|Lecture: “Multidimensional Understanding of Islam—the Dialogue with Muslims in Indonesia”
|Prof. Kato is a professor at the Graduate School of Policy Studies at Chuo University in Tokyo. His specialties are
Anthropology of Religion and Society and Comparative Civilizations.
Prof. Kato graduated from Hosei University in Tokyo and obtained his
Ph.D. from the University of Sydney in Australia. He has taught at
several universities, including the National University of Indonesia,
and De La Salle University in the Philippines. In 2012, Prof. Kato
received the Toynbee-Talbutt Award from the International Society for the Comparative Study of
Civilizations. He is currently serving as vice
president of the International Society for the Comparative Study of
In his lecture, Prof. Kato touched upon the notions of “fact” and
“truth,” and explained that fact is visible while truth is concealed
and invisible. He remarked that a multidimensional understanding of
Islam means to understand the hidden truth. With this attitude, he
says, we can realize a sustainable future that includes religions.
Prof. Kato further mentioned the controversial issue of drawing
caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were published in a French
magazine and that spread prejudice towards Muslims across the world. He
emphasized the necessity of seeking a balance between freedom of
expression and the dignity of religious beliefs.
He also described the original meaning of the Five Pillars of Islam and
The Six articles of Faith in Islam, and clarified the notion of Jihad.
He commented that the meaning of Jihad is often misunderstood and that
there are two types of Jihad. One is a lesser Jihad, which indicates
physical conflict, and the other is a greater Jihad, meaning the
spiritual struggle of becoming a better Muslim. “People often have a
stereotypical image of Islam, but Muslims are taught to respect
believers of other religions as well,” he said.
Prof. Kato added that there are Muslims who strictly follow their
religious principles, while others prefer flexible interpretations that
accommodate a changing reality, and stressed the significance of
correctly understanding the multidimensional reality of being Muslim.
He concluded that “In doing so, we can seek the path to coexistence and
realize a sustainable future.”
The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP)
Lecturer: Professor Hisanori Kato (Professor, Chuo University)
Venue: TKP Ichigaya Conference Center (Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo)
Date: October 3, 2016