JANA OJANA JAPAN PART II
As in the first part 1 of the book Sarker begins his ambitious journey of retracing the link between Japan and Bengal from the time of Tenshin Okakura, an eminent writer and art critic of Japan, who came to Kolkata and met Tagore during his stay. For the writer, this union of two great mind marks the genesis of Indo Japan ties which was later strengthened by people like Subhas Bose, Rashbehari Bose and Dr. Radhabinod Pal. In this essay the author touches upon the celebrated texts written by these two writers, namely, Gitanjali by Tagore and The Book of Tea by Okakura. Another interesting prose piece is The History of the popularization of Indian Curry in Japan. We all know that Rashbehari Bose took shelter in Japan but the fact that, he was probably the pioneering one to start an Indian restaurant in Japan, is less known. This particular essay gives us an interesting recounting of how with the help of Nakamura family he started the first Indian restaurant in Japan. Sarker has given us an amiable description of how Indian food became so popular in Japan, from the time Behari Bose setup his restaurant in Japan to the present time. Another essay in this book is a tribute to Professor Kazuo Azuma, the eminent scholar and researcher of Tagore’s writing. From this essay we learn how commendable had been his efforts to establish Japanese language institutes in both the Bengals as, the Nippon Bhavan in Shantiniketan and the Okakura Bhavan in Kolkata. His other two essays on Bengal- Japan tie which have been included in this section, are those on Soka, a Japanese Magazine on Bangladesh first brought about by a Japanese writer named, Suzuki Kikuko and another essay on Japanese scholars of Bengali literature.
The essays on contemporary Japan included in this book are no less attractive. Together they constitute an informative discourse on the making of modern Japan in the last century . These include an essay on the life of a woman novelist of the 19thcentury Japan named Higuchi Ichiyo, an essay on the poetic creations of Aida Mitsuo, a prophetic poet who has written Haiku to inculcate his message to the world, another wonderful essay on the National Diet Library and finally a long essay on Tojo HideAki, the prime minister of Japan during the last war, who was sentenced to death by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Sarker’s personal view on the history of the last world war may be contradicted, but the writer’s bold criticism of the Tokyo Tribunal which turned out to be victor’s justice (a phrase coined by Dr Radhabinod Pal , the Indian judge providing a dissenting note on the tribunal ) deserves praise. Besides, the essay provides valuable information regarding the history of Japan of the last century. To conclude, there are some unconscious typing mistakes which need to be rectified. The cover page and the back covers containing photographs of great men associated with Japan have been well constructed. The book has been published by Manchitro, a publishing house of Bangladesh.