Embassy of Japan in Nepal

People's Exchanges

The 100th Anniversary of Nepali Students in Japan


Student Diary

The students were asked by the Prime Minister's office to send regular progress reports. Accordingly they sent reports about their studies and even recorded a monthly statement of accounts, bank transactions, etc. Some of the extracts from the records maintained by the students are as follows:

"Fuji Boeki Goshi Kaisha stood as guarantor for the students as required by the University regulation. By studying Japanese in the last few months we have been able to speak common words and carry on simple conversation but not enough to understand lectures of the professors. The standards of science subjects, Physics, Chemistry, Math, etc. are very high. Professors dictate lecture notes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily in Japanese language and the students depend entirely on those notes. The notes are so complete and extensive that the students need seldom consult printed books."

"The Professors of the Department of Arms Technology speak French instead of English. The professors of Technology of explosives, and arms, are military officers. French and German are used in higher studies... so if we could hire teacher or translator, with your permission (permission from Prime Minister Office of Nepal) it will be easier for us. We will try to get a teacher with reasonable salary".

The Japanese classmates used to help translating class notes and also extend cooperation when necessary, according to the diary notes.

The students also informed the authorities in Nepal that they had employed a full time language teacher at 100 per month, when all of them were living together. The teacher introduced by the Fuji Boeki Co. used to live together with the students. The purpose of this kind of arrangement was to learn Japanese customs, manners, etiquette and other essential knowledge about the Japanese society besides the language, according to the diary.

Available note books left by the students show that they maintained detailed statement of expenditures such as expenses from Birgunj (Nepal) to Bombay and from there to the final destination, Yokohama. They were required to keep all records including the supply of provisions. Fuji Boyeki Goshi Kaisha, Yokohama supplied all groceries regularly. They used Riksha as means of transport. A doctor was also engaged at 600 per anum to visit all the houses where the students lived. Jang Narsingh, Bal Narsingh and Hem Bahadur went to Osaka for practical training on arms and explosive making, Bichar Man went to Kyoto for silk reaming training, Deep Narsingh and others also went to different districts of Japan on the training programme.

At one time, officials of Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher were worried about the conflicting news sent by the students and the guide, Swami Giri. The guide wrote that the students should be sent to America, as their study was not satisfactory in Japan. On the other hand, the students wrote that the guide, Swami Giri, indulged in misconduct that was uncalled for. He had become alcoholic and used to speak at random. "This also affects us because he has come here as our guardian deputed by the Nepal government. To mention a few, among others, he eats meat, etc. We told him to refrain from all these. His reply was that "caste" had been lost the day the ship was boarded; the "caste" will return after you go back to Nepal; you too can eat, there is no harm in this, etc..." Swami is sick and needs medical treatment. He refused to take medicine when we advised him and on the contrary started doubting us unnecessarily.

Harigopal Banerji, Superintendent of the Foreign Department of the Prime Ministers Office wrote to Mr.Hayashi, Consul General of Japan in Bombay, requesting him to send progress reports of the Nepali students in Japan. The Consul General forwarded the letter of October 10, 1903 to the Foreign Ministry of Japan according to the Diplomatic Records Office, Tokyo. In 1903 Chandra Shumsher happened to meet Rev. Kawaguchi9 from Japan. During his conversation with Rev. Kawaguchi, Chandra Shumsher asked him on his return to Japan to write about the condition of Nepali students stay and study in Japan. At the same time Rev. Kawaguchi had sought an interview with Chandra Shumsher to get a letter of recommendation to the Dalai Lama of Tibet to release his friends who were imprisoned for having links with foreigners. He felt a moral obligation to rescue them from the prison. At first he sought help from the Chinese government, but gave it up, as the Tibetan government did not like any diplomatic interference from China. Tibet was much feared by the Nepalese, so he thought he might have more success if he could approach the Nepali government. Kawaguchi felt that Nepal had much trust in Japan as she sent many Nepali students to Japan for study. So he decided to approach the Nepali government. Later on the Tibetans were released from the prison at the request of the Nepali Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher.

Rev. Ekai Kawaguchi was a Buddhist scholar of Japan who had visited Kathmandu four times (1899, 1903, 1905 & 1913) in connection with his research and studies on Buddhism. The first visit was on his way to Tibet.

Incidentally he was the first Japanese national to visit Nepal.10

According to Rev. Kawaguchi's Report the eight students and the seventeen attendants were staying in Tokyo comfortably. The attendants were learning different handicrafts. The Japanese teachers were satisfied with the students and were even considering higher training. But the Japanese government felt somewhat uncomfortable as the British Legation maintained vigilance over the activities of the students. The students were taken to the government ammunition factory in Osaka for practical training. The guide was said to be addicted to wine. On the basis of the report of Rev. Kawaguchi the guide was called back to Nepal.

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