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Indians in Japan

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Indian languages:
Gujarati · Hindi · Kannada · Punjabi · Tamil · Other languages of India3 Religion Christianity · Hinduism · Islam · Jainism · Sikhism3

Indians in Japan consist of migrants from India to Japan and their descendants As of 2014update, there were 28,047 Indian nationals living in Japan1 Roughly 60% consist of expatriate IT professionals and their families4


  • 1 Migration history
  • 2 Business and employment
  • 3 Religion
  • 4 Education
  • 5 Community organisations
  • 6 Notable people
  • 7 See also
  • 8 Notes
  • 9 Sources
  • 10 Further reading

Migration historyedit

According to the Nihon Shoki, in 654 two men and two women of the Tushara Kingdom, along with one woman from Sravasti, were driven by a storm to take refuge at the former Hyūga Province in southern Kyushu They remained for several years before setting off for home5

The history of modern Indian settlement in Japan goes back more than a century As early as 1873, a few Indian businessmen and their families, primarily Parsis and Sindhis, had settled Yokohama as well as Okinawa6 In 1891, Tata, then a small trading firm, established a branch in Kobe7 By 1901, Japanese government statistics recorded 30 people from British India living in Japan8 Local statistics of the Hyōgo Prefecture government showed 59 Indians living in the prefecture in 1905, among whom all but one were men9 After the destruction wreaked on Yokohama in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, the Indian traders there also migrated to Kobe; from then on, Kobe became the centre of gravity of Japan's Indian community10

By 1939, on the eve of World War II, the number of Indians in Hyōgo Prefecture had reached 632 However, due to British sanctions against Japan and the 1941 halt of shipping between Japan and their homeland, many closed their shops and left; by 1942, there were only 114 remaining Three years after the Partition of India, their numbers had recovered somewhat to 255; there were also four Pakistanis11 Prior to 1990, the Indian community in Japan remained centred on the Kobe area However, after 1990, the numbers in Tokyo began to show a sharp increase2 Migrants who arrived in the 1990s included industrial trainees sent by Japanese car manufacturers which had set up factories in India12 IT professionals and their families also came to Tokyo, settling primarily in Setagaya and Minato wards13

Business and employmentedit

As of 2000update, there were also around 800 Indians working in the IT industry in Japan, up from 120 in 199314 Kenichi Yoshida, a director of Softbridge Solutions Japan Co, stated in late 2009 that Indian engineers are becoming the backbone of Japan's IT industry and that "it is important for Japanese industry to work together with India"1516 Another 870 Indians were employed as cooks14 Others are engaged in trading, importing Indian handicrafts, garments, precious stones, and marine products, and exporting Japanese electronic goods, textiles, automotive parts, and jewellery6


Indians in Japan speak a number of different languages and follow various religions; there is little correlation between religion or language and profession, except in the case of the Jains, many of whom work in the jewellery industry17 The Jains are generally concentrated around Okachi-machi in Taitō, Tokyo18 On the whole, Tokyo has fewer religious facilities for Indians than does Kobe19

There are Sikh gurudwara in both Kobe and Tokyo; the latter is of more recent provenance, having been founded in 1999 in the basement of an office building20 Some Sikhs employed as unskilled labourers in small and medium enterprises had to cut their hair short and remove their turbans in violation of the principle of kesh, because their employers are unfamiliar with their customs and do not give them any latitude in their style of dress They consider this just a temporary adaptation to Japanese society However, this practise is not common among Sikhs in skilled professions such as IT21


India International School in Japan, Tokyo

Indians who send their children to school in Japan generally select English-medium schools The first Indian-specific school was established in 2004 in Tokyo's Koto ward at the initiative of some of the old trading families based in Tokyo and Yokohama The school's name is IISJ which stands for India International School in Japan22 The Global Indian International School, a Singapore-based school, has operated a branch in Tokyo since 2006, and plans to open another in Yokohama in 200819 They follow the Indian Central Board of Secondary Education curriculum The schools are popular not just among Indian expatriates, but among some Japanese as well, due to a reputation for rigour in mathematics education23 Other migrants leave their children behind in their native states, either with grandparents or at boarding schools, in order to avoid interrupting their education22

Jeevarani "Rani Sanku" Angelina, a woman from Chennai,24 established the Little Angels International School, which caters to Japanese students25

Community organisationsedit

One of the earliest Indian community organisations, the Oriental Club, was established in 1904 in Kobe; it changed its name to The India Club in 1913, and continued operating up to the present day More were founded in the 1930s, including the Indian-dominated Silk Merchants' Association, the Indian Social Society, and the Indian Chamber of Commerce9 In 2000, Indian expatriates living in Edogawa, Tokyo, an area with a high concentration of Indian IT engineers founded the Indian Community of Edogawa18 Others include the Indian Community Activities Tokyo, whose Diwali celebration draws 2,500 participants, as well as the Indian Merchants Association of Yokohama14

