Event: Memorial Concert For Japan Earthquake And Tsunami
A message of hope and of friendship between Britain and Japan!
To mark the fourth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan on 11th March 2011, a concert performed by the Hokusai Orchestra, with conductor Akiko Ohtomo-Smith at the helm, and singer Naomi Suzuki was held on 5th March in the Attlee Suite of the Houses of Parliament hosted by the British-Japanese Parliamentary Group.
Guests were treated to free drinks and a light buffet in the reception area where they chatted and reflected on the devastating disaster of 2011. A table display of colourful face plates made by some of the children of Fukushima was set up in the concert room for people to admire and photograph; the vivid colours and overall cheeriness of the designs a reflection of the children’s positive outlook on today and the future.
The two-hour musical event got underway at 20.00 with His Excellency, Ambassador Mr Keiichi Hayashi giving thanks to Britain and the other supporting nations that continue to give aid and help in the rebuilding of areas of Japan affected by the catastrophic event of four years ago, before introducing the evening’s performance which began with Capriol Suite (by Peter Warlock) followed by ‘Sukiyaki’ sung by Naomi.
During a performance of ‘Smile at Me’, a song written and performed by Naomi, a video was shown incorporating a selection of photos of child survivors from the affected areas smiling – a compilation nicely put together by Naomi and Merry Project. It was clear to see that everyone in the room was touched by the images showing the children’s courage.
Naomi Suzuki: “When I looked at the photos of the children smiling, the song ‘Smile at Me” came up in my mind and I wanted show the rebuilding of Japan through the smiles of the children.”
Photography by Spencer Lloyd Peet
The concert, which was also attended by Ms Baroness Hooper and Mr Keisaku Sano Chairman of Japan Association, was wonderfully put together by the organisers and superbly performed by a magnificent group of gifted musicians. It also proved to be an historic occasion as it was the first time a Japanese singer had ever performed at Parliament, and who better to be given this honour than the talented Naomi Suzuki.
It truly was a worthy evening of heartfelt melodies and uplifting lyrics that fitted the occasion perfectly. But more importantly, the concert was held to remind us that we should never forget what happened on 11th March 2011.
Naomi Suzuki: “I was extremely grateful for this opportunity to have the memorial concert hosted by the British Japanese Parliamentary Group. And I am delighted that we were able to send a message of hope and of friendship between Britain and Japan to the people in affected areas. I will never forget this great memory.”
The concert was recorded and covered by various Japanese TV and online news stations, some of which can be seen by following the links below.
- NHK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWajH1esA5A
- テレビ朝日 http://news.tv-asahi.co.jp/news_international/articles/000045809.html
- フジテレビ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cYxZqa6oS0&feature=youtu.be
- 読売新聞 http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/world/20150306-OYT1T50055.html
- 共同通信 http://www.47news.jp/CN/201503/CN2015030601001334.html
- 時事通信 http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20150306-00000024-jij-eurp