About Us

Hello Everybody!!
We are Anindya & Pratyay, Japanese Language teachers and translators. Presently we are teaching at a Japanese Language Learning Centre in our hometown, Kolkata-India.

The most interesting part of language learning is experiencing another culture. For, Language does not exist apart from culture, that is, the socially inherited assemblage of practices and beliefs that determines the texture of our life. The study of Japanese language offers unique insights into Japan’s fascinating national culture, which boasts a rich heritage in the fields of native craftsmanship, performance art, visual art, music, film and graphic design. Anyone who can see and feel the beauty of the Japanese Language and culture can improve her/his cultural understanding and international awareness. It also helps one to gain an enhanced perspective of one’s own language and culture.

Through this Blog we would like to offer and share our knowledge and exchange our views & ideas with you all on Japanese language and culture. Let’s expand our possibilities both professionally and personally by learning Japanese.

If you have any query regarding translation or interpretation from Japanese to English or vice versa,
please feel free to contact us.....
letter2anindya@gmail.com or pratyajayaditya@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Remembering Professor Kazuo Azuma


Eminent Indologist and a lifelong devotee of Tagore passed away last month. Following is a write up, in remembrance of his immeasurable contribution to our life. Please visit this link:



Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rabindra Follower Azuma Passed Away

Professor Kazuo Azuma, the eminent Indologist and Japanese Tagore scholar passed away on 28th July, this year, at his birth place Ichikawea town near Tokyo in Japan. He was 80. The death of this legendary Professor ends an era in the field of Japan-Bengal cultural relation.

Memorial Function

Professor Azuma was born on 14 August in 1931. He obtained his Masters in Japanese language and literature from Tokyo University and in Indian Philosophy in 1959. Besides, he learned German Language and Literature. Later, he received D.Lit. (Honoris Causa) on Tagore Studies, from the Rabindra-Bharati University, Calcutta, in 1986.

Kazuo Azuma had a long teaching career in Japan. He started as a professor at Yokohama Public University. He also taught at Waseda University (1972-74) and Tsukuba University (1974-78 as an associate professor & 1978 -1991 as a professor). Afterwards, he went to Reitaku University. He also became professor emeritus of Reitaku University and University of Tsukuba.

Shantiniketan

Prof. Azuma came to Shantiniketan 1967 and served at Visva Bharati as a Reader and Head of the Department of Japanese language and literature from 1967 to 1971. He shaped the Japanese department there. Though he returned to Japan in 1971, his admiration for Tagore impelled him to keep constant touch with the people of Bengal. Shantiniketan was his second home.

Azuma spent most of his life studying Tagore and spreading awareness about the Nobel laureate's works in Japan. His fascination with Rabindranath started in his early life when he read Rabindranath’s Gitanjali, Dakghor, Raktakarabi in Japanese translated from English and got attracted to his writings. Later on, he started reading the English translations of Rabindranath too.

A class is going on under the tree in Shantiniketan

Driven by this admiration, maverick Azuma decided to leave behind a promising career and came to Visva-Bharati as a teacher of Japanese Language and Literature and spent more than two and a half year. This had cost him his permanent job at Yokohoma National University as a teacher of German Language, when he went back Japan in 1971. Both Azuma and wife then began working at NHK-Japan Radio on part time basis. But he stayed immersed in the fathomless waters of Rabindranath and was dedicated to spread Tagore culture in Japan. In his opinion, Tagore was not only for Bengalees, but for the entire world. Japanese reverence for Tagore is like Goutam Buddha. These two noble persons enriched the cultural and spiritual fields of Japan.

Professor Azuma’s biggest contribution lies in bringing out Japanese translated version of Tagore’s works. He was the man behind the translation of Tagore’s complete works directly from Bengali into Japanese which he started in 1973 with a team of Japanese scholars. The work in 12 volumes was published over 20 years by Daisanbummei Publications. Prof. Azuma led this very complicated and serious work with much skill.

