Preserving Javanese identity and cultural heritage in Malaysia

Linda Sunarti, Teuku Reza Fadeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This research traces the diaspora of the Javanese and their cultural heritage and examines their adaptation to Malaysian society. The disputes that occurred in the last ten years between Indonesia and Malaysia draw massive attention. The claims of culture between the two countries have often led to tensions between them. Disputes have generally been triggered by the Malaysian government’s claims against several Indonesian cultural heritage such as kuda kepang, barongan, reog, and batik. The study employs a historical approach using qualitative data obtained through scholarly studies and sources such as archives, documents, newspapers, books, and interviews with individuals in Indonesia and Malaysia combined with scholarly research. The paper outlines the migration of Javanese people to Malaysia and discusses various elements of their culture—including music, dance forms, puppet theatre, foods and medicinal herbs, and the batik method of dyeing textiles—that they introduced into Malaysian culture. This paper re-examines the case of contemporary Malaysian society and how they negotiate their identity, paying particular attention to the Javanese Malay. This paper argues that the Javanese-Malay are the main actors who actively preserve Javanese cultural heritage in Malaysia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1956068
JournalCogent Arts and Humanities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • cultural heritage
  • diaspora
  • identity
  • Javanese
  • Malay


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