Zen Garden-Kaizen Academy : A step towards strengthening relations between India and Japan

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Somewhere in mid 2021, the PM of India inaugurated a beautiful scenic garden in the urban fabric of Ahmedabad city as a sign of  good relationship between the two countries India and Japan. Architecture has always been a way of celebrating life and culture. This project is a depiction of the relationship shared between two nations by embracing its culture and heritage. Kaizen hall and the Zen garden (Zen Kaizen)  is a wonderful approach to symbolize cultural and political harmony.

Japan is a peaceful and developed nation when it comes to technology and morals. Keeping this key ingredient the idea of this project was curated by two architects Anushree Patel and  Neha Rajora. The Zen garden is a collaborative effort to conserve characteristics of traditional Japanese gardens. To bring the right ethical values to the space, the duo visited Japan in 2019 and spent time there within the traditional designs. Zen gardens have eight main elements, each with their own purpose. These elements are bridges, islands, flowers or plants, sand, stones, trees, water and waterfalls. The ethos and philosophy of these elements harmonizes an individual’s mind.  

A step towards strengthening relations between India and Japan : Zen Garden-Kaizen Academy
Picture Courtesy : twitter.com

As India and Japanese ideologies share quite similarities such as simplicity, calm, tranquility and composure. Zen has a major contribution in characteristics of Japanese culture and is a part of Mahayana School of Buddhism. Yoga, the essential ethic and identity of India shares similar ideology. Yoga and Zen both majorly emphasize concentration and healing. Elements like wind and water are represented in the Zen Garden followed by the earth and the sky which are believed to be linked by these two elements. A statue of Lord Buddha is designed with a waterfall in the premises. The unique and unusual Awaji tiles that have been used in the pathways of the garden are a gift from Japan’s Hyogo region. 

Picture Courtesy : Indiatimes.in

The garden area has typical stone lanterns that surround the space. The walls around are covered in traditions such as Kimono and Nihonga. Kaizen is a Japanese business strategy that focuses on increasing productivity over time by incorporating all employees and improving the work environment. Kaizen means “continuous improvement” or “transformation for the better.” 

A step towards strengthening relations between India and Japan : Zen Garden-Kaizen Academy
Picture Courtesy : twitter.com

The project ‘Zen-Kaizen is collaboration between the Japan Information and Study Centre at AMA and the Indo-Japan Friendship Association (IJFA) in Gujarat. It portrays various elements of art, nature and architecture from the Japanese culture and is supported by The Hyogo International Association (HIA) in Japan 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated the Japanese zen garden and kaizen academy. He that the Zen garden and kaizen academy are “a symbol of the spontaneity and modernity of relations between India and Japan.” On the other hand, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has written in his book Utsukushii Kuni E (Towards a Beautiful Country) that “there would be no surprise if Japan-India relations transcend Japan-US and Japan-China relations in the next 10 years.” 

Written by Drashti Patel

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