• Kyodo


Japanese folk singer Chiharu Matsuyama sang his hit song on a plane that remained grounded over an hour past its departure time at a Hokkaido airport Sunday, in a bid to ease passengers’ irritation, according to All Nippon Airways Co.

Matsuyama, a Hokkaido native, came forward and sang the popular opening line of “Ozora to Daichi no Naka De (In-between a Giant sky and the Earth)” using the microphone for in-flight announcements. The episode drew applause on social media, with some posts apparently from passengers saying it was a happy surprise.

The 61-year-old singer-songwriter was aboard ANA flight 1142 which was scheduled to depart New Chitose Airport, near Sapporo, for Osaka at 11:55 a.m. Sunday. The plane’s departure was delayed until 1:03 p.m. due to security checks.

“Everyone seems to be frustrated,” Matsuyama told a flight attendant at around 12:50 p.m. With approval from the plane’s captain, he sang some phrases of the song and said, “Please wait for a while.”

“When Mr. Matsuyama finished singing, cheers and applause erupted and his song brought smiles to many passengers’ faces,” a 26-year-old man on board the plane said. “I was really moved by his consideration and good voice.”

An ANA spokesperson said the airline was grateful for the singer’s kindness.

Matsuyama talked about the episode on a radio program later on Sunday. “What I did was meddling, but thinking about their feelings, I thought I had to do something,” he said. “I appreciate that the captain gave his permission.”

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