As 31-year-old Ukrainian Iana Lavrova performed alongside a 500-person-strong ensemble of fellow cellists in Fukushima Prefecture, the moment was not only a celebration of peace and reconstruction, but also a reminder of the long journey she has undertaken in fleeing from her war-torn country.
For Lavrova, it was her first time performing in such a large group. "I've never seen this many cellists in my life!" she exclaimed, as she joined the one-time cello ensemble in a gymnasium for a concert dedicated to those impacted by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, an event which devastated the northeastern Tohoku region.
Fukushima Prefecture was one of the areas worst-affected by the initial disaster, and was also the scene of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant nuclear disaster, which was triggered by the quake and tsunami and forced many residents to abandon their homes and communities.