Nippon Bhavan

Professor Azuma took a great initiative in establishing Nippon Bhavan in Shantiniketan, the centre for Japanese studies. Tagore had a dream to set up a Nippon Bhaban, devoted to the studies of Japanese, like the China Bhaban at Santiniketan. He had requested Tsusho Byodo (1903-93) of Tokyo Imperial University who was studying Indology at the Visva-Bharati then, to take initiative for it. But World War II started soon after and plans went haywire. Professor Azuma contacted Professor Byodo after returning to Japan in 1971 and the ‘Association for Establishing Nippon Bhaban’ was established in July, 1989. Professor Biyedo became the President, while Kazuo Azuma (1931-2011) became the General Secretary. Two years later Tsusho Byodo laid the founding stone in Shantiniketan. After the hard work of five years, finally Tagore’s dream came true when it was formally inaugurated on 3 February in 1994 by the then Vise President of India, Dr. K. R. Narayanan. The Ambassador of Japan to India and many noted teachers and personalities were also present. Nippan Bhaban came to light because of Kazuo Azuma’s patience and perseverance. To establish the Nippon Bhaban, he had to go through a lot of hurdles.

Library of Nippan Bhavan

Professor Azuma has also played an important role in the foundation of Bharat-Japan Cultural Centre, at Rabindra Okakura Bhavan, an Indo-Japanese cultural centre at Salt Lake in Kolkata. He contributed unreservingly.

Prime Minister of Japan Mr. Shinzo Abe inaugurating the Rabindra-Okakura Bhavan in Kolkata

Prof. Azuma played an important role in creating a condition for the proper appreciation of Rabindranath in Japan. He had authored more than fifty essays on Rabindranath. His book Rabindranath and His Thoughts is a great resource on the poet in Japanese. A greater promoter of friendship between India and Japan, Prof. Azuma translated some diaries and memoirs of Japanese scholars who had some association with Tagore and Shantiniketan. His Shitoko Harir Dinopanji is a translation of the diary of Shitoku Hari, the first Japanese student of Visva-Bharati. This and Kampo Arai er Dinopanji, the diary of the eminent painter who met Abanindranath Tagore and exchanged opinions and artistic views and also came to Shantiniketan and taught painting there during 1917-18; remind us about the rich history of cultural and artistic exchange among a remarkable group of intellectuals and artists of Japan and Bengal. His Ujjol Surjo and Prosongo Rabindranath o Japan are the rich stores of anecdotes and information. Japana O Rabindranatha, satabarshera Binimaya also gained much appreciation.

Rabindra-Okakura Bhavan

Prof. Azuma was conferred many degrees, titles and honours in his life. He was the recipient of the highest honour of Visva-Bharati - 'Deshikottam' and received the Rabindra Puraskar from the government of West Bengal. He was also conferred D. Lit by Rabindrabharati University in 1986, ‘Rabindrachyarya’ by Tagore Research Institute, Kolkata in 1989, Academic achievement Award by Eastern Institute and Indian Embassy, Tokyo in 1993, and Second time D. Lit by Lalbahadur Shastri National Sanskrit Vidyapith in 1994.

Prof. Azuma receiving the Rabindra Puroskar from Chief Minister Sri Buddhadeb Bhattacharya

Prof Azuma has been an icon in respect of Bangla language and Rabindranath. This simple man had dedicated all his life and energy only for the cause of understanding and admiring Bengalee culture & literature. And lion's share of that life’s journey was occupied by Tagore.


We would like to express our heartfelt love and reverence to this lifelong devotee of Tagore and his literature.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tagore and the introduction of Jujutsu in Shantiniketan


Tagore's association with Japan and her people is well known. Apart from paying visit to Japan for quite a few times, he also had been instrumental in the introduction of the study of Japanese language and culture. He had brought teachers, artists and judo-instructors from Japan for this purpose. This year being the bard's 150th birth anniversary, the School of Language, Jadavpur University and Sakura Academy, a language school organized a seminar on Tagore and his association with Japan. The seminar gave me an opportunity to read out a paper entitled as, 'Tagore and the introduction of Jujutsu in Shantiniketan '. Later on the essay was published in the English daily, 'The Independent' on 24th June, 2011.



