PHASE 1 of ISKCON-Japan:
Article by His Grace Satyadeva Prabhu
Prabhupada stayed briefly over night in Tokyo, Hanada in early 1969 on his way to India, which technically was his first visit to Japan. There was no temple yet. I believe Prabhupada was in poor health and was going back to India in order to recover and was only traveling with one persona servant..
In late 1969, Prabhupada sent Sudama, who was then his personal servant in SF, along with Balimardana Prabhu, who was Prabhupada’s right hand ISKCON manager, to start a temple in Japan. They first went to Kyoto and stayed there for about two months. Someone suggested they move to Tokyo for preaching and they did. The first temple in Tokyo was located in Shibuya about a ten minute bus ride from Shibuya station. Balimardan Prabhu soon left Japan after that and went on to establish a temple in Australia. Prabhupada sent reinforcements to assist Sudama Prabhu. He sent Sudama a wife, Chintamani Mataji, Burijana, Satyabrata, and Amoga Prabhus in early 1970.
In August of 1970, Prabhupada officially visited Tokyo, Japan and the new temple along with some of his senior disciples- Brahmananda, Devananda, Tamal Krishna, Madhuvisa, Karitkeya and Kirtananda Swami. Prabhupada was traveling from America to India with the intention of formally establishing his ISKCON in India. Up until this time Prabhupada had been concentrating his preaching efforts in America and Europe. Therefore Prabhupada was traveling with an entourage of his senior disciples to assist him in preaching in India. Also Prabhupada was in Japan to sign a book publishing contract with Dai nippon Printing company who had agreed to print the Krishna Book.
This group of devotees were daily going to Ginza in Tokyo to perform Harinam sankirtan. I had been in Japan about two months and happened to meet the kirtan party in Ginza one day in August of 1970 while Prabhupada was still in Japan. It happened to be Janmastami day. I was invited back to the temple to attend Janmastami midnight feast and Vyasapuja of Srila Prabhupada the next day. It was on that Day i first was greatly blessed to meet His divine Grace and take his shelter. My name at the time was Bhakta Matthew. Bhakta Bruce was also attending ISKCON Tokyo temple at that time and he also joined the movement on that auspicious day. Bhakta Bruce, later receive the name, Bhanu Swami! attached is a picture i have of my first Hari Nam in Ginza on that auspicious day.