by Gasho Ishikawa, Magician, Author and Journalist, Tokyo Japan

In June 1937, one twenty-four year old Indian magician, fresh from college, visited the shores of Japan by the P. & O. liner Sirdhana with his selected magic show. He gave successful magic performances in Kobe on June 20th at the India Club, attended by the Prince of Mysore, Mr. & Mrs. Saxsena (Indian Trade Commissioner), Mr. & Mrs. Inamdar, Dr. Godbole (delegates to the World Education Conference), members of the India Club, the Indian Social Society, the President, Indian National Committee and Indian Trade Association in addition to all the Indian residents of Kobe and Osaka. This show proved very successful and lavish reports were published in all the Japanese newspapers. He later gave shows in Kobe under the joint auspices of the Kansai Japan-India Society and the Federation ofBuddhist Associations. Sorcar also performed in Tokyo under the arrangement of Late Rash Behary Bose and others. Ananda Mohan Sahay of India lodge, Kobe organized his Japan tour, which received very good receptions from both the press and public of Japan.      But the real hit was on June 15, 1937 when Sorcar visited Nakaza Theatre, Osaka, where Japan's Number One (Lady) Illusionist Ten Katsu was giving her full stage show. Sorcar mystified her and she received Sorcar most enthusiastically and gave various letters of introductions to the important persons. This news of Sorcar and Ten Katsu appreciating each other's shows was published throughout the world through the United Press news agency.  I was then the manager of Ten Katsu's Company From my young age I am very fond of magic and allied arts and my association with Ten Katsu (one of the world's outstanding stage illusionists at that time) gave me ample opportunity in learning more about this most ancient Art of Magic. Even in this advanced age, I could not get rid of the Magic bug. I now devote most of spare times in the researches on Magic, about the Art and Science and Psychology of Magic. I regularly contribute articles on Magic in the various Japanese magazines and newspapers. I have in the meantime authored several text books on Magic for the juveniles and have written introductions for a good number of top magicians who have visited Japan.

After an interval of many years Sorcar visited Japan again in 1954 with his big illusion show comprising tons of equipment and dozens of assistants. He was brought to Japan by the Russian Impresario V.O. Dziubinski mainly for the entertainment of the U.S. troop stationed in Japan. Sorcar gave his shows at the Kurits Kodo Theatre, Tokyo, sponsored by the Nippon Beer Company; Octagon Theatre, Yokohama and notably Takarazuka Theare, Tokyo at that time known as Ernie Pyle Theatre. This mammoth Takarazuka Theatre which is comparable to only the Radio City Music Hall, New York, is very gigantic and requires very big eye-filling apparatus and company to properly stage a show. On Friday, the 14th March 1954, Sorcar had his opening show i the Takarazuka Theatre and made a hit with his visible sawing through a lady with buzz saw and the vanishing of a new Ford car on the open stage and many others spectacular stage illusions. Sorcar was then made Honorary Member of The Japan Magic Association on 18th March 1954, and was accorded Reception by the various small and big groups of  Japanese Magicians. Sorcar was given a big reception in the Dinner Party of Tokyo Amateur Magic Circle, of which he was already the first non Japanese Honorary Member since June 1937, while Dr. T. Ogata was its President. At that time Sorcar's Magic was filmed, taped and photographed from the different angles for the future reference and records. Urataro Uehara IBM, Iwaji kodama, T. Sakamoto, and many others became his first friends, and rendered every possible help to the visiting Indian Magician. Sorcar with his  amiable nature, friendly disposition, and big eye-catching stage illusion show made a great hit amongst all the Japanese Magicians. No wonder that his photographs appear in many of the Japanese books on Magic. He got spontaneous receptions from the Press and the Public of Japan. But the Great Sorcar show IND-DRA-JAL made the real hit during his Cultural Exchange tour to Japan in 1964. On 6th February 1964, I was present along with hundreds of journalists and many hundreds of press photographers during his opening performance at San Kei Hall, Tokyo, under the arrangement of the Art Friend Association and the Embassy of India in Japan. I was delighted to meet Sorcar both on and off the stage and I wrote many illustrated articles about his fabulous Magic show in the Japanese newspapers and magazines. All the National magazines and newspapers of Japan published Sorcar news and stories most lavishly. The Mainichi Graphic on 8th March 1964 and The Asahi Picture News of 21.2.1964 (these magazines of America in quality and size) devoted their valuable four Full Pages with the multi-colour action pictures and portrait of SORCAR and his world famous INDDRAJAL. His Cutting a Lady in Half with Electric Saw on an open table, Water of India spectacle, feats of X-Ray Eyes, The Dragon Illusion, Floating Lady (Aerial Suspension) were lavishly featured in all the Japanese National Magazines and newspapers. Open any periodical, newspaper, even the monthly juvenile magazines and you will find fantastic reports and dozens of action photographs of Sorcar performing his miracles. On 3rd February 1964 his show was televised by the Japanese Government NHK-TV.

