Reminiscing about Indo-Japan relations

HISTORY LESSON

The Indo-Japan relation is so old that its genesis can be dated back to the Meiji Period (1868-1912) to the present era. It is to trace the history of Indo-Japan relationship and celebrate the year that marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, that a photography exhibition is being showcased by the Japan-India Association (established in 1903).

The displayed photographs show that the history of relationship dates back to when Buddhism began in India and began its spread across the world and Japan was one of the first countries to adopt it. The world maps and pictures of Buddha begin this exhibition which is followed by stills from the 20th century where many Indian VIPs visited Japan and vice-versa.

A photograph showing Maharaja of Baroda visiting Japan in 1910 has a royal touch whereas the photograph showing Rabindranath Tagore visiting Tokyo in 1929 is memorable.

There are also photographs of merchants when trading was made official between the two countries when the port of Yokohama was opened in 1859 and wall paintings on the life of Gautam Siddhartha at Mulagandhakuti Vihara Temple in Sarnath, drawn by a Japanese artist, Kosetsu Nosu who spent four years drawing them. There are also photographs of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and INA in Japan.

The most interesting photograph however, is the one titled ‘Indira Travelling on a ‘Mobile Zoo’ (Year 1950)’. Its description informs that the disappearance of elephants from Japanese zoos during the War disappointed many Japanese children.

Thus, then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru donated in 1947, a baby elephant “Indira” named after his beloved daughter, to Ueno Zoo.

Indira visited 17 cities with a special wagon and the total number of visitors were well over 2.4 million.

This photograph taken by Takeo Shimura shows welcoming of Indira by people in Niigata City and is sourced from Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

Another masterpiece is a photograph which captures the moments of welcoming of the crown Prince and Princess of Japan in 1960.

Prerna Anandhram, a student of History at Jesus and Mary College shares that is the picture that she liked the most and adds, “The black and white pictures really take you back to the time of history. Also, the description with the images is extremely informative and keeps one captivated.”

The story of Indo-Japan relations will be carried on in Part 2 of the exhibition which will be on display at the gallery of Japan Foundation till September 29.

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