Minamisanriku and Chile – To Our Faraway Friends, With All My Heart –
High school students from disaster-stricken regions in Chile and Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, exchange gifts of poems and songs across the Pacific Ocean.
Students of Shizugawa High School in Miyagi Prefecture, an area severely affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, along with students of Gabriela Mistral School in Constitución, Chile, which was struck by a powerful earthquake in 2010, wrote poems wishing for future reconstruction. These poems were turned into songs to convey messages of condolence and encouragement to friends who suffered similar experiences far across the ocean. The songs were entrusted to musicians engaged in reconstruction activities both in Japan and Chile, and will be presented at the memorial ceremonies to be held in their respective countries.
In late February 2013, which marks the third anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Chile, musicians from the Tohoku region who collaborated in creating the song will visit Chile to play a suite titled “To Our Faraway Friends, With All My Heart” at memorial concerts, bringing with them the spirit of Shizugawa High School students. High school students from afflicted regions in Chile, popular Chilean singer Keko Yunge, who helped compose the music, and the Wind Orchestra of the Chilean National Police will also join the performance.
In turn, a memorial ceremony to commemorate the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11 will be joined by Keko Yunge. He will sing a song written by students of Gabriela Mistral School. At the ceremony, students from Shizugawa High School will also sing “To Our Faraway Friends, With All My Heart.” Moreover, in the Japan – Chile Joint Concert, musicians who took part in this project in their respective countries will team up with Shizugawa High School students to sing the hymn of friendship formed across the Pacific Ocean.
Read an essay contributed from Keko Yunge in Wochi Kochi Magazine.
Wednesday, February 27 to Friday, March 15, 2013
|Chilean Earthquake Third Anniversary Memorial Concert (Constitución)|
|Date: Wednesday, February 27, 0:30 a.m.
Venue: Special stage over the banks of the Maule River
|Chilean Earthquake Third Anniversary Memorial Concert (Santiago)|
|Date: Friday, March 1, 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Teatro del Centro Cultural Carabineros de Chile
|The Great East Japan Earthquake Second Anniversary Memorial Ceremony in Minamisanriku|
|Date: Monday, March 11, 2:30 p.m.
Venue: Minamisanriku Bayside Arena
|Japan – Chile Joint Concert “To Our Faraway Friends, With All My Heart”|
|Date: Tuesday, March 12, 6:00 p.m.
Venue: Bayside Arena Cultural Exchange Hall
|De-briefing Session & Mini-Concert in Tokyo|
|Date: Friday, March 15, 7:00 p.m.
Venue: The Japan Foundation Headquarters
|Organized by:||The Japan Foundation, Embassy of Japan in Chile, DesafÍo Levantemos Chile (Challenge Rebuild Chile)|
|In cooperation with:||Minamisanriku Town, Minamisanriku International Friendship Association, Shizugawa High School in Miyagi Prefecture, DAHA Planning Work, Sendai City Symphony Orchestra, Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Children Meet the Artists Program Planning Committee in Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture, Minami Sanriku Hotel Kanyo, Minamisanriku Town Tourism Association, ENVISI, Fukutake Foundation, Media Gate Japan, American Airlines, Instituto Cervantes de Tokio, Municipalidad de Constitución, Liceo Gabriela Mistral, Carabineros de Chile, Orfeon Nacional de Carabineros de Chile, Banco de Chile, ARAUCO, Cabanas Playa El Cable|
|Under the auspices of:||Embassy of Chile in Japan|
Participating high schools:
Shizugawa High School, second-grade students of class 4 (regular course)
Shizugawa High School students attending the workshop
Gabriela Mistral School in Constitución, third-grade students of class B
Gabriela Mistral School students reading the poem sent from Shizugawa High School
- Hōshō Kominato
- (Second master of Kominato-style min’yō folk music / member of Hōshō-gumi, lives in Sukagawa City, Fukushima Prefecture)
- Mitsuru Kominato
- (Folk singer / member of Hōshō-gumi)
- Miwa Kominato
- (Folk singer / member of Hōshō-gumi)
- Akihisa Kominato
