Embassy of Japan in Nepal

People's Exchanges

The 100th Anniversary of Nepali Students in Japan

October 1, 2002

Speech by H. E. Mr. Zenji Kaminaga, Ambassador of Japan on the Occasion of the Commemorative Ceremony of the 100th Anniversary of First Nepali Students in Japan and Demonstration of Tea Ceremony September 27, 2002

Rt. Honourable Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister of Nepal and Madam Deuba,
Honourable Ministers,
Grand Master of Tea Ceremony Mr. Jochi Yabunouchi,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all this evening at my residence to celebrate the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Nepali Students to Japan with Demonstration of Tea Ceremony which represents true tradition of Japan.

We are extremely honoured by the kind and generous presence of Rt. Honourable Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister and Madame Deuba whose attendance really graces this 100th anniversary event.This year marks the centenary of dispatch to and arrival of the Nepali students in Japan. It was Nepal's first effort at state level to bring knowledge and technology from overseas country in a bid to modernize the country in the beginning of the 20th century.

It is a matter of delight for us to learn that the Government of Nepal had chosen my country as the first destination of students abroad for the higher education. Japan has a history of receiving foreign students since Meiji era when Nepalese students were there. These eight Nepali students were all accepted by our Government and entered respective universities. In this way they might be the first government sponsored foreign students in Japan.

I believe that leaders of Nepal and Japan had the vision of sharing the common values of Asia in their aesthetic qualities, ideology and their attitude of compassion which made it possible to send and receive these students. In this context, the remarkable decision of the leaders at that time and pioneer students' role and activities were the good example of reflection of the time and of shared thoughts of common Asian values.

Now may I introduce those descendants of the eight pioneer Nepali students: (May I ask them to stand up.) I believe they are proud of their respectable ancestors who truly did wonderful pioneer jobs and duties in contributing to the development of Nepal. (Thank you and please sit down.)

Although Japan and Nepal physically remained distant till the middle of 20th century, bond of spiritual link existed since the days of introduction of Buddhism to Japan in 6th century. In this sense, Japan and Nepal have shared the common spiritual, religious, philosophical values for a long long time.

Today you can witness a glimpse of the Tea Ceremony demonstration. I am grateful to the Grand Master of Tea Ceremony Mr. Jochi Yabunouchi who has come here with his delegation to participate in this historical ceremony. This Tea Ceremony which is really pertinent to this auspicious ceremony of the 100th anniversary is performed on special occasion such as this happy celebration. This unique art and culture demonstrates spiritual aspect of Japanese people and stresses harmony and coexistence with nature and the unity of the individual and nature. Many experts believe Tea Ceremony as living philosophy.

The Yabunouchi school enjoys 400 years of long traditional Tea School originated since the very beginning of Tea Ceremony history of Japan and is one of the 4 major Tea Schools. Taking this opportunity, may I introduce and express my hearty gratitude to those people: Grand Master Yabunouchi, his wife, junior Grand Master and its delegation.

Soon after the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, Japan had extended cooperation in the field of human resources development of Nepal and number of Nepali youths going to Japan have been steadily increasing both under government and non-government programmes. I am glad to know that over 60% of the Japan- returned Nepali-students are enjoying in the teaching profession in Nepal. This obviously helps develop the human resources and skilled manpower required here.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Mr. Harendra B. Barua of the Embassy who devoted himself in making ardent research of tracing the life of 8 students after their returning home and finally edited it in a book entitled "Pioneer Nepali Students in Japan: a Century Ago." The book is actually timely souvenir and a good memory of this anniversary.

I hope you all can enjoy tonight's event including a taste of Japanese buffet dinner.
Thank you.

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