Saturday, June 25, 2011

TOROKKO : Akutagawa Ryunosuke


I did this translation from Japanese to Bengali for fun & also for practice. I've been translating J -> E documents for sometime, but have always wanted to try my hand at some literary work. I chose this story because it is not copyrighted and I could post my translation on the web. This translation may still require a bit more polishing. Any suggestion in this regard would be highly appreciated.

The original Japanese text.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Japan: The New Destination for Indian Students?

Historical Perspective:
Japan and the India have had a very rich cultural, historical and academic relationship for centuries, and the admiration for Japan on the part of the Indian intelligentsia was well-known. It was Swami Vivekananda, who first c
alled the youth of India to go to Japan for higher studies. Vivekananda visited Japan on his way to America to attend the World Congress of Religions in 1893.
He was so impressed by the advancement that the Japan had made in the field of science and technology and also the development strategy undertaken by the Meiji government that his message for the young students of India was to “Look East”.


Globalization of Japanese Society:
However, until recently Japan was not a very favourite destination for
Indian students in pursuit of higher education and the number of them going to Japan for higher studies was very miniscule.
For Indian students, only one question ultimately decides their study destination. This is – “what are they expected to do after they pr
ocure a degree? What is employment prospect in the receiving country?” And Japan was not a very attractive destination from this perspective.
But times are changing. Two policies taken up by Japan in 2008 have raised the profile of international students. The first is the internationalization of education and making Japan more open-minded. The second is the promotion of highly skilled migration and fostering links between export education and permanent migration. Japan has settled upon the Framework of the
“300,000 International Students Plan”, which aims to welcome 300,000 international stud
ents by the year 2020 and to help them search for jobs after graduation and
thus to facilitate the transition to work from study. This policy will expand the flow of Indian students towards Japan and incentivise them to remain in Japan.

The stages at which the Indian students can join
The Japanese education system follows the basic 6–3–3–4 route. The higher education starts upon completion of a total of 12 years of primary education.

A foreigner in Japan can join the education system after completing 12 years of basic education in her/his own country. There are 5 types of higher educational institutions where international students can be admitted to:
  1. Colleges of Technology
  2. Professional Training Colleges
  3. Junior Colleges
  4. Universities
  5. Graduate Schools
Colleges of Technology(Technical Colleges):
These colleges offer comprehensive 5-year education programs (5 and a half year for mercantile marine).
Most international students enter the colleges of technology straight into the third year program onwards.

Most of the colleges of technology are related to the industrial field. The purpose of colleges of technology is to conduct in-depth learning in specialized disciplines and to a develop student's abilities necessary for employment.
Graduates of colleges of technology are awarded the "associate d
egree” and their rate of employment is almost 100%.
Colleges of technology also offer higher 2-year major programs. Graduates of these major programs are awarded the "bachelor's degree", upon passing the examination set by the National Institution for Academic Degrees and University Evaluation (NIAD-UE). Of late, many of the students are opting for further studies in the major programs or transfer into the universities (the third year of the university programs).

Professional Training Colleges:
Specialized training colleges offering post-secondary courses are called professional training colleges.
The special feature of the professional training colleges is the variety of courses offered according to the skill and certification required. The common fields include motor mechanics, hairdressing, architecture animation, medical care, system engineering, hotel management fashion designing, interpretati
on and the like.

Those courses usually take 2 years to complete but more than 30% of the students are taking the 3 and 4-year course. The students are awarded the “diploma” (2 years course) or “advanced diploma” (4-year course) when they complete courses recognized by the National Institution for Academic Degrees and University Evaluation (NIAD-UE). “Diploma” graduates are eligible to enter a university’s undergraduate program while “advanced diploma” graduates are eligible to enter graduate schools.
The aim at these educational institutions is to teach the know-how, technology and skills required for a profession.

Junior Colleges:
Junior colleges offer two year (3 years in the case of nursing courses, etc.) "Associate Degree". One third of junior colleges are for women only. Half of the course subjects are related to arts, home economics, education and social studies.
The purpose of junior colleges is to conduct in-depth learning and research in specialized disciplines and to develop abilities necessary for employment and daily life.

