‘I Want to See Kudla Clean Like My Hometown, Tokyo’- Japanese Citizen Masahiro Monoi

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‘I Want to See Kudla Clean Like My Hometown, Tokyo’- Japanese Citizen Masahiro Monoi

Mangaluru: He Came, He Saw ‘Dirty Mangaluru’, and He Conquered the Hearts of Many, through his committed, dedicated and hardworking service towards volunteering in the Ramakrishna Mission ‘Swachh Mangaluru Campaign” for the Cleanliness of Mangaluru- which is his present Home away from his Birth Home in japan-Papan. Meet 42-year-old Masahiro Monoi, a citizen of Japan, who migrated to India in, and just like many other foreigners who came to India for work or love and decided to make the country their home have become upbeat about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious “Clean India” campaign. They, however, including Masahiro cautioned that the execution of the mission remains a “Big Challenge”, since many Indians still abuse “Swachh Bharath Abhiyan” by continuing to litter, wherever they want to.

Looking at the slow progress of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” which was launched by the Prime Minister Modi Oct 2,2014 the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, to make India a clean and better place to live, it has a long way to go before Modi’s Dream becomes True, because many Indians still are ignorant and reluctant to keep their surroundings clean. “Modi is really dynamic and the (Swachh Bharat) mission is a wonderful initiative. The execution of the mission is a big challenge, like any other initiative. Let’s try taking care of our own garbage at least to start with. We ourselves have to do it from our small surrounding environment. I tell you it is effective for your physical fitness also. I am glad to be part of Ramakrishna Mission ‘Swachh Mangaluru Campaign”, which I started to volunteer last year, with an aim to see a cleaner and greener Mangaluru ” said Masahiro who came to Mangaluru in October 2012, and since then has made Mangaluru his another home.

On the conclusion ceremony of the 4th Phase of this Cleanliness Campaign by Ramakrishna Mission on 29 July 2018 held at Ramakrishna Mission Auditorium, Masahiro Monoi along with three other volunteers of this Campaign were felicitated by the Chief guest, for their Hard Work, Dedication and Sacrifice- and they all received a loud applaud from the audience. Team Mangalorean met Masahiro after the programme, to find out his experience by volunteering in this Swachh Campaign. When asked what made him to come to Mangaluru all the way from Tokyo-Japan, he said.

“It all started few years ago, when one of my friend Matsumoto from Tokyo visited United States of America, and there he met a Mangalorean by the name of Shivanand Adiga at College, and they both became close friends. When my friend returned to Tokyo, he spoke good things about Adiga and also about Mangaluru. And since I always to open a business in a different country, to spread Japanese Culture and Traditions, I decided to migrate to Mangaluru. Although there are many Japanese in India, but the spread of Japanese culture is zero. Here in Mangaluru as far as I know, there are only eight Japanese, three Japanese ladies run a Restaurant/snack shack in Attavar, and there is a Japanese family of four, where they design Japanese clothes and ship it to Japan- and myself.”

Masahiro Monoi started a small business by the name ‘Japcul Style Pvt Ltd’, along with his partner Mangalorean Shameem Abbas in 2013, which is a Japanese Food and Condiments Manufacturer, and they have clients in Mangaluru, Bengaluru, Kerala and other Indian Cities. Monoi makes trip to Tokyo twice a year, to see his parents back home. When asked what made him to volunteer in Ramakrishna Mission’s Swachh Mangaluru Abhiyan, he said, “My partner Shameem Abbas had first joined this campaign, and later he spoke good things about this campaign, which motivated me to volunteer also. So since November 2017 I have almost participated every Sunday morning in this campaign, with great enthusiasm”.

When asked about the laws and punishment for littering in Tokyo, Monoi said, ” All cities in Japan are clean, due to strict laws. If a person is found littering on the streets in Japan, he/she will be fined 3,26,730.00 Japanese Yen, equivalent to Rs 2 lakh; and if a garbage truck dumps waste in a public area, they will be fined 98,00,700.00 Japanese Yen, equivalent to Rs 60 lakhs, plus at least five years imprisonment. Therefore everyone is very careful in keeping their surroundings clean in Japan. Japan actually has fewer dustbins than other countries in public spaces. The government doesn’t spend millions on billboards and notices threatening people to use dustbins or in employing cleaners to keep the streets clean. Everybody just follows a simple policy – Do not throw your trash on the floor.”

