Northeastern India, especially Manipur and Nagaland, with the region’s many remnants of 2nd World War, is an important part of the reconciliation process between Japan and Britain, Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu has said.
Hiramatsu, who has visited Manipur, Nagaland and Assam in the recent past and is planning to visit Manipur again to participate in the annual 2nd World War commemoration programme in the state in May, made his comments during a special screening of “Memories of a Forgotten War”, a feature-length documentary directed by Utpal Borpujari and produced by Subimal Bhattacharjee.
The screening on Friday evening was hosted by Hiramatsu, who has been a keen advocate of the reconciliation process for several decades now, at his official residence for the senior officials of his embassy as well as representatives of a few Japanese organizations, including Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Information Centre.
Hiramatsu specially stressed on the efforts to collect the bones of the dead Japanese soldiers from various parts of the region, and said it would be an ongoing process aimed at enabling the families of the dead soldiers and the people of Japan to pay their last respects to those who laid down their lives for their nation.
He appreciated the unbiased and humanitarian approach of the film, which had its world premiere as part of the Indian Panorama at the 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa last year.
Addressing the gathering, Bhattacharjee said the film was an effort to bring out a positive aspect of the Northeast and tell an important historical narrative of the region that is often projected in a negative way in the rest of the country.
Borpujari said the film was part of his continuing efforts to bring out untold stories from the Northeast through the medium of cinema.
Among those present at the screening were senior Embassy officials such as Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission Yukata Kikuta, Minister (Political Affairs) Hideki Asari, First Secretary Kenji Aya, First Secretary Daisuke Kodama, Deputy Head (Political Section) Shunichi Inoue, Japan Information Centre director Mizuho Hayakawa, JICA senior representative Takayoshi Tange and representative Yoshiki Ehara. Also present at the screening was the film’s executive producer Dr Joyeeta Bhattacharjee.
Watch the trailer of Memories of a Forgotten War