NEPAL AND JAPAN Tale Of Two Gentlemen

Although Kenichi Tanaka and Chandi Prasad Shrestha visited each other's countries in two different circumstances, in the early 1980s, they have a lot of things to share

June 2, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.9 No 22, June 3,2016 (Jesth 21)

Although Kenichi Tanaka came to Nepal as a JOCV volunteer, as a math teacher in 1981, in circumstances when Nepal was almost closed, he made a space for work and he has been serving Nepal from time to time in different positions for almost 37 years with a great attachment to the country. 

When Tanaka arrived in Nepal 37 years ago, Nepal’s literacy rate was below 30 percent and road connectivity was negligible. Similarly, there were limited numbers of flights to reach Nepal. Nepal was in the initial stage of development. However, Tanaka, a citizen of a developed country, enjoyed working in Nepal for its prosperity.

Former secretary Shrestha, who likes to live simple, went to Japan in 1984 as a tax officer to get training in the modern tax system. Despite coming from a complex and developed country, Tanaka got easily adjusted while leaving behind all the modern facilities.

Tanaka served in Nepal in different capacities to improve the education system in Nepal. Now he is working under JICA Strengthening Community Mediation Capacity for Peaceful and Harmonious Society Phase II (JICA COMCAP II).

Shrestha also used his skills and knowledge he gained in Japan to improve taxation system in Nepal and worked as the president of JAAN for a long time serving people. He too maintains his connections with Tokyo.


“We do share a lot of things with Japan. Both of the countries follow oriental culture. Nepal used to be a Kingdom with monarchy till 2008. Japanese and Nepalese people have very unique relations at people to people level,” said former secretary Shrestha.

Coming as a Japanese Overseas Volunteer in 1981, KENICHI TANAKA, chief advisor of Strengthening Community Mediation Capacity for Peaceful Harmonious Society Project Phase II (JICA COMCAP II) under Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has been serving in Nepal in different capacities. However, TANAKA spent most of his time in Nepal serving in the education sector. Tanaka spent his two years from 1981-83 as a volunteer. He left Japan after completing his job as a volunteer. He served his second tenure 1895-1990 in primary education sector as a senior volunteer. Tanaka has been working in community mediation sector since 2010 till now

Kenichi Tanaka has also unique experience of Nepal, “When he came to Nepal back in 1981 his family did not know much about Nepal. Now whenever three of his family members sit together in his home in Tokyo, they often talk about Nepal. As Tanaka, whose first choice was to serve in Africa, has so much attached with Nepal, his family members also have Nepal in their minds all the time,” said Tanaka.

“I returned to Japan completing my two years as a volunteer. I returned to Nepal in 1985-1990 as a senior volunteer of JOCV and I was posted to Curriculum Development Center. My job was to advise the center in improving the mathematics and science curriculum on the basis of study done by JOCV Volunteers. I was planning to go to USA when I was selected to work as a senior volunteer.  In 1985, there were 25 volunteers in mathematics and science working in Dolakha, Lamjung and Sindhupalchwok. I was selected as a senior volunteer because of experiences in speaking Nepali language and working in the village. I was posted to Curriculum Development Center with a sole purpose to revise the curriculum of mathematics and science. In 1990, the curriculum was revised,” said Tanaka.

The narration of senior JICA advisor Tanaka and former secretary Shrestha has explained how Nepal and Japan moving closer side by side learning each other at all the levels.





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