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“Tears of the Earth,” a memorial concert and photo exhibit for the Great East Japan Disaster will be presented on Sunday, March 11, 2012, 1 p.m., at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco on the first anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
The commemorative event and fundraiser will support the ongoing work of the Japan Recovery Project of the Public Health Institute (PHI) in Oakland. It will be a gathering for people to share their feelings and grieve about the disaster.
Both western classical and Japanese music and performers will be featured. Artists will include Alexander Barantschik, concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra; Shoko Hikage, playing the koto; Brenda Wong Aoki, storytelling artist; and a photography exhibit of the earthquake area by Satoshi Ueda.
The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami that followed took more than 15,000 lives, and 3,200 people are still missing. More than 320,000 survivors evacuated from the disaster and continue to live in temporary housing. In addition, people who live close to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants as well as people who live throughout Japan are anxious about the long-term effects of exposure to radiation through the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat.
In the past year, a slogan, “Gambare Nippon” (Fight for Recovery of Japan), was repeatedly uttered in the Japanese news media. Some progress has been made in recovery, such as cleaning up debris, building temporary housing for evacuees and recovering basic infrastructure of communities. However, a large number of evacuees and those who lost relatives and friends still experience lingering effects of depression and trauma.
The Japan Recovery Project at PHI aims to address post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues for the people affected by the disaster – including evacuees from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant area – in collaboration with government and nonprofit agencies. See www.jrpphi.org for more information.
The March 11 event will include remarks by Hiroshi Inomata, the Counsel General of Japan of San Francisco, Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, president and CEO of PHI, and Tooru Nemoto, Ph.D., Director, Japan Recovery Project. The event will be introduced by well-known Japanese news anchor Junko Kubo.
The multi-faceted cultural program will include a performance of the Cesar Franck Violin Sonata by Barantschik and Akimi Fukuhara, piano. Also featured will be a performance of the Vivaldi Concerto for Four Violins by violinists Yasuko Hattori, Yukiko Kurakata, Beni Shinohara, and Anni Asuka Yano accompanied by Timothy Bach. The performers include members of the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera Orchestra as well as the faculty and alumni of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Traditional works from Japan for koto will be performed as well as duets for koto and violin. In addition, Brenda Wong Aoki will present a piece for story teller and Japanese instruments that were inspired by the March 11, 2011, events. The memorial will open with a solemn prayer chant by Buddhist monks accompanied by bass player Shinji Eshima of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and bassoonist Steven Dibner of the San Francisco Symphony.
Photographer Satoshi Ueda is a resident of Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate who has devoted himself to chronicling the disaster, its aftermath, and its ongoing story on film. He has exhibited this work in Europe and Russia and will be exhibiting for the first time in the U.S. Some of his images will be projected in the theater accompanied by the solo violin music of J.S. Bach.
Violinist Yukiko Kurakata, on behalf of the performers says of the event, “This will be an occasion for all, audience members and performers, to come together as one through music to remember last year’s event and send our compassionate support for the recovery of Japan.”
Tickets are available through City Box Office at 415-392-4400 or www.cityboxoffice.com. Prices are $30 for adults and $15 for students in advance and $35 for adults and $20 for students at the door.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/kordian/