“Common road signs in Japan tell people to carry their own garbage and take it home. To reinforce this, a lot of public areas in Japanese cities don’t have dustbins at all and this actually works. This inculcates a habit where people just prefer to carry it with them and throw it in the dustbin when they’re home. In Japan, it’s considered rude if you eat anything while walking around. Japan has the highest per-capita concentration of vending machines in the world. But the practice of ‘never walk and eat at the same time’ means that everyone just finishes their food from the vending machines while standing there, and then dispose off the wrapper in a recycling bin that almost always accompanies vending machines. Most people in Japan also carry a handkerchief around at all times to avoid using paper towels and tissue paper.” added Masahiro.

When mentioned about the littering habits of Indians, Monoi said, “India needs stronger legislation and higher fines for littering and defecating in public. Just like Japan, even Singapore, which has a litter law dating from 1968, means litter bugs can be fined $1,000 {around Rs 67,000} for the first conviction and $5,000 for repeat convictions. On top of that, you’ll be forced to do community labour. And if you offend three times, you’ll have to wear a sign, which states, “I am a litter lout”. For the Swachh Bharat program to be a success we need in parallel, stronger legislation and stiffer fines to change the existing habits of the people here coupled with policing to ensure that there is a fear inducted into the India psyche to stop littering and defecating in the open.”

Masahiro further said, “If the Modi government is successful in energizing the people in every corner of India, especially in growing cities, including Mangaluru, and changing their mindsets, India can be like Japan or any European country in terms of tidiness. Change of mindset is necessary. Indian men still pee on the roads and this is one of the most unfortunate things. What people need to understand is that they have to take responsibility. Unless this happens, these drives/campaigns are meaningless. Cleanliness is a fundamental responsibility of every citizen. If people are not willing to keep their surroundings clean, then how can a government’s initiative change their mindset towards it. The people in India have a perception that it is the role of the government to keep the public places clean and general citizens do not have any role towards it. The Modi government, of course, is doing a great thing. However, until punishment and fines are imposed, the mindsets of the people can’t be changed”.

In conclusion, when asked what would be his message to the citizens of India, including Mangaloreans, Masahiro Monoi said, “The ‘Swachh Mangaluru/Bharat Abhiyan’ is a much-needed public awareness programme undertaken by Ramakrishna Mission, which also brings awareness among the citizens to keep the City clean. This drive is ‘phenomenal and a much-needed initiative’. It’s great to see how this campaign has motivated so many citizens of Mangaluru, and also myself, in a short time to really make a difference and contribute with their efforts, but people have to put more commitment and efforts for its success. The Clean Mangaluru Mission by Ramakrishna Mission is a necessity and I am glad that it has been taken up as a project at the highest level. It is definitely encouraging to see everyone getting involved. Mangaloreans should opt to make Mangaluru ‘Green’, which will surely make their hearts ‘Clean’. People should use their common sense by not littering, and they should strictly follow the ‘Don’t Litter’ rules, only then we can see a better and cleaner Mangaluru”.

And after having a nice chat with Masahiro at his Japanese Food Factory in Yeyyadi, where he offered me a Dorayaki cake, and knowing that he was still a bachelor, so in a lighter side of vein I asked him, if he finds a nice Indian lady in Mangaluru, would he marry and settle here- for which in huge smiles and laughter he said, ” Why not, I would love to if opportunity strikes?”. So all you single ladies out there, if you are looking for a Japanese man as your life partner, you don’t have to go far as Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka, because your future hubby is right here in Kudla? Best of luck, and don’t forget to send a wedding invitation to Team Mangalorean!


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4 Comments

  1. What a lovely story to read about Masahiro-san’s residence in Mangalore along with his dear wife, and virtually settling down in our home town as a result of his close acquaintance with Mr. Adiga. Mr. and Mrs.Masahiro need our special recognition. They are an unique guests in our home town and our country, and hope they will remain with us for a long time. We should make him and his wife our “Uncrowned Ambassadors”of Mangalore and should seek his guidance and help in many of his expertise of Japan.

    We have visited Japan several times, and our last visit to Japan was last year when we made a cruise journey from U.S.A. to Japan via Canada and Russia thru the Arctic region. We were truly impressed to see the progress achieved by Japan over the past few decades, particularly their pollution control and the general cleanliness all over Japan. We have fond memories of Japan and we are also mindful of all their hospitalities and courtesies which we all have to learn and cultivate in our country

    Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Masahiro for all your friendship and goodwill towards Mangalore and India. Please let us know your address in Mangalore so as to enable us to communicate with you.

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