J-Pop Idols Unite To Give Rare Performance At Charity Concert In London!
Popular J-Pop Idols and renowned musicians perform in London to help raise money for earthquake and tsunami victims.
The catastrophe that hit Japan in March 2011 shook the whole world and left most of us feeling helpless. The devastating aftermath has lead to numerous events and exhibitions taking place all around the globe to help raise funds for those affected by the tragedy. Countless people are attending as many of these events as they possibly can in order to show their compassion and support and to let the people of Japan know that they are not alone.
One such event which was held recently was the London charity concert “Japan, We’ve Not Forgotten You”, which was organised by Japan Underground and Naomi Suzuki and featured several successful Japanese musicians and performers including Naomi.
Japanese-born, London-based Saki Tanaka was in the audience that night and gives a personal account of the evening’s entertainment.
When the tsunami happened, what did the Japanese people living in London think? I bet everybody was really frustrated about the fact that they couldn’t actually do anything for the victims in Japan except pray. Of course, the Japanese people in London were also hurt mentally every time they saw the unbelievable scenes on TV, and must have been looking for some way in which they could do something good, not only for the victims, but also to heal themselves emotionally. We could, of course, donate money from London to Japan, but we ourselves needed to “chin up”. Therefore, the event, “Japan: We’ve Not Forgotten About You” was perfect for us Japanese living in London.
The event was held in a bar where the hall was of modest size and full of people. There were four big names within J-Pop that were on the billing: Naomi Suzuki, an actress, singer and presenter from Japan who is also co-ordinating the event and now resides in the UK; Ayako Nakanomori, the former vocalist of NAKANOMORI BAND, one of Japan’s most successful girl-groups; the multi-million selling pop artist Yuki Koyanagi; and singer, actress (Spirited Away, Metal Gear Solid) and two time Japanese Academy Award nominee Mari Natsuki.
Other celebrated Japanese musicians whom performed that night were, award winning violinist Diana Yukawa who opened the event, Simply Red guitarist Kenji Suzuki, Grammy Award winner Simon Hale, and perhaps Japan’s most familiar percussionist, Nobu Saito.
The performers sat very close to the audience and patiently waited their turn to perform – this would never happen in Japan! Each artist had their own particular personality. Maomi was funny, Ayako was cute, Yuki was passionate, and Mari was sexy. The four of them had perfect chemistry which enriched the audiences’ hearts. Needless to say, their songs were fantastic! They each performed two songs and then joined together as one “super group” for two more numbers, “Home” and “Mother”, which was filmed for an upcoming documentary. Both songs are released as a double-A-side charity single and can be downloaded here.
It must be said that the audience that evening was very lucky to see all four successful singers perform together in London at the same venue. I was amazed that photography and video filming was allowed at the event. But I didn’t want to concentrate too much on recording the performances, because I wanted to actually see and hear them for myself. For me, it was really luxury time! Personally, I am a big fan of Yuki Koyanagi and had been thinking that I want to see her in concert someday, but, of course, not expecting that I could listen to her songs and see her Live in London – the city granted me my dream!
Except for Naomi Suzuki, the performers said that they were not very good at English, but it didn’t matter at all. Everybody there enjoyed the show and so did the performers. I need to say though, that the majority of the audience were Japanese. Their songs, however, made people there assume that music cannot be explained with words.
For me personally, I hadn’t been to this kind of gig before in such a small bar, especially in London. So I cannot compare with other gigs. There was only one thing that disappointed me. There was a group of people standing a bit far from the stage who were drunk and a bit noisy. I felt that the performers were also a bit stressed by the uncomfortable noise. The singers came all the way from Japan to London, for free, to show their souls to tsunami victims and to the people of London. We should have respected them a bit more. (I don’t wish to offend anyone by writing this, and I am really sorry if this is common behaviour at this kind of event held in a bar or somewhere like it.)
After their performance, almost all the performers went and sat down for a break. But Ayako Nakanomori kindly accepted, with a lovely smile, a request to have a short conversation with the fans. Overall, I was pleased with this event. I have fallen in love with Yuki Koyanagi more after seeing her perform here, and the other performers were great too. As mentioned above, donation was easy, but for those of us who live in London, we needed to feel better too. Therefore, I really appreciate this event being held. Arigato gozaimasu!
A CD version of the double A-side single “Mother” with a bonus track by Ayako Nakanamori called “True Colours”, is available from JP Books in Mitsukoshi in Picaddilly, London and from the Japan Underground stall for £10 – all proceeds go to charity.
Saki Tanaka has been in the UK for 2 years. She studied Consumer Psychology with Business and got a master degree in Wales. After that she moved to London and became a buyer and exporter, sending antiques and British-designed goods to a company in Japan. Saki’s is happy in England, and her dream is to have a shop in the UK selling “made in Japan” items. http://saki-london.jugem.jp/
About Japan Underground:
Japan Underground is part event organisers, part promotional machines. Its club nights have grown to become the UK’s biggest events of their kind and have been featured in everything from The Independent to on Kerrang and Absolute radio! Whether you’re a fan of Japanese rock, fashion from Harajuku or Shibuya, love your games or fancy belting out some karaoke, they have it covered! http://japanunderground.wordpress.com/
About Naomi Suzuki:
Naomi Suzuki is a multi talented model, actress, singer, presenter, producer, and songwriter and reached No.12 in the UK CLUB CHARTS . Naomi is also a Japanese famous presenter in Europe as she was MC of “Japan Festival in The UK” which had 35,000 visitors and works for Japanese FM radio station as a persenter. A documentary film about her was broadcast on BBC TV. http://www.ajunity.com/e/biography.html