After full one month's run with full houses daily at the San Kei Hall, Tokyo, the great IND-DRA-JAL party moved to other important cities of Japan with the same show. That a Magic show can be so popular, so much lucrative and so much astounding, was still beyond our imagination before this visit of Sorcar to Japan. Japan has been visited by all the topmost illusionists and magicians of the world but none of them ever got such fantastic reception like the Great Sorcar. He has made the people of Japan Magic conscious once again. The report of Sorcar being honoured by the President of the Government of India by offering the award 'PADMASHRI' was known to the people of Japan. The Yomiuri, National English Daily Newspaper of Japan in its issue of February 6, 1964 stated under bold three lines heading . . . "Invaluable Living Asset from India Brings Black Art". George V. Nikolaidis published in another English Daily The Mainichi Daily News in its issue of February 29, 1964 a big report about "Traditional Art of Indrajal". On 28th February 1964 evening Sorcar and Company was given a Grand Reception Party by the Indian Ambassador Lalji Mehrotra which was attended by the top diplomatic officials of other countries in Tokyo. Sorcar easily became the star attraction in Tokyo. Sorcar easily became the star attraction and everywhere his fans gathered in thousands to have his autographs and photographs. During the shows, after the shows, in the airports, railroad stations, everywhere Sorcar was received with profuse flowers garlands and bouquets. The highest record was in Kushiro City (Hokkaido) on 27th April 1964 at 3-30 P.M., where Govt. Brass bands played, the Mayor of the City led the procession. There was the traditional red carpet and the mile-long motorcade. Each car had one big English Alphabet on it specially made of flowers and flower garlands so that from the aerial view it will read: "THE GREAT SORCAR OF INDIA WELCOME TO KUSHIRO". We have yet to see any top foreign dignitary ever to receive such a fantastic reception. In every city Sorcar had full houses, they clamoured  for extra shows and further extensions. But Sorcar stayed only FOUR months and then had to leave Japan, due to previous engagements in other countries But he assured another visit in his earliest opportunity.

Sorcar kept his promise. Sorcar and company visited Japan with bigger and better show . . . they came to Tokyo from India on 29th December 1965. He repeated his same success again this year and toured for full FIVE months. This year the authorities booked the biggest possible theatres, sometimes the sports centers and stadiums to accommodate the maximum number of audience in each show. He opened at the Koshei Nenkin Hall, Tokyo having a seating capacity of over two thousand in each show. the house was completely sold out weeks in advance, so extra matinee shows had to be laid everyday at 2 P.M. at Yen 1500 top admission prices. Unfortunately, I could not attend the Gala Opening Show of Sorcar this time, as I was in hospital. But luckily the whole show was fully televised by the Fuji television directly from the koshei nenkin Hall.

I enjoyed the whole show from my hospital sick bed. I saw the familiar face, I heard the familiar voice addressing the crowd and the sky-rocketing applause of the most enthusiastic Japanese audience. Sorcar's wardrobe is always exotic and flashy, his orchestra in complete harmony with his illusions, his smart assistants work with precision, flawless and perfect. His set, scenery and lighting effects are most stupendous and above all his strong personality and showmanship was prolifically commanding.    I have seen him appearing from the huge BOOK OF MAGIC on the pages of which are the pictures of

Houdini, Robert Houdin, Kio, Kalanag and our own Ten Katsu. The whole audience howled in joy when they saw the life-like picture of Ten Katsu. There was a tear of joy in my eyes when I found the King of Magic, my friend Sorcar appearing from the blank India page. Sorcar showed illusion after illusion in quick succession. In his hands everything worked like a miracle. Motor car vanished with many passengers on board, the girl vanished from the suspended net, lady astronauts took their aerial flight via Sputnik (Rocket) Illusion. Girls were made to appear, disappear mostly from unlikely places, cut into pieces with electric saw. There was an amazing Black art routine ending in beautiful Cleopatra. The whole show ran like a well tuned engine. Later, I met Sorcar on many occasions even in private, his hotel room where we had long long heart-to-heart talks on Magic. Sorcar says, "When asleep I breathe Magic; when awake I work Magic." Really SORCAR himself is MAGIC. When shall I see him again???