SDHF Newsletter No.376 Japan Awakened Asia Part 2, Chapter 1: The beginning of exchanges between Japan and Bengal
Japan Awakened Asia―A Miracle of the 20th Century
The Road to the Independence of India
―A Story to Be Passed Down to the Next Generation
Part 2, Chapter 1: The beginning of exchanges between Japan and Bengal
The relationship between Japan and India is generally said to have begun with the official introduction of Buddhism into Japan in the middle of the sixth century. Then in 752, during the consecration ceremony of the Great Buddha held at Todai-ji Temple in Nara, High Priest Bodhi Sena from South India was invited from China to lead the ceremony. Priest Bodhi Sena remained in Japan after the event and eventually passed away in Japan.
Because Bengal was fertile land, Portuguese, the Dutch, and French fought over control of the area since the 17th century onward. In the Battle of Plassey, fought in 1757, the British East India Company beat the allied French and Nawab of Bengal forces and the British East India firmly established its rule over the Bengal Region. In 1857, the Mughal Empire perished and the British East India Company practically put India under colonial control by turning over power privilege to the British monarchy. Consequently, Britain established the colonial rule over the entire India.
Calcutta in West Bengal was designated as the capital of India, as the second “London” in the British colonial policy, and became the center of politics, culture, art, education and thought in India under the British rule. From such historical background, Bengal at that time led the modernization of India and became the region that provided the theoretical basis for the formation of independence movements.
It was with this background that the leading persons who promoted Japan and India in modern times were all Bengal people as mentioned in Part 1: Vivekananda, Tagore, Behari Bose, Chandra Bose and Justice Pal. And the Japanese counterpart was of course Okakura Tenshin, who wrote Ideals of the East and Awakening of the East in English when he was staying in India.
MOTEKI Hiromichi, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact