KUMAGAI, Mizue | Center for Southeast Asian Studies Kyoto University


Research Departments・Position
Social Coexistence
Affiliated Researcher
Cultural anthropology
Research Interests / Keywords
Food, Housing, and Islam among the Uyghurs of Xinjiang, China; Pastoralism and Islam among the Persian mountain pastoralists Wakhi of Pakistan; Pastoralism and Islam among the Tibetan Muslims Balti of Pakistan


I have been exploring the meanings of various objects for different ethnic groups by looking at the connections between objects and people. I have depicted the meaning of Nan (bread) for the Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region China, and the meaning of Chai (milk tea) which is taken several times a day, the many carpeted rooms of their houses, the guests welcomed there, and the meaning of the religion Islam for the Uyghurs who migrated to Turkey.

In order to examine the meaning of Islam, I felt the need to consider the influence with pastoralism, so I visited the Wahi, a Persian mountain pastoralist tribe in Pakistan, and observed their pastoral lifestyle, where I again extracted the meaning of the religion of Islam.

Currently, I am given the opportunity to study the Islam of the Balti, Tibetan Muslims in Pakistan. The Tibetans are predominantly Buddhist, but have practiced a form of Buddhism that is deeply influenced by pre-Buddhist religions. It is very interesting to follow the fact that some of them are now Muslims. Now that I understand the framework that to follow a religion is not to substitute a conceptual "god" but to acquire an entirely different worldview and personality, I am looking for a way to translate this framework into academic language.

Key word: Names of objects, food, housing, Islam, pastoralism, livestock, and cognitive anthropology