1 in 13 million – The only native Japanese Imam in Tokyo (UPDATED)

*Updated with NEW film documentary for VICE Japan – see end of post*

Population of Japan – 127,000,000
Population of Tokyo – 13,000,000
No. of Muslims in Japan (estimate) – 100,000
No. of Japanese Muslims (estimate) – 10,000
No. who converted to Islam NOT for marriage(estimate) – 2 or 300
No. of Japanese Imam’s in Japan – 5
No. of Japanese Imam’s in Tokyo – 1

Abdullah Taqy is the only Japanese Imam in Tokyo.

A chance meeting with a foreign Muslim 12 years ago in Tokyo’s Shibuya district and a life spent studying various religions led him to convert to Islam 3½ years ago.
He completed the Hajj, the worlds largest annual religious pilgrimage, to Mecca in Saudi Arabia 2½ years ago at the invitation of the Saudi Arabian government.
Shortly after, a meeting with the man who started him down his path to Islam 12 years previously led him to becoming the Imam at a small mosque in the Kabukicho area of Tokyo.

His day job for the past 20 years has been as a tattooist and body piercer.

He is soft-spoken and exudes a calmness and friendliness that one cannot help being affected by.

He is truly, 1 in 13 million.

Photography, Audio & Editing – Uchujin/Adrian Storey

I am very pleased to announce that some of the photographs from this photofilm and the photofilm itself are available for licencing through Redux PicturesHERE


This project is the culmination of several months of work and religious freedom is a topic I personally feel very strongly about.
The news last year of the Tokyo Police’s leaking of data on to the internet about Muslim residents (Japantimes link) and Abdullah’s own questioning by the Police because of his religion highlight that Muslims all over the world face persecution and prejudice.
Part of my intention in making this photofilm/documentary was to highlight the absurdity of these prejudices.


*UPDATE December 2012*

I am pleased to add my new short film documentary about Abdullah, shot in Novemeber 2012 for VICE Japan almost 2 years after the original film was made.
I hope you enjoy it!!!

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10 comments for “1 in 13 million – The only native Japanese Imam in Tokyo (UPDATED)

  1. January 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    The world needs more people like him. And like you…

  2. February 25, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Great shots of a good man. Good to see this coming to light. Abdullah Taqy is brave for taking on the mores and norms of Japanese society by merely living as he wishes, as are you for your unabashed coverage of any and all things worth notice in the face of maintaining the status quo. Bravo.

  3. A Gul
    March 15, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    SubhanAllah. May Allah give the highest level of iman to all the muslims.

    March 16, 2011 at 5:11 am

    This is amazaing Islam touches the hearts of good people.

  5. khalid
    March 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I always believed that when the Japanese people come to Islam they will become the greatest nation in our times and that is not difficult for them because a lots of there actions are basic in Islam

  6. Kaizer
    May 9, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Amazing stuff and astonishing story-telling video!

  7. Kaizer
    August 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    You both a great man.

  8. Anonymous
    August 21, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Thnaks for making this, its really bought up some really strange questions about what has happened in my life over the last year. Im really quite confused as ima sufi and tattoo culture has intervened in my life in a destructive way.
    Can i contact the imam ?i need to resolve this.

  9. S H
    January 9, 2014 at 10:50 am

    you should check out the work of these people I am sure it will help you find balance : http://vimeo.com/taleefcollective

  10. Dyana
    November 28, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Hi! love what you have here about Imam Taqy.
    I’ve been searching for Imam Taqy’s pierce/tattoo studio but to no avail since my time in Tokyo is always limited (I live in Hokkaido). Can I know what’s his studio called? If you don’t mind.

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