Universities:
The universities are the centres of advanced learning. University education puts emphasis on scientific principles or theoretical research and education in specialized academic disciplines.
A standard course is 4 years, but undergraduate study of medicine, dent
istry and in some cases pharmacy and veterinary science goes on for 6 years.
A student will be awarded the “bachelor’s degree” upon graduation.

Graduate Schools:
A university may also have a graduate school offering master courses (two-year standard term of study) and doctoral courses (five-year standard term
of study, four years for medicine, dentistry and veterinarian medicine) or professional degree courses (two-year standard term of study; however, depending on the field in some cases it can take between one and two years or more than three years).
Those who have completed the graduate course are awarded a master’s, or a doctorate or a professional degree.

Japanese Language Institutions:
The programs offered exclusively in English are limited. So, international students do not have adequate Japanese language proficiency, have to study Japanese before entering institutes of higher learning.
There are various Japanese language institutes for all proficiency levels, and courses of different durations. These include Japanese language schools and private universities offering special courses for international stude
nts. The study duration is from 1 to 2 years for both types.
But only a school recognised by the Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education (APJLE) is allowed to offer courses to students with a student visa (shugaku visa).
Entry Requirements
Japanese Language Skills:
Normally, lectures in Japanese higher educational institutions are conducted in Japanese. In professional training colleges, there are no courses which can be taken in English. So, following are the criteria to get admission:
  • Applicants who have received six or more months of Japanese language education at an educational institution certified by the Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education
  • Applicants who have passed level 1 or 2 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)
  • Applicants who have scored 200 or more points (combined total for reading, comprehension, and listening) in Japanese on the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)
  • Students who have scored more than 400 points in their Business Japanese Proficiency Test (BJT JLRT) conducted by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation.
However, under the “Global 30” project initiated in 2008, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology strives to make more and more programs available in English for international students. Under this project some 300 courses will be offered fully in English in 13 leading universities. One these universities, Ritsumeikan University has recently opened their overseas office in New Delhi.

So, those who have adequate Japanese language proficiency or those who are planning to take courses offered in English need not enter a Japanese language institute in Japan and can directly seek admission to the institutes of higher learning.

Other Criteria:
Professional Training Colleges, Colleges of technology & Junior Colleges: Applicants must have completed 12 years of full time school education (which includes meeting the requirement for completing secondary education) and is over 18 years old.

Universities: To enter an undergraduate program, you are required to have completed 12 years of full time education and must have reached 18 years age. You will usually be required to take the "Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students"(EJU).
Almost all national universities, about two thirds of the public universities and roughly half of the private universities use the EJU as admission criteria for international students, while the others apply their own entrance exams.

Graduate Schools: Completion of an undergraduate degree is required for acceptance onto a graduate program in Japan. Universities have their own entry requirements, and there is no standardised entrance exam as at the undergraduate level. Some universities may allow holders of undergraduate degrees to enrol on a Doctoral program, but almost exclusively you will require a Master's degree before you can enrol in a Doctoral program.

For More Information:
Higher study in Japan can no longer be dismissed simply as an option for Japanophiles. If you’re looking for quality educational institutions, for conducive learning environment, safe and friendly everyday life, Japan is the place for you.
The modern Japanese culture and society is a diverse mix of old and new, eastern and western. The students will have plenty of opportunities to sample this best of the Japanese culture & have a deep and positive impression. Everyday life will become just as meaningful as studies.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Tagore and Japan: A Retrospection" - Proceedings

As a part of the events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Rabindranath Tagore, Sakura Academy and The School of Languages, Jadavpur University held a seminar, Tagore & Japan: A Retrospection, on 22nd March, 2011. The seminar was held at the auditorium of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers, Jadavpur and was supported by theRabindranath Studies Centre, Jadavpur University.
A minute’s silence is being observed by all

