The inaugural publication ceremony of a manga comic book titled “Secrets of India” was held at the auditorium of the Indian Embassy in Tokyo on Dec. 14.

Sponsored by the embassy, the Institute of Sathya Sai Education, Japan (ISSE), the Indian Merchants Association of Yokohama (IMAY) and companies and organizations of India and Japan, the book was published as part of the series “Manga de yoku wakaru” (“Learning from manga”) by Gakken Publishing Co. as a nonprofit project

Opening the ceremony, Ryuko Hira, honorary president of IMAY and ISSE, said, “It is for the first time that a manga about international exchange is published in Japan.”

His wife and ISSE director, Kayoko Hira, made a presentation on the story and features of the manga, which tells the tale of an Indian schoolboy who transfers to a Japanese elementary school.

During the ceremony, Indian Ambassador Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa said that, among the various events held in Japan commemorating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of India-Japan diplomatic relations, the publication is one of the most important because it is the only project catering to Japanese children.

The ambassador presented a book to each of the 19 students from six elementary schools in Tokyo who were invited to the ceremony.

“Japan’s manga culture has captured the hearts of children and adults all around the world,” the ambassador said. “I offer my prayer that each child who reads this book be inspired and motivated to be a noble Japanese citizen and the true friend of India and the world.”

“Secrets of India” will have a publication run of 30,000 copies, among which 23,500 will be distributed free to all the elementary schools in Japan and 3,000 will be given to libraries nationwide.

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