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From Baby Steps to Giant Leaps

The Journey of Friendship between Gujarat and Japan started with a few baby steps of two Universities joining hand in hand, through the Indo-Japan Student Exchange Programme in the early 1970s. The first knot of mutual relations between Gujarat and Japan came to be tied in 1970, when the Indo-Japan Student Exchange Programme between the Gujarat University (GU), Ahmedabad and the Otemon Gakuin University (OGU), Ibaraki City, Osaka was conceived. It soon inspired the foundation of the Indo-Japan Friendship Association (IJFA), Gujarat in 1975, which kick-started rapid strides through the 1980s & 1990s.

Highly inspired after his return from Japan as an Exchange Student in 1972, Mr. Mukesh Patel nurtured a dream to light the torch for lasting Indo-Japanese Bonds. His cherished desire took concrete shape in 1975, with the founding of the Indo-Japan Friendship Association, Gujarat (IJFA) for promoting enduring goodwill and friendship and creating better understanding and cooperation between India and Japan on academic, business and cultural fronts.

Hon’ble Mr. K. Kimura, Consul General of Mumbai at Japan inaugurated the Indo-Japan Friendship Association on 3rd December, 1975
Entering into the turn of the new millennium, when IJFA teamed up in alliance with the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA), it added new vigour, excitement and momentum to the Indo-Japanese Friendship Expedition, which in the second decade of the 21st Century has taken giant leaps in Gujarat.

Over the years now, IJFA with its power of vision, mission & networking and AMA with its strength of world class infrastructure, state of the art facilities & outstanding pool of human resources have together played a pioneering role in anchoring and cementing the mutual bonds of friendship, understanding, goodwill and cooperation between Japan and Gujarat on all the three fronts, academics, business and culture.

Vision & Mission of Making Gujarat the Mini-Japan of India

The AMA-IJFA Joint Venture was inspired by the Vision & Mission of Making Gujarat the Mini-Japan of India. This stimulated the setting up of the ‘Jaykrishna Harivallabhdas Centre for Indo-Japanese Relations’ in 2013 with a generous contribution from the family of IJFA’s Founder President Late Shri Jaykrishna Harivallabhdas, which has been successfully planning and executing a host of diverse events and activities.

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Jaykrishna Harivallabhdas – AMA Centre for Indo-Japanese Relations

2009 witnessed the historic participation of Japan as a Partner Country of Gujarat at the Vibrant Gujarat Business Summit. To happily coincide with this landmark event, the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) teamed up with IJFA to organise the First Japan Festival at AMA. Since then, a series of Japan Festivals on diverse themes, Exhibitions, Demonstrations & Workshops on Japanese Arts and Crafts and Showcase on Tourism & Higher Education in Japan have been organised at AMA, unfolding Japan in its vibrant colour and splendour and providing a meaningful and fascinating insight into Japanese Art, Culture, Values and Life Style.

Japan Information and Study Centre at AMA

It also paved way for the setting up of a unique and the first of its kind in the country, ‘Japan Information and Study Centre at AMA,’ through the generous CSR support of Mitsubishi Corporation India Pvt. Ltd. and Metal One Corporation India Pvt. Ltd., the décor and facilities of which have won popular acclaim and appreciation.

The Japan Information and Study Centre at the Ahmedabad Management Association, a unique and the first of its kind in the country was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Education Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, alongwith the Hon’ble Consul General of Japan at Mumbai Mr. Yoshiaki Ito, on 10th January, 2015, happily coinciding with the eve of the Vibrant Gujarat Business Summit held from 11th to 13th January.

First Lady of Japan’s Enchanting Visit to Japan Centre

Japan Centre at AMA was indeed fortunate to receive a major recognition, when in September 2017, it was accorded the privilege of extending a red carpet welcome to Madam Akie Abe, First Lady of Japan, when she also graciously gifted a small Library in her name to the Centre.

Pioneering Role in Nurturing Alliances

The Japan Information and Study Centre at AMA is also proud to have played a pioneering role in the Birth and the Nurturing of two Key Alliances, the signing of the Momentous Sister State Relationship between the State of Gujarat & the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan, in November 2016 and the Kobe-Ahmedabad Sister City Relationship, in June 2019, both of which by a happy coincidence came to be inked at Kobe, in the august presence of the two Hon’ble Prime Ministers Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Shinzo Abe.

MOUs for Active Cooperation

Japan Centre also enjoys the privilege of having inked Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) for active Cooperation with the Japan-India Association, Tokyo, Discover India Club, Tokyo and the Otemon Gakuin University, Osaka.

March 2019, witnessed the awarding of the very coveted and prestigious Grant Assistance from the Government of Japan under its Cultural Grassroots Project, for upgrading the facilities at the Japan Centre though the addition of State-of-Art Computers, User-friendly Japanese Language Learning Software and setting up of ‘Nipponica’, an Innovative Digital Touch Screen Encyclopedia on Japan.

Japan has experience and power, while Gujarat has entrepreneurship. Japan has technology, Gujarat has youth power. Japan is insistent on discipline and values while Gujarat has the zeal for perfection. If we get together, we can create a great future for ourselves and the whole world. I want to see Mini-Japan in Gujarat!

Source: Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat during his Visit to Japan in 2012

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Japan Centres at AMA have enjoyed unique recognition & goodwill over the Years through pioneering the Vision & Mission of Making Gujarat the Mini-Japan of India. After the trailblazing success of Japanese Language Centre, Japan Information & Study Centre, Japanese Zen Garden and KHS Kaizen Academy, AMA launched the Fifth dedicated Activity Centre “Japan Cultural Centre” on 23rd June, 2023 for nurturing Japan-India Friendly Relations.

The Japan Cultural Centre is inspired by Smt. Paru Mrugesh Jaykrishna and set up with the support of Asahi Songwon and Aksharchem India!  On this occasion, Hon’ble Consul General of Japan at Mumbai Dr.Yasukata Fukahori delivered the Inaugural Address; leading Luminary of Public Life in Gujarat Shri Ajay Patel graced the occasion as Chief Guest; and Director General of JETRO Ahmedabad Mr. Takehiko Furukawa presented Felicitatory Greetings. They also launched the Exhibition of the Selected Photos from “The Indo-Japan Foto-Fest Contest” at AMA on Friday, 23rd June, 2023.

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