The 115th Birth Anniversary of Japanese Philanthropist Takiko Yoshida who opened up opportunities for Sri Lankans in Japan is celebrated today (16).
On the occasion of Ms. Yoshida’s 115th Birth Anniversary, a commemorative ceremony will be held at the Yoshida Preschool and Yoshida Shokanji International School (YSIS) premises in Sapugaskanda, its Director Hemakumara Gunasekara said.
Venerable Banagala Thera, who arrived at Abeysekarama Vihara in Sapugaskanda from Japan, established the Yoshida Education and Social Service Foundation and launched the first Traditional Japanese Early Childhood Development Centre in Sapugaskanda, on June 26, 1979. Ms. Yoshida arrived in Sri Lanka and fully contributed to the initiative.
At that time, there was no talk of travelling to Japan for work or educational purposes from Sri Lanka. Everyone in Sri Lanka was focused on sending their children to countries like England, the USA and Germany. The discussion in Sri Lanka about employment and educational opportunities in Japan commenced when Banagala Thera sent a large number of Sri Lankan girls to Japan to study early childhood development education for the first time.
The country called Japan gained popularity among Sri Lankans thanks to the efforts of Ms. Yoshida and Banagala Thera. These early childhood development centers known as “Japanese Preschools” were established in Nittambuwa, Horana, Nuwara Eliya, Maththegoda, Agalawatta, Polgasowita, Malambe, Kandy and Neluwa with the help of Japanese philanthropists under the coordination of Ms. Yoshida.
Since then, Ms. Yoshida has become one of Sri Lanka’s closest and dearest development assistants. That’s why many Sri Lankans fondly call her “Okasan Amma”.
Born on August 16, 1908 in Kyushu, Japan, Ms. Yoshida later married a renowned surgeon, Kishi Yoshida, and became a shareholder of Yoshida Hospital, one of the largest private hospitals in Japan today.
She offered to provide free medical treatment at that hospital to many people including the Mahanayake Theras of Sri Lanka. Ms. Yoshida was a renowned Japanese woman who was highly respected by monks and Buddhist leaders in Sri Lanka.