With Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and the late Japan PM Shinzo Abe investing considerable efforts and time to strengthen the bond between the two Asian nations, this friendship can now be appreciated on the cultural domain at India International Centre.
A wide array of images showcasing a slice of life of the highly industrialised yet a tranquil island nation, architecture of monastery and much more transport visitors to Japan. Not a documentary but a range of standalone pictures are part of an exhibition titled “Japan from India’s Perspective” at IIC. This extraordinary exhibition is a part of a celebratory event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and India. The exhibition featuring kaleidscopic images of Bharatiya photographers seeks to bring the two nations even closer and generate interest among the people of India towards Japan.
Shocked and saddened by Shinzo’s assassination, Modiji described him as an an outstanding leader of Japan, a towering global statesman, and a great champion of India-Japan friendship. “He is not among us anymore. Japan and the world have lost a great visionary. And, I have lost a dear friend.”
Before leaving for Japan to attend his friend and former PM Shinzo Abe’s State funeral at Budokan, PM Modi said, “I will be conveying heartfelt condolences to Prime Minister Kishida and Mrs Abe on behalf of all Indians. We will continue working to further strengthen India-Japan relations as envisioned by Abe San.”
Sharing her valuable thoughts as guest of honour at the inauguration, Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture Meenakashi Lekhi stated that both Japan and India have ancient civilisations and that it is wonderful to see two countries that are proud of their distinct cultures share such an ancient and special bond.
Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture Meenakashi Lekhi taking a dekko at some of the exhibits. She said the two countries are proud of their distinct cultures and share such an ancient and special bond
The Minister said, “Although this year officially marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and India, the bonds between the two are centuries old.”
Encouraging people-to-people exchanges between Japan and India, Minister Lekhi described the special exhibition as a perfect example of such exchanges. Minister Lekhi appreciated the pictures on display, especially the ones depicting Japanese culture such as those of cherry blossoms and women clad in kimono, expressing that all the pictures exuded a sense of calm and serenity.
Since ancient times, India and Japan share a strong connection formed through historical bonds of culture and religion, especially Buddhism. Even in modern times, the two countries have maintained strong and friendly relations that have persevered for hundreds of years. The relationship between Japan and India is currently prospering more than ever in all the domains, including political, economic, as well as people-to-people exchanges. The photos curated for this section include visits of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan to India and visits of Prime Ministers of Japan and India, Prime Ministers’ ride on Bullet Train.
Speaking to Organiser, Amit Srivastava, winner of ‘Click! Japan Photo Contest’ in 2018, says he could not believe it when he learnt that Japan PM had been killed while he was campaigning for the upcoming elections.
The reason for his disbelief was that Japan has the lowest rate of violence in public places and Shinzo Abe was an extremely popular leader. “Also Nara is my favourite city in Japan, due to its ancient Indian connection. I was extremely upset as the events unfolded. There are transactional politicians and opportunist politicians, once in a century you have a visionary politician. He was taking Japan out of the post-World War II mentality. It upset many people but his vision was about the whole century not winning the next election.”
Pointing out that Shinzo Abe coined the term Indo-Pacific for both the US and India, Srivastava said QUAD was his vision. “He was passionate about developing India as an economic superpower for a balanced Asia. In his death India has lost its greatest benefactor outside India,” said this author-cum-entrepreneur who divides his time by working across Asia and Africa and focusing on storytelling through words and pictures in his spare time.
Familiarising With Japanese Culture
Interestingly, the Embassy of Japan in India in collaboration with India International Centre, along with the support of the Japan Foundation, Canon India and JNTO, marks the 5th anniversary of the “Click! Japan Photo Contest.” The images, suitably categorised to heighten visitors’ sense of exploration, make visitors curious about Shinto the royal religion as well as Buddhism.
Apart from Minister Meenakashi Lekhi, Kunihiko Kawazu, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in India and Kanwal Wali, Secretary of India International Centre stated the opening remarks as co-hosts.
Srivastava says. “Buddhism made a 1,000 year journey from India to Japan. “Dhyan” became Zen, which eventually became a way of life. Pictures of food give you a glimpse of “Zen” in the process of cooking and its presentation. Zen gardens showcase how meditation can be enhanced by surroundings. Train pictures showcase the technological prowess of Japan. People’s pictures give insight into the seasons and styles of Japanese people.”
Srivastava’s winning image of Kiyomizu-dera Temple (Pure Water Temple) is a 1400-year-old site showing reverence towards nature. Apart from blessing of water, This ancient temple also showcases architectural development of multiple styles through the millennia. At sunset it inspires a feeling of calm warmness. His picture highlights the beauty of the ancient temple against a bustling 21st century metropolis of Kyoto
CR Jayachandran, who has beautifully captured a survivor at the Peace Memorial, Hiroshima, says Takao Ogura was just 10 when the American B-29 bomber dropped the Little Boy on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The 82-year-old visits the Memorial every day and feeds sparrows. “He has seen it all, but still has beautiful smile, which no bomb can or could erase.”
Describing his picture of Odaiba Fireworks with colourful lights in the sky, Amarnath Kamath, another participant, says the Japanese call fireworks Hanabi (meaning fire flower). “I was particularly impressed by the spectacular fireworks held every December on Saturdays, in Odaiba. I managed to get an excellent composition of the fireworks on the top, the spectacular Rainbow Bridge in the middle and illuminated boats at the bottom.”
Sharing details of Shinkyo Bridge, Nikko, Tochigi, Ayan Sengupta says, “I was amazed by the beauty of the Shinkyo Bridge with a mixture of dwindling light from the Sun in the West, the mountains in the back and the silent flow of the Daiya River.”
The exhibition displays photographs taken by Indian travellers during their visits to Japan and submitted pictures to ‘Click! Japan Photo Contest’ over the past five years. It also has a section of selected photographs showcasing landmarks in the trajectory of our bilateral relations.
The relationship between Japan and India is currently prospering more than ever in all the domains, including political, economic, as well as people-to-people exchanges. The photos curated for this section include visits of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan to India and visits of Prime Ministers of Japan and India, Prime Ministers’ ride on Bullet Train
Vijayendranath SanampudiI saw girls wearing ornate kimonos touching beautiful Sakura in spring-age old Japanese tradition. Pink Sakura contrasted well with background greenery. Though fleeting, Sakura gives immense joy and symbolises renewal in his picture. Behind, gorgeous pillars display Kyo-Yuzen style fabric designs. At the outset, Kanwal Wali, Secretary of IIC, while delivering his opening remarks, emphasised the special connection that IIC shares with Japan, mentioning about His Royal Highness the Emperor and the Empress of Japan laid the foundation stone of the institute and later also visited IIC on their two visits to India.
Boost to Employment
This was followed by the opening remarks by Kunihiko Kawazu, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in India, who stated that promotion of people-to-people exchanges between Japan and India will encourage creation of jobs in Japan by utilising India’s excellent IT human resources and specific skills, and will boost mutual growth in all areas, including economic cooperation between the two countries. He expressed his sincere hope that the special exhibition will help many more people in India to become aware of the attractions of Japan, and that it will also encourage them to visit landscapes and places they would see in photographs, experience Japanese culture and so on, and directly experience first-hand the attractions of Japan, thereby further promoting the exchanges.