National

Violin made from 3/11 tsunami debris leads Australian concert

Kyodo

A violin made almost entirely from debris from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan in 2011 was the centerpiece of a commemorative concert Friday in Melbourne.

The performance, “Resonance: A Tsunami Violin Concert,” marked the seventh anniversary of the magnitude 9 earthquake that sent massive tsunami crashing into the coast of Tohoku, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing.

The violin is one of seven stringed instruments made from debris by 77-year-old violin craftsman Muneyuki Nakazawa. The instrument is touring the world as part of the Classic for Japan Foundation Tsunami Violin project.

The front and rear of the instrument are made from driftwood and beams of destroyed homes. Inside, the sound post — a small piece of wood that vibrates to optimize sound quality — is made from Rikuzentakata’s “miracle pine” (kiseki no ippon matsu).

The 280-year-old pine tree, the only one of the 70,000 along the town’s scenic coastline to survive the waves, became a symbol of hope and strength. An image of the tree, which later died but was turned into a monument, is painted on the back of the violin.

Roughly 300 people gathered in the University of Melbourne’s Melba Hall to listen to violinist Kana Ohashi perform several pieces, including Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 3 and a choral performance of “Hamabe no Uta” (“Song of the Beach”).

All profits from ticket sales will go toward the Rikuzentakata city scholarship program, helping students with financial difficulties continue their studies.