Tohoku artists perform at U.N.’s HQ

Kyodo

A group of mostly traditional artists from Tohoku put on a show Monday at the U.N. headquarters to display solidarity with disaster victims around the world.

The event included performances of the “wakumizu kagura” dance from Tono, Iwate Prefecture, and “wadaiko” drumming by the Ondeko-za group.

The Japan Foundation jointly organized the show and said the performances ahead of the first anniversary of the March 11 quake and tsunami were dedicated to victims of disasters and conflicts around the world.

The event also was intended to express Japan’s gratitude to the international community for its postdisaster support and to demonstrate that the nation is on the way to recovery.

The show was held at the world body’s headquarters because Japan’s mission to the United Nations participated in its planning.

“We have to use the experience of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident to become stronger, more resilient and more united,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said.

“Tonight’s performance demonstrates (Japan’s) powerful resolve. . . . Let us draw inspiration from tonight’s performance to conquer tomorrow’s challenges.”

The audience seemed impressed by the power of the traditional music and performances.

“I just think that the show completely encompassed Japan in its state right now, incorporating the old and the new,” said Jeannette Raymond, a 19-year-old spectator who works for a nongovernment organization.

“I was definitely blown away by the sheer power of the drummers,” she said.

“It is impressive to be here,” said Sebastian Carreau, a 27-year-old student at Columbia University, noting the sounds and tension of the drums were reminiscent of natural disasters.

The show, which has also been held in Los Angeles, is now scheduled to move to Paris, Beijing and Shanghai.