi, 'The Influence of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi in Turkish Sufi Literature: Stories from Mesnevi'; Prof. V. Emre Ömürlü, who is doing a second doctorate at the Institute, is the author of 'Mevlevi Responses in Mevlevi Rites, and Their Execution in Some Sects'; Asst. Prof. Dilek Güldütuna, 'Sama Rite and Seyrü Sülûk' and Asst. Prof. Member F. Cangüzel Güner Zülfikar will make the presentations on 'Mevlevîhâneler: Civilized and Civilizing Spaces'. The program will include four researchers from Japan.
The conference titled 'Towards a Comprehensive Sufi Understanding' will end with a general debate moderated by Asst. Prof. Zülfikar.
"We are pleased with the interest shown in Sufi texts by Universities in Japan."
Commenting on the project, Üsküdar University Sufi Research Institute Director Prof. Elif Erhan said that "Our joint studies with Kyoto University, which started in 2016, are growing gradually with Yasushi Tonaga's collaborations in Japan and the doctoral students he has trained. Having the grace to realize the most filtered form of Sufi thought in the geography we are in, we are also pleased with the interest shown by the universities in Japan to the Seljuk and Ottoman Sufi texts. They speak Old Turkish. Publications on these subjects that can be accessed by researchers who do not speak Turkish are not yet available. This project is a unique opportunity for Japanese researchers to examine the Turkish commentaries in which Mesnevi is annotated with Fusûsu'l-Hikem and Fusûsu with Mesnev as a feature of Ottoman Sufi thought and to get to know the Ottoman commentary tradition. In Japan, Mevlana and Mevleviyeh have not been studied much. There is Ottoman historiography. In terms of Sufi thought, world-renowned Ibn Arabi experts such as Toshihiko Izutsu have a great influence on their academic traditions. The project atmosphere offers opportunities to explore the gaps. Of course, it requires in-depth studies. Of course, this is the perspective of our Institute on the subject. The current project is a comprehensive study of Sufism; İn the first layer, the first 4 years the group of Japanese researchers conducts more social anthropological surveys, the findings contain implications in terms of history/cultural history, as well as the popular perception of Sufism in society through music, rituals and symbols. Our faculty members of the Institute of Sufi Studies are deepening the project in terms of Sufi thought, history and literature through primary sources. Our program is open to everyone interested. We invite everyone to listen to the results of the project and evaluate them together."
Participation in the conference, which will be broadcast live on Üsküdar University TV, is free of charge and simultaneous translation will be provided in Turkish and English.
Üsküdar News Agency (ÜNA)