Many artists that watched the destruction of the Great East Japan Earthquake a year ago have said in media interviews that they’ve struggled with how to interpret the disaster. The taiko (drum) troupe at the International Christian University is no different.
The students titled their performance “Shichitenbatto,” which is an old Japanese saying that literally translates as “rolling seven times, falling eight times.” The saying is meant to describe a feeling of writhing in agony.
According to troupe member Ayaka Nakasone, the event was originally titled “Nanakorobi yaoki,” a Japanese saying composed of similar kanji but translates as “rolling seven times, getting up on the eighth.” Thus the meaning conveys a feeling that there’s always an opportunity to get back on your feet after hardship.
Nakasone says the troupe debated the title of the performance.
“We decided to change the title, because it is too easy to tell people to just get up after the disasters,” she says. “We have been struggling with a feeling that there’s nothing we can do for the situation. Now we want to express that we can still do something even though we’re rolling and falling again and again.”
Besides including traditional and festive music from different regions of Japan, the program will also feature original works, such as “Ouka” (“Joy to Live”), which was created in 1990 by the founding members of the troupe.
Proceeds from the performance will be donated to the nonprofit organization KnK Japan to support children in the disaster-hit area.
“Shichitenbatto” takes place at Asakusa Kokaido in Taito Ward, Tokyo, on March 10 (5:30 p.m.) and March 11 (2:30 p.m.). Tickets cost ¥1,800 (¥1,000 for students). For more information, call (080) 3500-1727 or visit bit.ly/7ten8tto.