Armenians have carried out large-scale activities in Japan since the middle of the 19th century. Armenians who settled in Japan came mostly from India and were occupied with marine trade. In the 20th century, the number of Armenian merchants in Japan increased thanks to the arrivals of Armenian migrant families from the Middle East, especially, from Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.
Diana Abgar (Anahit Aghabekyan-Abgaryan, 1859-1937) who was a writer and a public speaker was one of the best known Armenian figures of Japan. In 1920 she was appointed as the consul of the first republic of Armenia in Japan, she was also the first woman to be appointed as consul.
Currently, there are only an estimated 70-80 Armenians in Japan, who live mostly in Tokyo. There are Armenians who have immigrated from Armenia, Iran, and from other countries of the Middle East. Armenians of Japan work in many different spheres: science, education, business, and IT. There are also students who came from Armenia.
There are 2 community organizations in Japan, the Japan-Armenia Friendship Association (JAFA) and the Japan-Armenia Society (JAS).
The Japan-Armenia Friendship Association was founded in 1984 by a Japanese social activist, historian, and writer named Hideharu Nakajima. Today, this association contributes to the spread of Armenian history and culture in Japan.
The Japan-Armenia Society (JAS) was founded in 1999. The association mostly supported the development of Armenian-Japanese political and economic relations. In 2010, after the opening of the Armenian Embassy in Japan, the organization became less active and in September of 2018, it ceased its activities.
In December of 2015, with the support of the Armenian Embassy of Japan, the Khachkar of Peace was placed in the International Christian University (ICU). The Khachkar was the first Armenian monument in Japan.
Additionally, the Komitas Musical Society of Japan was founded in 2015. There is also a center of Armenian studies in Tokyo, which publishes the informational newspapers “Ararat” and “Araqs” in Japanese.