Visva-Bharati seeks funds from Mitsubishi to upgrade Japanese education infrastructure

The Visva-Bharati has approached Mitsubishi Corporation, one of Japan’s biggest conglomerates, for funds to upgrade the infrastructure for its department of Japanese.

Updated: Sep 05, 2018 18:39:49

By HT Correspondent

Students attend an outdoor class on the Visva-Bharati campus. (Surojit Hazra/ HT file)

The Visva-Bharati has approached Mitsubishi Corporation, one of Japan’s biggest conglomerates, for funds to upgrade the infrastructure for its department of Japanese.

The registrar of the university, which has the Indian Prime Minister as its chancellor, has written to the managing director of Mitsubishi Corporation requesting the company to fund nine projects worth Rs 1.66 crore.

The projects include an array of plans from a Japanese language laboratory to a conference hall and setting up a chair for the Japanese language to a smart classroom. A gallery for a Japanese culture, a garden and a technology corner for AI-based language interaction are also on the cards.

“As the department is the only of its kind in the entire eastern region of India offering various courses on Japanese and aims at establishing itself as the first research centre for Japanese in India, the building of Nippon Bhavana that could once meet the needs, is becoming inadequate in fuelling further development,” Saugata Chattopadhyay wrote in his letter in August.

Officiating vice-chancellor Sabujkoli Sen said Nippon Bhavana, which presently houses the department of Japanese, was established at Visva-Bharati with the support of several Japanese scholars and admirers of university’s founder Rabindranath Tagore like Tsusho Byodo and Kazuo Azuma.

“A generous grant will be most helpful to rejuvenate the department of Japanese and Nippon Bhavana,” Sen said.

Tagore was not only a great admirer of the Japanese culture but also brought Jujutsu instructor Jinnosuke Sano to teach the martial art to students 113 years ago. In 1933, Tsusho Byodo, a monk and Buddhist scholar visited Santiniketan and studied Sanskrit under Bhidhu Sekhar Shastri. Following his completion of studies, Tagore expressed his desire to him to explore possibilities of establishing a Japan Bhavana.

The centre, which has fostered cultural exchange between the two countries for decades, became the first institution in the country in 1954 to offer formal courses in the language. The undergraduate course in the Japanese language was introduced in 1999, followed by the postgraduate course in 2006. There are more than 170 students in the department.

“Though the department of Japanese was formally established in 1954, Japanese language was informally taught in the institution since 1905 when the Jujutsu instructor Jinnosuke Sano landed at Santiniketan,” the head of the department of Japanese Gita A Keeni said.

The university recently constituted the ten-member Visva-Bharati Japan Friendship Forum with the consulate general of Japan in Kolkata as its chief advisor based on the decision of the academic council.

“The VB-Japan Friendship Forum is all set to initiate a series of programmes to foster Indo-Japan cultural and academic friendship,” said Nilanjan Bandyopadhyay, convener of the forum.

First Published: Sep 05, 2018 18:39:49


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