Little Japan in Armenia


Little Japan in Armenia: it has been already two and a half years that there functions a Japanese club in Yerevan. The president of that cultural center is Michael Baghdasaryan.  The prerequisite of the establishment of that center was Armenian University founded in Tokyo in 1986, which was later, renamed Japan-Armenia Friendship Association – JAFA. The members of the association not only learn Armenian, but they also study the history and culture of our country.

The head of the association is Hideharu Nakajima, who has deeply studied the history of Armenia and a number of achieve materials. In 1994 there was published his first book dedicated to the Armenian Genocide. Soon there will also be published his second book this time about the newly independent Armenian and the Gharabagh movement. Communicating with Mr. Nakajima and other members of JAFA, Michael Baghdasaryan decided to establish such an organization in Armenia, which will become a bridge between the two countries and will contribute to the strengthening of cultural ties.

The club is “located” in one of the schools of Yerevan, where the Japanese teach Japanese. In the cultural center, there function groups of ikebana and origami. Here they also go in for two branches of aikido martial arts – kendo and kobudo. The events dedicated to the Japanese culture are not news here. There are invited scientists, who deliver lectures about Japan and transfer their impressions to the members of the club.

Recently there delivered a lecture in the club ethnographer Levon Abrahamyan, who had spent four months on the Japanese island Hokkaido. In the club, they celebrate the Japanese holidays, especially spring holidays (tanabata matsuri) and Dolls’ Holiday (Hinamatsuri). The aim of the club is to spread the Japanese culture in Armenia and to spread the Armenian culture in Japan. The Japanese club of Armenia cooperates with the Japan-Armenia Friendship Association. It has already twice received Japanese in Armenia and has presented the sightseeing of our country after which the Japanese had published their impression in the media of their country.

In 2000, when there was organized Global Tourism Exhibition in Tokyo, JAFA had supported the presentation of the Armenian pavilion. This year also there was organized such an event in Yokogama city, where they have provided Armenia with a separate pavilion. There were presented Armenian carpets, national musical instruments, samples of Art.

“The interest towards Armenia was so big, that we were forced to post detailed information about Armenia”, said Michael Baghdasaryan. In his opinion besides culture and tourism, the economic and political ties, the cooperation with such a great country are also important and they can be beneficial for Armenia.


the material is taken from

translated from Armenian into English by M.Vardanyan