This year's 10th annual Namaste India festival, which also celebrates 50 years of diplomatic relationships between Japan and India, will be the largest ever and feature dancers from a secluded area of India, according to T.W. Sudhakar, assistant director of Indian government's Tourist Office in Tokyo.
The Namaste India 2002 Festival, started to highlight the cultural and historical aspects of India, will be held at Tsukiji Honganji temple in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, on Oct.27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Along with traditional and classical Indian dances, the event will include a performance by a cultural troupe from the Arunachal Pradesh region in northeastern India, an isolated area that "even other Indians hardly ever visit," Sudhakar said.
However, Tokio Hasegawa, director of the Mithila Museum in Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, is familiar with the region. He said the Arunachal Pradesh performers dress in a similar way to Japan's yamabushi, or mountain priests. Their dancing, on the other hand, is like nothing else seen in India or Japan, he said.
"To be honest," Hasegawa said, "there are few reliable studies on the dancing. Only a few researchers ever have set foot in the region."
But the chance for people to see such a rarity at the Namaste Festival makes it all the more unique an opportunity, he said.
Kiyoshi Yamada, general manager of the international affairs division of the Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said the annual Indian cultural event initially was started to foster a deeper understanding among Japanese of India.
The Japan Chamber of Commerce & industry is firm supporter of the festival.
The Indian tourist office is organizing the event in tandem with the Japan-India Business Cooperation Committee and the Asia Club.
Admission to the festival is free. Tsukiji Honganji temple is located near Tsukiji Station on Hibiya subway line.
For details, call the tourist office at (03) 3571-5196.