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.
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.
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.
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.