Dancers in traditional costume. *Photo from Wikipedia
August 17 is Independence Day, celebrates the proclamation of Indonesia’s independence from Japan in 1945.
The earliest evidence of Islamised populations in Indonesia dates to the 13th century in northern Sumatra; other Indonesian areas gradually adopted Islam which became the dominant religion in Java and Sumatra by the end of the 16th century. For the most part, Islam overlaid and mixed with existing cultural and religious influences.
Europeans such as the Portuguese arrived in Indonesia from the 16th century seeking to monopolize the sources of valuable nutmeg, cloves, and cubeb pepper in Maluku. In 1602 the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and became the dominant European power by 1610. Following bankruptcy, the VOC was formally dissolved in 1800, and the government of the Netherlands established the Dutch East Indies under government control. By the early 20th century, Dutch dominance extended to the current boundaries.
The Japanese invasion and subsequent occupation in 1942 – 45 during WWII ended Dutch rule, and encouraged the previously suppressed Indonesian independence movement.
Two days after the surrender of Japan in August 1945, nationalist leader, Sukarno, declared independence and became president. The Netherlands tried to reestablish its rule, but a bitter armed and diplomatic struggle ended in December 1949, when in the face of international pressure, the Dutch formally recognized Indonesian independence.
Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, a unitary sovereign state and transcontinental country located mainly in Southeast Asia with some territories in Oceania. It is the world’s largest island country, with more than 17,000 islands. It is the most populous Muslim majority country.
In commemoration of the day, we introduce you to people whom we’ve met in Tokyo.
*Click a photo below to see their stories!
“What is important for us is to have a sense of contribution to Japanese society and not only for improving foreigners’ living environment.” – Elok Halimah, Vice Chairperson of foreign representatives assembly