HISTORY AND INTRODUCTION
1921 was a significant year of hope and peace as the US Congress in a joint resolution declared the end of World War 1. India was rebelling against British colonial rule of George V Emperor of India. The British ladies lived a tradition of status by making exquisite Victorian dresses from beautiful Japanese silk. The Sindhis were renowned as Silk merchants. On Thursday 24th February 1921, The Indian Merchants Association of Yokohama was registered as a Shadan Hojin to promote and protect interests of Indian Merchants who were primarily Sindhis, engaged in exports of silk and sundries.
Japanese emperor Taisho was ailing and Hirohito, the future emperor Showa, became emperor in all but title. Japanese population was 56 million people with a life expectancy similar to India of only 42 years of age. The Japanese consulate in Mumbai was established in 1894. In the 45th year of Meiji era (1912), the Nichi-in Kyokai (Japan-India Association) records several Indian firms as its members in Yokohama.
1921 was a year of phenomenal change. Anglo Japanese alliance was replaced by "Four Power Treaty"- Britain, United States, France and Japan. Thus the port of Yokohama was opened as a window of commerce with foreign countries. This treaty settled alien claims which encouraged a lot of foreign immigration to Japan. Commercial and Mercantile establishments were built continously. It was the opening year of the history of foreign residents in Yokohama. The number of Indian residents in Japan increased from 28 in 1901 to over 100 residents. The export of silk fabric to India increased substantially. There were 22 Indian trading companies and the port of Yokohama was crowded with Indian merchants.
Much to everyone's regret, the Great Kanto earthquake devasted Tokyo and Yokohama areas with more than 142,000 dead. 28 Indians of Yokohama died.
The loss of life and assets, as well as uncertainy and anxiety made most Indians desperate for escaping from Earthquake tragedy. They had no prospects if they permanently returned to colonized India. Most Indians from Yokohama migrated to Kobe, a port city, for continuing export business.
India's movement for freedom and Japan's disengagement from WWII had important implications on Indians in Japan. The visit of Rabindranath Tagore who resided in the home of baron Hara in the Yokohama Sankeien Gardens, the arrival of Swami Vivekananda that influenced higher awareness of peace, the movement for India's freedom in Japan by Sage Kiyoshi Tanno and Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, the historic judgement of Justice Radhabinod Pal in Japan's favour at the Tokyo Tribunal and settlement of the war reparations signed in the bilateral Peace Treaty paved the way for opening of the Embassy of India in Japan in 1952, bringing renewed confidence amongst the Indian community in Japan.
For 4 decades, Yokohama Indians flourished with Japan becoming world's 3rd largest economic power. Many Indians were born and married making Japan their permanent home. The four eras which began with Taisho, symbolizing agriculture and home industry of silk cocoons, followed by Meiji for Industrialization with Showa for service Industries and Heisei as the hi-tech and IT era experienced important participation by Indian Companies.
Economic reforms of India in the 1990s contributed to increased population of Indians in Japan, engaged in the import of raw materials, joint ventures, Information Technology, Tourism, Jewellery and Restaurants etc. To serve the growing needs of the Indian Community, at the dawn of 21st century in 1999, IMAY inaugrated its new building with a community hall and a Sai Temple.
As the Indo Japanese trade, economic and investment potential expanded significantly to other prefectures of Japan, it became necessary to expand our jurisdiction from Yokohama to all prefectures of Japan and as such the name and structure was changed to THE INDIAN COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
ASSOCIATION JAPAN in the year 2012 duly validated by then Prime Minister of Japan, H.E Mr. Shinzo Abe under direct jurisdiction of the cabinet office. ICIJ is privileged as Japan's first and only Indian institution to be granted the highest corporate structure of 'Public Interest Corporation.'
As a non profit Public Interest Association engaged with all major commerce and industry institutions, Our membership comprises of several of the largest corporate groups with business operations all over India and abroad such as State Bank of India, Bank of India, New India Assurance, Tata Consultancy Services etc. We engage as an apex body for economic, cultural exchanges and goodwill between India and Japan.
We offer our comprehensive services to Japanese manufacturers, general contractors and other investors in co-operation with other major institutions such as Keidanren, Japan India Business Corporation Committee, Japan India Association, Japan External Trade Organization, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Confederation of Indian Industry and other partner institutions to promote Indian agenda in Japan. We organize trade fairs and exhibitions and promote Make in India, Study of India projects. We are privileged to host several esteemed dignitaries and Parliamentary exchanges.
We retain the character of being the premier public body of senior industry leaders forming the core of our Governing Board of Directors. Our leadership and membership has enabled us to move ahead and respond pro actively to the dynamic changes that have taken place in the making of new India as a Global Super Partner.
The selfless sacrifices and services of office bearers and members are testimony to our history of 100 years. Today as we complete 100 years of founding we take this opportunity to reflect and redediacte our commitment to the changes of global order and are moving with confidence to serve the needs of our nation.