Anwar honours Prof Toshihiko Izutsu for global impact on academia, philosophy

  • Nation
  • Friday, 24 May 2024

KUALA LUMPUR: Japanese philosopher Prof Toshihiko Izutsu, notably remembered for his achievement in translating the Quran into Japanese, has had a significant impact on the global academic and philosophical landscape, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

In a Facebook post on Fiday (May 24), Anwar said that in his speech delivered at Universiti Keio in Tokyo this morning, he had noted that Izutsu’s contributions to the intellectual, theological and philosophical fields were vast and varied, making it difficult to pinpoint his greatest achievement.

"One of Izutsu's extraordinary achievements was translating the Quran into Japanese. This is an outstanding accomplishment and evidence of his profound linguistic skills, vast knowledge and diligent commitment.

"The task of translating the Quran is very challenging due to its complex linguistic, theological, philosophical, spiritual and mystical dimensions. For Muslims, the Quran is not just a text but a divine revelation with deep layers of meaning,” he said in the post.

The Keio Times, on its website, described Izutsu, born in 1914, as a linguistic prodigy and master of more than 30 languages, a genius who bridged East and West, and best known as the translator of the Quran from Arabic into Japanese.

He studied in the Faculty of Economics at Keio University before transferring to the English Department in the Faculty of Letters. He continued as an assistant to Professor Junzaburo Nishiwaki at the same university after graduating, becoming a full professor in 1954.

He retired from Keio in 1969 and then taught at McGill University, Canada. He also worked as a professor at Iran's Royal Institute of the Study of Philosophy before returning to Japan in 1979 in the wake of the Iranian Revolution.

Izutsu died in 1993, leaving a collection of approximately 10,000 volumes in Japanese, Chinese and Western languages, including about 3,700 volumes in Arabic at his residence in Kamakura, south of Tokyo. – Bernama

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