For Kateryna Gudzii, the traditional Ukrainian instrument she plays has been her way of sharing the culture and music of her homeland with Japan — and this more than decadelong personal mission has taken on a deeper meaning now that Ukraine has been thrust into the global spotlight following Russia's invasion.

"When I perform, I do so with thoughts that the war would end and there will be peace in the world," said Gudzii, who is only one of two bandura players actively performing in Japan, which has been her home since 2006.

The 35-year-old, who goes by the stage name Kateryna and lives in Yokohama, said the 65-stringed bandura, which dates back to the 12th century and is traditionally played by blind performers, is a "unique musical instrument like no other and one that is connected to the culture, tradition and ethnicity of Ukraine."