Japan might be a Buddhist majority country but it’s a melting pot of various cultures and religions from around the world, including Hinduism. Recently, Consul General of Japan, Takayuki Kitagawa spoke about the deep ties between Japan and India while attending an event in Bengaluru.
According to him, a town near Tokyo in Japan, Kichijoji, was named after Hindu goddess Lakshmi, consort of Hindu god Vishnu, as reported by IANS. “You will be surprised to know that the town near Tokyo has its origin in Lakshmi temple. Kichijoji means Lakshmi temple in Japanese,” Mr Kitagawa told students and faculty of Dayanand Sagar on their graduation day.
He spoke about the influence of India on Japanese culture and society. He said that people might think Japan and India are different, however, they are not. There are several temples in Japan which are dedicated to Hindu gods. He further added, “For ages, we have been praying to Hindu gods.”
Moreover, he also revealed that the Japanese language was influenced by Indian languages as there were many words from Sanskrit in Japanese script. “It is not just the Indian culture, but even Indian languages had a great influence on our language and tradition of worship,” added Mr Kitawaga.
He was quoted giving an example of Japanese dish sushi which is made of rice and vinegar. He said, “Sushi is also associated with shari, which is from the Sanskrit word ”zaali”, meaning rice.”
According to him, the origin of around 500 Japanese words can be traced to Sanskrit and Tamil.