Notable peopleedit

  • Anastasia Malhotra, professional tennis player
  • Annu Mari, actress
  • Arata Izumi, football player
  • Bob Singh Dhillon, multi-millionaire businessman
  • Bodhisena, Indian Buddhist scholar and monk
  • Gonsalo Garcia, Roman Catholic saint
  • Sarbjit Singh Chadha, Enka singer
  • Singh Jaideep, kickboxer

See alsoedit

  • Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin
  • India–Japan relations
  • Hinduism in Japan
  • Japanese people in India


  1. ^ a b "インド基礎データ", 『各国・地域情勢』, Tokyo, Japan: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 2009, retrieved 25 September 2009 
  2. ^ a b Azuma 2008, p 256
  3. ^ a b Azuma 2008, p 258; she lists the religions and languages in alphabetical order therein
  4. ^ Kondõ, Masanori 10 March 2008, "対インド関係 「頭脳大国」との視点を", Asahi Shimbun, retrieved 25 September 2009 
  5. ^ Waterhouse 1991, p 75
  6. ^ a b Singhvi 2000, p 283
  7. ^ Minamino & Sawa 2005, p 5
  8. ^ Minamino & Sawa 2005, p 4
  9. ^ a b Minamino & Sawa 2005, p 6
  10. ^ Sawa & Minamino 2007, p 15
  11. ^ Minamino & Sawa 2005, p 7
  12. ^ Azuma 2008, p 258
  13. ^ Sawa & Minamino 2007, p 66
  14. ^ a b c Singhvi 2000, p 284
  15. ^ "FOCUS: Indian engineers becoming backbone of Japan's IT" Kyodo News Minato, Tokyo 9 November 2009 Retrieved 6 November 2009 
  16. ^ "Backbone of Japan's IT industry Indian engineers!" Rediffcom Mumbai 6 November 2009 Retrieved 6 November 2009 
  17. ^ Azuma 2008, p 259
  18. ^ a b Azuma 2008, p 262
  19. ^ a b Sawa & Minamino 2007, p 19
  20. ^ Azuma 2008, p 264
  21. ^ Azuma 2008, pp 263–264
  22. ^ a b Sawa & Minamino 2007, p 21
  23. ^ Hani, Yoko 11 April 2007, "Indian schools make a mark", Japan Times, retrieved 25 September 2009 
  24. ^ "History" Little Angels International School Retrieved on 9 March 2015
  25. ^ Fackler, Martin 2 January 2008 "Losing an Edge, Japanese Envy India's Schools" PDF The New York Times Archived from the original PDF on 9 March 2015 Retrieved 9 March 2015 Unlike other Indian schools, Ms Angelina said, Little Angels was intended primarily for Japanese children, to meet the need she had found when she sent her sons to Japanese kindergarten 


  • Waterhouse, David 1991, "Where did Toragaku come from", in Marett, Allan, Musica Asiatica, 6, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 73–94, ISBN 978-0-521-39050-7, doi:101017/CBO9780511896071006 
  • Singhvi, L M 2000, "Asia-Pacific Region", Report of the High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora PDF, New Delhi: Ministry of External Affairs, pp 273–288, archived from the original PDF on 6 February 2012 
  • Minamino, Takeshi; Munenori Sawa 2005, 在日インド人社会の変遷--定住地神戸を事例として Changes in Indian society in Japan—focused on the case of Kobe residents PDF, 『兵庫地理』 in Japanese, 50: 4–15, archived from the original PDF on 26 November 2015, retrieved 25 September 2009 
  • Sawa, Munenori; Minamino, Takeshi 2007, "Emerging of An Indian Community in Tokyo: A Case Study of Nishikasai" PDF, The Indian Geographical Journal, 82 1: 7–26 
  • Azuma, Masako 2008, "Indians in Tokyo and its vicinity", in Kesavapany, K; Mani, A; Ramasamy, Palanisamy, Rising India and Indian communities in East Asia, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, pp 255–269, ISBN 978-981-230-799-6 

Further readingedit

  • Green, Nile 2013 "Shared infrastructures, informational asymmetries: Persians and Indians in Japan, c1890–1930" Journal of Global History 8 3: 414–435 ISSN 1740-0228 doi:101017/S1740022813000351 
  • Sawa, Munenori April 2008, "日本のインド人社会 Indian society in Japan", in Yamashita, Kiyomi, エスニック・ワールド:世界と日本のエスニック社会 Ethnic World: Global and Japanese ethnic societies, Akashi Shoten, ISBN 978-4-7503-2758-7, OCLC 226814973 
  • Sawa, Munenori October 2008, グローバリゼーション下のディアスポラ ―在日インド人のネットワークとコミュニティ Diaspora under globalisation: Networks and community of Indians in Japan PDF, 院人間発達環境学研究科報告書, 13680081, Kobe University 

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