- (Shakuhachi (bamboo flute) player / member of Hōshō-gumi)
- Masataka Sato
- (Guitarist / founder of the Sendai Guitar School)
- Keko Yunge
- (Popular singer-songwriter in Chile, engaged in a variety of social activities through music)
- Hector “Tito” Pezoa
- Laura Bryer
- Yumi Yoshikawa
- (Representative of DAHA Planning Work / Ambassador to Support the Restoration of Minamisanriku)
- Keko Yunge
- (Singer-songwriter / Director of Culture and Sports, “Desafío Levantemos Chile (Challenge Rebuild Chile)”
Chile and Minamisanriku
In 1960, a tsunami caused by a powerful earthquake in Chile reached the Sanriku coast of Japan and killed 142 people in nearby cities such as Minamisanriku in Miyagi Prefecture and Ofunato in Iwate Prefecture. To promote friendship between the two countries which share similar experiences of recovering from natural disasters, Chile presented a stone replica of a Moai statue to Minamisanriku in 1991, only to be destroyed by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera traveled to Japan in March 2012, and he visited Minamisanriku and promised to donate a new one. The new statue, created by Chilean artisans and measuring five meters high and weighing six tons, is scheduled to be shipped to Minamisanriku by May 2013.
Meanwhile, Chile had been struck by another major 8.8 magnitude earthquake on February 27, 2010, killing 525 people. Some 370,000 houses were destroyed throughout the country, including the capital city Santiago. In Constitución, which is located 340 km southwest of Santiago, 104 people died in the tremor that lasted about four minutes and the subsequent tsunami (estimated to be 15 m high) that hit the coast.
Shizugawa High School and Gabriela Mistral School
In the autumn of 2012, 38 second-grade students (class 4) from Shizugawa High School in Miyagi Prefecture reflected on their life after the earthquake and expressed their feelings in a long poem. The poem was donated to third-grade students (class B) at Gabriela Mistral School in Constitución (a city severely damaged by the 2010 Chile earthquake and tsunami). Students at Shizugawa High School then created a song using the poem as lyrics and music composed in a separate workshop.
At the same time, 45 students at Gabriela Mistral School wrote seven stories based on real earthquake experiences and sent them to Shizugawa High School. These stories were turned into a string of songs by Keko Yunge, a singer-songwriter popular throughout Chile.
February and March 2013 mark the third and second anniversary of the devastating earthquakes in Chile and Japan, and the songs written by high school students who represent the future of these regions will be performed at the memorial ceremonies in both countries.
“Challenge Rebuild Chile” (Desafío Levantemos Chile)
“Challenge Rebuild Chile” is a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by internationally acclaimed yacht racer Felipe Cubillos to support low-income entrepreneurs. Following the catastrophic Chilean earthquake in 2010, he decided to devote himself to the reconstruction of the country. He tapped his business contacts around the world and earned wide support in Chile and abroad. In just two months after the earthquake, the organization built 17 temporary school buildings, providing a place to study for more than 19,000 students. The organization also built temporary houses for low-income earners, reconstructed nursery schools, and provided assistance to repair 615 fishermen’s boats. Today, the organization continues its effort to restore the afflicted areas using its extensive human network, including a team of more than 800 enthusiastic volunteers.
Today, the organization’s activities are not confined to the restoration of disaster-stricken areas but encompass a wide range of activities to improve society overall under the following themes: (1) emergency preparedness and solidarity, (2) health, (3) education, (4) culture and sports, and (5) entrepreneurship. As part of its cultural activities, the organization is involved in the “Do Re Mi” project (assistance program to provide music education to poor districts) with Keko Yunge and the educational concert titled “Blue Earth. If You Are Alive, I Am Alive, Too” to promote environmental protection.
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