When the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake struck a century ago, many businesspeople with roots in the Indian subcontinent lost their homes in Yokohama, resulting in roughly 70 companies fleeing to the western port of Kobe to form what became one of the largest Indian communities in Japan.

Stories abound about the active role such firms went on to play in Japan's postwar economic success, acting as intermediaries for the sale of "Made in Japan" products in Asian markets. Now, 100 years later, the torch has been passed to a new, younger generation of Indians seeking to strengthen Japan's ties with their homeland, which has become an IT powerhouse.

The 7.9-magnitude Great Kanto quake occurred shortly before noon on Sept. 1, 1923. Tokyo and parts of the surrounding Kanto area, including Yokohama, suffered major damage.