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Islam in Japan is relatively brief in relation to the religion's longstanding presence in other countries around the world. There are few and isolated records of contact between Islam and Japan before the opening of the country in 1853, although some Muslims did arrive in earlier centuries.
The first modern Muslim contacts were with Malays who served aboard British and Dutch ships in the late 19th century. In the late 1870s, the life of Prophet Muhammad was translated into Japanese. This helped Islam to find a place in the intellectual imagination of the Japanese people, but only as a part of the history of cultures.
The first Japanese to go on the Hajj was Kotaro Yamaoka. He converted to Islam, after coming into contact with Russian-born writer, Abdürreşid İbrahim, whereupon he took the name Omar Yamaoka.
Japan's first mosque was built in 1935. According to japanfocus.org, 'There are currently between 30 and 40 single-story mosques in Japan, plus another 100 or more apartment rooms set aside, in the absence of more suitable facilities, for prayers.