Japan will come alive to the sounds and flavours of India September 27-28 in a cultural event, 'Namaste India', in the heart of Tokyo.
It will be organised by the India Centre Foundation, a culture forum that has been trying to promote sustainable development of the country in socio-economic, political and cultural domains.
In its 16th year, 'Namaste India', which was initiated by a Japanese Indophile in 1992, will celebrate the very best of Indian culture, cuisine, entertainment and business environments in the Yoyogi-Koen Park in Tokyo from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. over two days.
The festival will begin Sep 27 with a magic show by Ugesh Sarcar, followed by a catwalk where Japanese models will show off Indian couture. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations will present a music recital "Ladhak”.
Classical Indian dance recitals by Japanese performers Kimiko Maruhashi, Hiromi Maruhashi and Sachiyo Kubota Kaltatawa Ainu will be the highlight of the programme on the second day.
The ICCR's rock band Speech, led by Haribhatt will play live while a dance-drama, “India & Indian-I”, will feature Ayako Sakurai on the tabla and dancers from ICCR.
“The India Centre Foundation, founded in 1996 as a non-profit organisation, has been a catalyst in strengthening India-Japanese relation by building bridges at a socio-economic level, and 'Namaste India' is an attempt to celebrate India in Japan,” chairman of the foundation Vaibhav Kant Upadhyay told IANS over telephone from Tokyo.
'Namaste India' is a platform that allows people of India and Japan to interact and understand each other's rich culture. It is ultimately the people-to-people dialogue that fosters confidence in the ability to work together and strengthen bilateral ties, Upadhyay said.
The foundation, which began showcasing India through Bollywood 12 years ago, now has a permanent mission in Tokyo and Beijing. “We initially screened movies like 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge', 'Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman' and other Shah Rukh Khan starrers to acquaint the people of Japan to the cultural diversity, ethos and colours of India. After it grabbed eyeballs, we started promoting Indian culture seriously,” Upadhyay said.
The foundation, unlike other India-Japanese official initiatives, sets a theme to promote cultural exchanges, Upadhayay said. As a result, several soft economic segments like tourism and education have benefited.
Citing tourism figures, Upadhayay said while in 1996, only 50,000 visas were issued for Japanese tourists visiting India, by 2002 it shot up to 150,000, three times the number primarily because of the Indian culture road shows.
“Indian mathematics is also very popular in Japan. At least 20 books on ancient Vedic math have been authored by Japanese experts and they are taught in schools,” Upadhyay said.