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Traditional Performing Arts Revival Fund [2011年09月12日(Mon)]

Performance of powerful Taiko at the Hidakami Taiko presentation ceremony at Ishinomaki

The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities
-Traditional Performing Arts Revival Fund-

Nippon Music Foundation (President Ms Kazuko Shiomi), a partner foundation of the Nippon Foundation had auctioned “Lady Blunt”, a violin said to be of the greatest treasure, in order to help in the relief activities of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The \1,106,876,322 from the sale of this violin was donated to the Nippon Foundation.

The violin was auctioned at an incredible price of 4 times the highest price ever! The total amount shown above is the converted amount into Japanese yen with commission deducted.

The Nippon Foundation gave careful thought as to how effectively this money could be used. We felt that since it was the money from sales of a music instrument, it would be most appropriate to contribute to the revival of the traditional performing arts that had been damaged by the tsunami, and that this would be answering to the wishes of Nippon Music Foundation that donated the money. So we established the “Traditional Performing Arts Relief Fund (commonly known as “Festival Support Fund”). With this, we started to support various festivals and events so as to bring back the lost vitality of the victims.

Even the weekly magazine “Shukan Shincho” that is normally harshly critical of us, gave positive comment saying, “The operating funds are from the revenue of boat racing to start with, but with this project, those who are amusing themselves in boat racing will be contributing to the revival of local culture indirectly.”

“This summer, I have met people after people who are grappling with the problem of reviving the traditional performing arts in the disaster-stricken regions. Culture of prayer is not second to the necessities of life but it sits side by side. There is nothing but heaps of rubbles. There was but straw-colored ground stretching out into the blue ocean. The sight, an almost mystical sight, appeared beyond the rubbles. That is where culture is mothered.” These are the words of Mr. Yoichi Uchida, an editorial writer of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper, which was carried in the evening edition of August 27, stressing the importance of the revival of the traditional performing arts in the disaster stricken regions. It also mentioned that a folklorist, Professor Hashimoto of Morioka University who has made surveys of local folk entertainment is cooperating with the Nippon Foundation’s revival project of traditional performing arts. It is indeed gratifying to know that the human bond in the entertainment world continues to be alive in the disaster stricken regions.

We have decided to support the following organizations for their purchase of instruments and floats;

1. Kamaishi Federation for the Preservation of Toramai (Tiger Dance), Iwate Prefecture
2. Ishinomaki Association of Hidakami Taiko, Miyagi Prefecture
3. Isokusa Society for the Preservation of Toramai (Tiger Dance), Miyagi Prefecture

It was thought impossible to hold the annual river festival where the Ishinomaki Hidakami Taiko performs every year, but the support from the Nippon Foundation was finalized just in time. However, their regular venue for their practice, such as local gymnasiums, was still used as evacuation shelters so they had to practice at riverbeds, even in the wind and rain, to prepare for the festival. One of the members had been victimized by the disaster and there is also a child who lost his family among the members, but the river festival that took place on August 1 was no different from their past festivals. We were all entertained by their usual powerful performance.

The first performance by the entire Taiko orchestra after the great earthquake was supported warmly by the local people. We received report that the members commented that they had been able to encourage local citizens.

We have received further requests from Ofunato City, Otsuchi Town in Iwate Prefecture and Onagawa Town in Miyagi Prefecture. We would like to continue our full support with great hopes that bonds in traditional arts will be created for the first time in the regions devastated by the great disaster.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
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