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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.