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Culture

Indians would be proud to know that a town in Japan is named after Hindu goddess Lakshmi

It is not an exaggeration if I say “without Indian influence, Japanese culture would not be what it is today”. From ancient India to the times of freedom struggle, Japan was India’s all weather friend just like Israel and had helped India dauntlessly even when other nations had pressurized it. The best example is of how Japan had lent support to Netaji Bose during the freedom struggle.

Subhas Chandra Bose had used Japanese sponsorship to chase away the British from India. It should also be noted that the Japanese Government had built, supported and controlled the Indian National Army and the Indian Independence League. Prior to Independence, Nehru had pledged to handover Netaji Bose to India’s enemies if caught alive, but Japan proved to be a legend by backing India’s revolutionary fighter who sent shivers down the spines of British.

Now there is yet another reason to celebrate the Indo-Japan relationship. Yes, there is a town in Japan which is named after Goddess Lakshmi.

Earlier this month, Takayuki Kitagawa who is the Consul General of Japan said, “Kichijoi, a town near Tokyo in Japan, was named after Hindu goddess Lakshmi, consort of Hindu god Vishnu”.

Takayuki Kitagawa went on to say “You will be surprised to know that the town near Tokyo has its origin from Lakshmi temple. Kichioji means Lakshmi temple in Japanese. There are many more Hindu gods who are revered in the Land of the Rising Sun. For ages, we have been praying to Hindu gods”.

A scholar had once said around 500 Japanese words had their roots in Sanskrit and Tamil. This was reiterated by the Consul General of Japan as he said Japanese language was influenced by Indian languages. “For instance, Japanese dish sushi is made of rice and vinegar. Sushi is also associated with shari, which is from Sanskrit word ‘zaali’, meaning rice” he added.

He continued saying “It is not just the Indian culture, but even Indian languages had a great influence on our language and tradition of worship”. Consul General of Japan added, “as there is a great demand for skilled professionals in Japan, knowledge of its language will help Indian graduates find jobs in the land of rising sun” and revealed that there is a scope for employment generation.

Not just respecting Indian culture but Japan has even preserved ancient Indian culture. You’ll be astonished to see that we can find things related to India in Japan that are extinct in our own country. Yes, the 6th-century script of seed syllables or beejaksharas of Sanskrit which is in Siddham are extinct from India. But these are considered holy in Japan.

Sidddham, 5th century Sanskrit script, Gokokuji, Tokyo. On Japanese tombs you find the Sanskrit alphabet. The Japanese cannot read this alphabet but still use it to respect the dead. The 5th century Siddham script, which has disappeared in India, is still in use in Japan. At Koyasan, they still have a school where Sanskrit is taught with Siddham. Photo credit: Benoy K Behl

Source: India Today

The Better India


Hansika Raj

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