Inaugural Address by Swami Vedaswarupanandji Maharaj

Introductory Remarks by Hon. Mr. Mitsuo Kawaguchi




Ms. Akiko Kubota, Hon. Vice-Consul is being felicitated by Mrs. Kazuko Nigam

Welcome Address by Prof. Supriya Chaudhuri


Keynote Address by Prof. Abhijit Mukherjee

The seminar was attended by a reasonably large cross-section of people from the academia and general enthusiasts about Japan in Kolkata. At the beginning, a minute’s silence was observed by all in remembrance of the earthquake and tsunami victims of Japan. Next, Swami Vedaswarupanandaji Maharaj of Ramakrishna Mission, GolPark, Kolkata, lit the inaugural lamp and delivered a short lecture of encouragement. Hon. Mr. Mitsutake Numahata, Deputy Consul General of Japan at Kolkata
, thanked India as a nation for expressing solidarity with Japan in these hours of crisis. Prof. Supriya Choudhuri, Director, School of Languages, Jadavpur University in her welcome address expressed her wish that the seminar would be a fruitful one to bring out new perspectives of Japan – Bengal relation that dawned with Tenshin’s visit to Kolkata.

Swami Vedaswarupanandaji Maharaj & Hon. Mr. Mitsutake Numahata

The first part of the seminar consisted of three lectures. Prof. Abhijit Mukherjee in his keynote address titled “Tagore’s First Visit to Japan – An Interpretation of Its Impact on Tagore”, threw light upon Tagore’s remarkable appreciation of Japanese culture but relative unpreparedness to grasp the political tradition and the role of Emperor, going into details of the prevailing situation in 1916 mostly as depicted in Japanese literature. Next, Prof. Nabin Kumar Panda of Dept. of East Asian Studies, Delhi University, in his speech talked about the history of the introduction of Japanese Studies in India that began with Jinnotsuke Sano, the Jujutsu teacher who started teaching in Shantiniketan in 1905. The next paper was of Dr Kyoko Niwa, her paper titled “Rabindranath Tagore and Noguchi Yonejirou” was read out in absence of her. This paper is interesting in bringing out new perspectives of the well known debate that followed between the poets Tagore and Noguchi, following the Sino-Japanese war in 1938.


News Paper Review: "Global Mail" 28.03.2o11


Dr. Satyanarayan Bhattacharya, Prof. Abhijit Mukherjee, Prof. Nabin Kumar Panda, Mr. Bipul Krishna Das, Mrs. Sumita Bhattacharjee & others

News Paper Review: "Paribartton" 26.03.2011

In the second part of the seminar five speakers presented their papers on different issues relating to Tagore’s association with Japan. The first speaker was Dr. Satyanarayan Bhattacharya, the title of his paper was, "Tagore and Japan: An Aesthetic Bond". The next speaker was Mr. Prabir Bikash Sarkar. He intended to talk about the history of Japan’s cultural tie with Bengal, and the role of Okakura Tenshin. Two more informative papers were presented by Sri Pratyay Banerjee and Sri Debanjan Ghosh respectively. The first speaker spoke of Tagore’s initiative in introducing Judo in Santiniketan. The next speaker presented a paper titled “Tagore’s Literature in Japanese Language”. The last speaker was Mrs. Suparna Chakraborty and the title of her paper was “Japan‑Jatri as a Travelogue”.

Prof. Nabin Kr. Panda

Invited Lecture by Prof. Nabin Kr. Panda

News Paper Review: "Bikeler Protidin" 05.04.2011

Tagore’s appreciation of traditional Japanese culture is well known. The poet not only visited Japan quite a few times, but also played a significant part in bringing about a new wave of cultural relation between Bengal & Japan.


Dr. Satyanarayan Bhattacharyay

Mr. Pratyay Banerjee

News Paper Review: "News Bangla" 25.03.2011

Mr. Debanjan Ghosh


Mr. Probir Bikash Sarker

However this cultural relation between undivided Bengal and Japan lost its vibrancy due to the changed perspective in the post war period. Viewed from this historical perspective this seminar turns out to be a meaningful attempt to remember a historical period that has almost passed into oblivion.


