Ns News Online Desk: There are currently around 40,000 Indians living in Japan and their stories, similar to minority groups in other countries, are often ignored or pushed aside. This lack of public awareness and representation can lead to cultural misunderstanding, or worse, discrimination.Enter Megha Wadhwa, 37, a postdoctoral fellow at Sophia University and a resident of Japan for the past 14 years.
Through her research, as well as her work as a contributing writer for The Japan Times, she has shown an urgent yet sensible concern for the Indian community in Japan. With her book, “Indian Migrants in Tokyo: A Study of Socio-Cultural, Religious, and Working Worlds,” Wadhwa has managed to synthesize her research into an ambitious narrative that sheds much-needed light on a growing population.“India-Japan ties are a unique paradox,” Wadhwa writes. “These two nations do not have any history of serious conflict, and yet at the same time, their relationship has never risen above the level of lukewarm.” In her text, Wadhwa illustrates how Indian migrants have developed roots here that should not be overlooked.
Most academic books I read are dry, emotionless treks through important information. They are written either for other scholars in the same field, or with a neutral tone so that a large and potentially diverse college class can read it and not be offended. It is with relief I can say that Wadhwa’s text is no such thing. In fact, from an academic standpoint, the book is an eye-opening study based on comprehensive research and personal experience.
Wadhwa interviewed over 100 Indian residents, and readers are provided with numerous biographical portraits that show how these individuals balance their love of Japan with their strong ties to India. One man, Chanderban G. Advani, a pillar of the Indian community who passed away in February 2018, was a Tokyo resident for 65 years. After living in Japan for seven years, Advani started Nephew’s International, which became the “go-to distributor for Indian customers interested in Japanese products.”