Mikako Atsuchi, founder of the arts and music NPO Acchi Cocchi, has witnessed the power of performance to connect and heal. She works to bring music, dance and the visual arts into everyday life in Tohoku and the greater Tokyo area.

A graduate of Musashino Academia Musicae in piano, Atsuchi worked for a classical musical management company for 20 years, but the seeds of Acchi Cocchi were already sprouting while she was still a student.

"I became frustrated at university because everyone was only aiming for an elite level at the top yet, realistically, only 5 percent will ever succeed," she says. "I always knew I wanted to do something beyond the field of music."