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Jamaica’s one love starts in Tokyo and reaches out across Japan

by Sang Woo Kim

Staff Writer

This festival celebrating 50 years of friendship between Japan and Jamaica culminates with a Bob Marley Songs Day competition on Sunday, where the winner will receive the grand prize of a trip to Jamaica. For most visitors, however, Bob Marley’s music is just one of 12 entertaining sets by various musicians, who will also play other reggae and Jamaican tunes.

Additional entertainment highlights include performances by Jamaican reggae dance champions and the Caribbean dance group L’Acadco, a video show and poetry readings.

Volunteers from the Jamaican community residing in Japan will also be offering free creole and dance lessons in the Jamaica Communication Space, while art workshops, a gallery and stalls offering Jamaican coffee, rum, beer and food will introduce visitors to other aspects of Jamaican culture.

The festival, which is held in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park, also asks the public to give a little something back. During its two days, volunteers will be collecting unwanted brass and woodwind instruments for the Alpha Boy’s School, a childcare education institution in Kingston. The instruments will be taken to Jamaica by the Japan-based NGO Peace Boat.

“One Love Jamaica Festival” is free to enter and takes place in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park (B area) from June 21 to 22. Stage performances are from noon to 8 p.m. The festival then moves to Nagano, Aug. 16-17; Nagoya, Sept. 20-21; and to Okinawa, Nov. 22-23. For more information, visit www.onelovejamaicafestival.jp