The Indian footprint in Japan is quite varied and includes not only cultural aspects but even political scenarios. One such political footprint in Tokyo is of the Indian freedom fighter, well known in India, Subhas Chandra Bose who was born late in the 19th century when India was occupied by the British, and has lead movement for independence of India until his sudden and mysterious disappearance in August 1945 at the age of 48.
Subhas Chandra Bose was deeply related to Japan. He negotiated with the government of Japan, and tried to march into India with Japanese army in the last period of the World War II. Bose is still widely studied not only in India, but also internationally. His departed on an airplane to forge a cooperation with the Soviet Union due to the capitulation of Japan in the second world war still continues to be source of the mystery which continues to this day. The aircraft he travelled on met with an accident, crashed in Taipei in 1945.
Renko-ji, a small Buddhist shrine of the Nichiren sect is located in Suginami-ku Tokyo, and this is the location where the purported ashes of Netaji have been kept. The temple holds Buddhist memorial service for Netaji on 18th of August every year. There is controversy on the ashes and whether they are really his, but the temple has been visited by three Prime Ministers of India and the Indian community and tourists are seen regularly visiting this place at Higashi Kouenji.
UPDATE JAN 23 2016 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi-ji has declassified the files which have been secret for a long time. Excerpt from the Indian Express
During the Emergency, the Indira Gandhi government was apprehensive that bringing back Netaji’s ashes may give a ‘fillip’ to the Forward Bloc — which was then “an insignificant force” — and was willing to increase payment to maintain the ashes at the Rankoji Temple in Japan. According to the files declassified by the PMO, the Home Ministry (MHA) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in August 1976 advised the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to “persuade the Japanese authorities to continue to retain the ashes with them” to “best avoid” controversy
Located on the Marunouchi Line it is on the east side of Tokyo and known for many Buddhist temples in the vicinity.Getting out of the station the temple is a five minute walk but a tricky one to locate. We suggest you walk through this garden just outside the station exit and walk towards the other end. Keep this link RENKOJI – GOOGLE MAPS handy just in case. The doors of the shrine are usually shut and you can go around the front porch to get a view of the Netaji’s statue in the vicinity.The statue is a shoulder level bust placed ont he left hand side of the temple and well maintained record diary of people who leave their messages and experiences.
To the left of the statue, is a sign black marble engraving which details the experiences of the Indian Politicians who have paid visit to the temple. Over the years, several Indian officials have visited Renkoji to pay their respects to Bose: India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was the first dignitary to visit the site in October 1957 followed by the President Dr. Rajendra Prasad a year later and then by Indira Gandhi in 1969. The curiosity is further stirred due to both the Prime Ministers making lip service “let there be peace in this world” kind of a statement and no message which conveys their stance on the ashes and the authenticity of the same.
President Rajendra Prasad and then the 2001 visit by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee provide some semblance by saying that they are pleased to visit this place where the ashes of the great leader Bose have been preserved and being take care of…There was a commission inquiry done by the Indian Government and the probe said in its report that Bose did not die in the plane crash, and that the ashes at the Renkoji Temple are not his. However, the Indian Government rejected the findings of the Commission, though no reasons were cited. Nothing that throws any further light on the status…Leaving the controversy, you can explore the rest of the neighborhood, and cleanse yourself of all thoughts with the water point inside the temple premises.We washed our hands and did a google search to know of the next stop in Higashi Koenji and found that the neighborhood has many Nichiren sect Buddhist temples and Myouhoji was one of the ones to visit. We were not disappointed by the find. An extremely beautiful idol of 13th century Japanese monk Nichiren (1222–1282) at the Myouhouji which is a must visit spot if you are in Kouenji area.
Walking back with a lot of history of Subhas Chandra Bose and the cultural inputs on Nichiren Buddhism we walked back home crossing the same park we took on the way to the temples. The birds and the reflection in the water with the silence around was truly bliss.
Some updates from the web : post this post
Ashes in Germany?
The Delhi High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking an order to bring back to India Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s ashes, currently lying in a museum in Germany.A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice P.S. Teji Wednesday refused to entertain the plea, saying the court had earlier decided a similar plea and there was noting new in the plea.
Modi should not visit Renkoji Temple where Netaji’s ashes are kept
Netaji Subhash Kranti Manch has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to visit the famous Renkoji temple in Tokyo, where Japan claims the urn containing the ashes purported to belong to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is kept.
The truth may never be known…hopefully the declassified files will be studied and also the files with the other nations like UK, US and Russia are made available over time to get more facts out to the general public.