According to the Times of India report, thousands of people from Japan travel to India to embrace Jainism by taking Deeksha at Gujrat. However, just a month ago, about 2,500 Japanese travelled to Tharad in northern Gujarat and spent a week there with the disciples of Jayant Sensuriswarji Maharaj Saheb.
In the interviews to media, Nityasen Suriswarji Maharaj Saheb said that "There are a number of Japanese coming here in large numbers. They follow all our rules, pray with us, eat Satvik food before the sun sets, meditate and go back home to follow the same lifestyle we induct them into."
The popularity of Jainism is growing in Japan rapidly. While talking to media, Babulal Jain-Ujwal, an expert in Jainism, says, next week too, if travel restrictions are relaxed, another group of Japanese nationals is travelling to Gujarat. To understand the intricacies of the religious texts, most of them are also taking Hindi tutorials. "A new temple is being planned in Japan, and now we are told there are more than 5,000 families are newly inducted into Jainism," he adds.
In 2005, a Japanese traveller Churushi Miyazawa came to India met Gachadhipati Swargiya Jayantsen Suriswarji Maharaj Saheb, a senior monk. After the discussion on beliefs, she decided to follow Jainism. The charm of the religion inspired her. After accepting the religion, her name was changed to Tulsi.
In her interview with media, she said, "My guru entrusted me with a bigger task: To spread Jainism across Japan. Every month, since then I have been travelling to India four to five times a year with hundreds of Japanese who are ready to embrace Jainism."
"There they fast for eight days (Atthai) by merely consuming warm water. Even children follow Paryushan and keep fasts for a day or two. The appeal of ahimsa or non-violence propounded by Jainism has found a connection with all of us," Tulsi added.
Her media statements revealed that she has been propagating Jainism within Japanese people past fifteen years. As a result, now more people want to follow Jainism path. Not only have thousands of Japanese turned to Jainism, but many are taking up monkhood. The popularity of Jainism is spreading in Naganoken, Osaka and Tokyo.
Jainism is a minority religion in Japan. At present, there are three Jain temples in Japan. In the 1950s, Forty Japanese students were sponsored by the Government of India. Some of them studied Navinaya in Varanasi and Gujarat, which led to new interest in the study of Jainism in Japan. One of the accomplishments was the first Japanese book by Minakata Kumagusu to simplify and translate the concepts of Jainism into Japanese for use by the ordinary people in Japan.
Buddhism, another Indian origin religion, is a major religion in Japan, and it has the second-highest number of followers in the country after Shintoism. Though followers of these religions reside in Japan, no significant conflicts regarding beliefs have occurred there. Till today, the co-existence of followers of these religions does not affect their day to day life.