Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary Concluding Celebration Held in Japan
On Sunday, May 25, 2014 the Vedanta Society of Japan officially brought its exhaustive year-long calendar of events commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda to a close at Tokyo’s Seisen University Auditorium.
In the foyer Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature in both Japanese and English was offered along with a photo display of 150th Japan events. Each attendee received a programme, a special edition of the Society’s magazine, ‘The Universal Gospel,’ and bilingual editions of ‘Arise and Awake’ and ‘Anecdotes of the Life of Swami Vivekananda.’
As the audience of 400 settled, Vedic Peace Prayers commenced the event. Special bouquets were offered to the guest speakers by children, and Swami Suhitanandaji, General Secretary, Ramakrishna Math and Mission, then offered a bouquet to Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Medhasananda gave the Welcome Address highlighting achievements of the year-long calendar of events. Sister Junko Shioya, Chairperson, Managing Board of Seisen University, welcomed all on behalf of Seisen University.
A message from Swami Atmasthanandaji, President, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission was read. Vedanta Society Secretary, Mr. Kenichi Mitamura, then read a message received from Japanese Prime Minister Shintaro Abe.
Special publications featuring Swami Vivekananda were released by Swami Suhitanandaji, Her Excellency Smt. Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, Ambassador of India, Professor Mayeda and Swami Medhasananda.
Three speeches and several tributes were then offered. The first speaker was Ambassador Wadhwa, followed by Dr. Sengaku Mayeda, and then Revered Swami Suhitanandaji. Several distinguished guests offered remarks on Swami Vivekananda. First a message from His Excellency Masud Bin Momen of Ambassador of Bangladesh was read; followed by talks from His Excellency Madan Kumar Bhattarai, Ambassador of Nepal; then Swami Sadyojaatah of the ‘Art of Living’ Foundation, then Reverend Hakuei Yamaguchi of the Nounin-ji Temple in Chiba; followed by Father Cyril Veliath, a Jesuit professor at Sophia University and Celebration Committee Member; and, finally Mr. Ryuko Hira of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education and the Honorary President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce.
After a brief break the cultural programme began with a combined group of devotees from the Vedanta Society and members of the Kailas Yoga School of Yokohama singing ‘Ramakrishna Saranam.’ This was followed by Indian classical dance troupe led by Ms. Kazuko Yasunobu of Studio Odissi in Tokyo. Mr. Jagmohan Chandrani, Secretary, Celebration Committee, then gave the Vote of Thanks as the stage was prepared for a sitar recital with Mr. Amit Roy on sitar, Mr. Lalit Kumar Dixit on tabla and Mr. Takanori Mizuta on tampura.
The Vedanta Society of St. Louis has invited many speakers to come to St. Louis to mark the celebration of Swamiji’s 150th birth anniversary. Instead of having one big function with several speakers on a single day, we spread them throughout the entire year. As a result, each of them gets more time to speak on Swamiji. The devotees will learn more from each of their talks; and, moreover, they are benefitted by associating with the Ramakrishna monks of different centers.