Benoy K Behl


JF Fellowship scholarship gave me the encouragement and opportunity to go to Japan for carrying forward my ongoing research on the subject of ‘Hindu Deities Worshipped in Japan.’

An Indian documentary filmmaker, art historian and photographer known for his work in documenting the art heritage of India and Asia. 

Mr. Behl was a recipient of JF Fellowship (short-term) in 2014. According to Mr. Behl, JF Fellowship provided him encouragement, opportunity as well as financial support to complete his research.

His topic of research was Research & Documentation of the Shared Deities and Artistic Representations of Japan and India.  According to Mr. Behl, “The scholarship was extremely helpful and valuable to me for this project. It also led to the Japan Foundation, Delhi sponsoring my photographic exhibition on the subject of ‘Hindu Deities Worshipped in Japan’. Besides Japan Foundation, leading museums in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru also held this photographic exhibition with enthusiasm.” 

On being asked how JF Fellowship helped him carve his way to today, He said that the fellowship not only helped him with his research but also resulted in the publication of his large-format book ‘Hindu Deities Worshipped in Japan’. The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India then sponsored his film ‘Indian Deities Worshipped in Japan’. 

This is one of the most popular documentary films on the Indian Diplomacy YouTube Channel (over 2,85,000 views).

It has been screened with his talk by the India International Centre, Delhi; India Habitat Centre, Delhi; San Diego Museum of Art, Gandhi Memorial Centre, Washington DC; International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru; St. Stephen’s College, The Japanese Society, Delhi; Indian Museum, Kolkata and many other prestigious institutions. Mr. Behl says that this project has been a ‘feather in my cap as a culture historian and as a photographer’.

When asked about his memories from his stay in Japan, he says that everywhere he visited in Japan, whether it be Nara, Kyoto, Koyasan or the Tokyo region, his heart was always filled with happiness, owing to the courtesy, warmth and generosity of the Japanese people. Much like the belief, he confirms that Japanese people are the ‘kindest, most polite and most helpful people in the world’.

When asked if he has any suggestion for the future fellows, he said that whatever be the subject that a person studies in Japan, they must take benefit of the opportunity of being amidst the people of the generous and courteous culture of Japan. There is much that can be learnt about caring and helpful behaviour from the Japanese people.