We started in the early 1980s as
a small group of Bengalis from India, living in an around Tokyo. Although
exchanges between India and Japan are said to have started in the 6th century
when Buddhism was introduced in Japan, even in the 1980s there were very few
Indians living in Japan as the volume of trade and other exchanges between Japan
and India was minuscule compared to other countries. Although only a few in
number, we wanted to celebrate our heritage quietly - engaging in activities
compatible to Japanese way of doing things. Some Japanese who were our neighbors
and had some exposure to India got gradually acquainted with our way of living
in carrying on our heritage within the confines of the Japanese social norms.
With the help of such individuals many of whom are no more, we slowly embarked
on organizing events that we continue even today and share our joy on such
occasions with a much larger audience of Indians and Japanese.
The first such event was Saraswati Puja that we started in 1981. Most of the
families having school-age children and some of us being students in
Universities, it was a natural fit for the small community back then. We started
the Durga Puja in 1990, our biggest event these days, which continues to draw
big crowds of Indians and Japanese. Since Durga Puja in 1997, we have been
publishing the literary journal ‘Anjali’, wherein our local talents young and
old as well as our friends abroad share their literary brilliance, making the
occasion even more celebratory and joyous. We also actively take part in other
activities, such as Bengali New Year celebrations, Rabindranath Tagore’s
birthday celebrations and various other India related events organized by the
Embassy of India and other India-Japan cultural exchange organizations.
True to our humble roots, we remain a close-knit informal group that enjoys
celebrating the heritage through simple gatherings whenever our daily busy life
in Japan permits. You are always welcome to join us if you want to take part in
celebrating the heritage with us, here in Tokyo.