India and Hindu culture has influenced many countries in East Asia. The evidence of practices similar to that of the Indian Subcontinent can be seen around the world.
Here is how ‘Vignahartha’ Ganesha is worshipped around the world. The worship of Ganesha by Hindus outside of India shows regional variation.
Ganesha was a deity particularly worshipped by traders and merchants, who went out of India for commercial ventures. As Ganesha removes every obstacle when prayed to, his worship was adopted by many foreign cultures. In fact, He is one of the most venerated Gods in Asia!
The Thai people love their Elephant-headed God, Phra Phikanet or Phra Phikanesuan the one who grants wisdom and removes obstacles. His shrines are present all over Thailand. He is also present on the emblem of the department of Fine arts! His ‘birthday’ Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated all around Thailand.
Tibetan idea of Ganesha shows a different representation of him. In one Tibetan form, he is shown being trodden under foot by Mahākala, a popular Tibetan deity. Other depictions show him as the Destroyer of Obstacles, sometimes dancing.
Ganapati, Maha Rakta (The Great Red Lord of Hosts or Ganas) is a Tantric Buddhist form of Ganapati related to the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras. This form of Ganapati is regarded as an avatar of Avalokiteshvara.
There is another legend in Tibetan mythology that attributes Ganesha a role in establishing an institution of Lamaism. According to a scholar of Buddhism, Y. Krishan, the theory of Ganesha and Lamaism goes that in the 11th or 12th century, Ganapati took hold of the brother of Sakya Pandita in his trunk and set him down on the peak of the Meru mountain and prophesied that one day all of the provinces of Tibet will be ruled by his descendants
In Myanmar, the King of Brahmas called Arsi, lost a bet to the King of Devas, shakra or Indra, who decapitated Arsi as agreed but put the head of an elephant on the Brahma’s body who then became Ganesha– a God who removes obstacles. But the Brahma was so powerful that if the head was thrown into the sea it would dry up immediately. If it was thrown onto land it would go barren. If it were thrown up into the air the sky would burst into flames. Indra, therefore, instructed one princess to carry the head and they would take turns one after another for a year each.
A Ganesha statue from the 1st century was found on Mount Raksa in Panaitan Island, the Ujung Kulon National Park, West Java.
Similar idols can be seen in the town of Bali, where Hinduism exists harmoniously with other religions of the region. Ganesha as in Hindu culture is worshipped there too.
The story in Japan is very different that the Indian. In India, God is the one, shining his love over the devotees. However, in Japan, Binayaka is said to be of evil nature, creator of dispute, and leading people towards immoral ways!
There are various versions of this story, but the most popular one is where the king of Vinayakas, turned bad and started slaughtering humans. The people prayed to Lord Avalokiteshvara, who took the female form and pacified this god. Thus, he is the remover of obstacles, and is worshipped by the people of Japan!
This may be due to the influence of Buddhism, to establish supremacy the depiction goes a Hindu God was controlled by a Buddhist one.
Ganesha traveled to Borneo, the farthest point to the east. There, in a cave at Kombeng, a four-armed Ganesha is seen among other gods. Two of his attributes, ax and japamala, can be identified. He has a straight trunk, protuberance between the eyebrows and a Jatamukuta.
Ganesha can be seen as the sixth-century Kung–Hsien. He sits in vajrasana holding a lotus in the right hand and either a sweetmeat ball or jewel in the left.
At Tun–huang, Ganesha is shown with Kartikeya, his brother. Ganesha is shown wearing pleated lower garment and flowing scarf, seated in ardhaparyankasana carrying a broken tusk in his left hand and a ball of sweetmeats in the right. He is seen lifting it with his trunk turned in that direction.
From a humble deity worshipped in regular households, Ganesha pooja rose to unbelievable heights, surpassing the familiarity of Trimurti: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. He is the one who traversed practically many continents like none other divinity crossing the lengthy borders on all sides of this vast country-India.