News Paper Review: "Kolkata Saradin" 05.04.2011

Mr. Bipul Krishna Das meeting the Press


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Please Pray for Japan

OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS TO ALL THE VICTIMS OF
THE DISASTER

HOPE THE LIVING ARE SAFE

HOPE THE MISSING ARE FOUND

HOPE THE DEAD ARE AT PEACE

Ambassador of India to Japan Mr. Alok Prasad, handed over relief material to Japanese State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Mr. Yutaka Banno on 16 March 2011, on behalf of the Government and people of India.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tagore and Japan: A Retrospection

A Seminar on Tagore and his association with Japan


India has a long history of cultural relations with Japan. This dates back to 1902, the year which marks a historical meeting between two great intellectuals, Tenshin Okakura and Rabindranath Tagore in Calcutta. Tenshin, the forerunner of Japan-Bangla relationship, was deeply impressed by the revivalist movement on culture and an art, going on at that time in Kolkata. It is interesting to note that, Tenshin Okakura, the eminent art scholar whose nationalistic ideals are well known, during his short stay in Kolkata came into contact with nationalist leaders of Bengal. It is said that Okakura Tenshin played a significant part in the formation of the revolutionary group ‘Anushilan Shamity’ which waged violent anti imperialist movement in Bengal.

On returning to Japan he sent two distinguished artists, Yokoyama Taikan and Shimomura Kanzan to Kolkata, where they met Rabindranath Tagore and Abonindranath Tagore and exchanged opinions and artistic views. In 1905, Jinnosuke Sano, an ex-student of Keio University came to Santiniketan. He was a Judo instructor. During his three years of stay at Santiniketan, he also taught Japanese language, apart from teaching Jujutsu.

The relation was further enhanced by the five visits of Rabindranath to Japan (1916, 1917, 1924, 1929-twice). Since then there have been an intimate and lingering cultural and artistic tie between the two countries. These encounters had brought into contact a remarkable group of intellectuals and artists of Japan and Bengal.

On the eve of Tagore’s 150th Birth Anniversary, we, Japanese language Department, Jadavpur University & Sakura Academy, wish to organize a seminar on Tagore’s visit to Japan and its lingering cultural and artistic impact on both the nations.

This seminar will include lectures and oral communications.

Venue:
Auditorium, Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers
Dr. H. L. Roy Building, Gate No: 3, Jadavpur University Campus
188, Raja S.C. Mullick Road, Kolkata – 32

Date & Hour:
March 22, 2011, 10.30 AM – 5.10 PM

Aims of the Seminar:
This seminar can do justice to a period which has almost receded into oblivious past. It is a pity that, the spirit of cultural exchange that existed between Japan and Bengal in the time of Tagore and Tenshin, was thwarted after the 2nd World War. Tagore’s association with Japanese intellectuals of his time turns out to be a forlorn chapter in our cultural history. It is therefore useful and purposeful to organize a seminar on the subject which will allow the participants to share their knowledge and understanding. We hope that, this seminar will be profitable in bringing out new perspectives of this fraternity between Bengal and Japan.

Speakers:

Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Abhijit Mukherjee
Professor & H O D, Department of Electrical Engineering, Jadavpur University & Joint Director, School of Languages, Jadavpur University
[An interpretation of the impact of his first visit to japan, on Tagore]

Other Speakers:

Dr. (Ms.) Niwa Kyoko
Professor, Tokyo Foreign Studies University
[Rabindranath Tagore and Noguchi Yonejiro]

Dr. Nabin Kumar Panda
Assistant Professor, Dept of East Asian Studies, Delhi University
[Tagore and Sano Junnosuke - a Study of Japanese Language in India]


Presentation of Papers:

Tagore and Japan: An Aesthetic Bond
by
Dr. Satyanarayan Bhattacharjee
Japan-Bangla Relation: Role of Okakura Tenshin
by
Mr. Probir Bikash Sarker

Tagore's Literature in Japanese Language
by
Mr. Debanjan Ghosh
Tagore and The Introduction of Jujutsu in Shantiniketan
by
Mr. Pratyay Banerjee, and
"Japanjatri" as a Travelogue
by
Ms. Suparna Chakraborty

Follow-up after the Seminar:
It is proposed to bring out a compendium of papers presented in the seminar.

For more information and registration
email: anindya.partha@gmail.com
phone:9903528232

Poster design: Arunabha Chakraborty