IMPHAL, May 27 - A popular seasonal flower, which was newly reported in India last month by Manipur-based scientist Dr H Birkumar of North East Institute of Science and Technology, became the centre of attraction during a anniversary function of World War II here.
Known as Kombirei in Manipuri and Kakitsubata in Japanese, this mauve-blue flower Iris Laevagata Fisch (Japanese Iris), is an indigenous species of Japan for more than one thousand years, according to Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu.
Terming the use of this flower in Manipuri New Year � Cheiraoba in April as a �mysterious link between Japan and Imphal�, the Japanese Ambassador while addressing the 73rd anniversary of Battle of Imphal, World War II, here recently, said, �I regret I do not know how or why this Japanese Kakitsubata was passed to Manipur and has been loved as Yaralpat ki Kombirei (meaning Kombirei of Yaral lake).�
Reacting to it, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh jokingly said that the flower might have passed to Japan from Manipur as people here offer it during Cheiraoba every year. The function was held under the aegis of Manipur Tourism Forum and 2nd World War Imphal Campaign Foundation in association with Tourism department,
However, the visiting Japanese envoy in his concluding remark said that their humble initiatives will bear fruits and eventually bloom as flowers if friendship between Japan and States of Manipur and Nagaland.
The Japanese envoy was here with a 31-member delegation comprising officials of various Japanese companies based in India, to attend the anniversary function of the WW II. They paid floral tribute to the departed Japanese soldiers at the Indian Peace Memorial at Maibam Lokpaching, also called Red Hill which is a historic site of fierce battle of WW II, 16 km south of here.
Presumably, there are still approximately ten thousand remains of Japanese soldiers in Manipur and Nagaland, according to Japanese envoy. It is estimated that 5,000 soldiers belonging to Indian National Army, 5,000 to British Commonwealth Force and 30,000 to Japanese Army sacrificed their lives. The people of Manipur and Nagaland suffered greatly from these battles including aerial bombings.
The Japan Government is planning to dispatch a team for collecting the remains within this fiscal year. Japan had reportedly lost around 2.4 million lives in battlefields outside it�s nation during the War. Japan which had reportedly set nine years from fiscal 2016 as a period to intensively accelerate efforts to collect the remains of the war dead, had already conducted a collection project in Manipur some years back.
The visiting Japanese envoy also had a discussion with Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on possible future cooperative projects including infrastructure development and people to people exchange programmes. He also invited 25 persons from Manipur and Nagaland to visit Japan this Autumn besides holding a seminar in Imphal in November for students who want to study in Japan.