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From March 18 to March 27, a group of Japanese musicians of traditional instruments, under the auspices of the Min-On Concert Association, performed at three cities in the Republic of Korea in partnership with the National Gugak Center, the prestigious Seoul-based institution dedicated to the learning of Korean traditional music, and Korean artists.

The tour is an extension of the collaborative series of exchange concerts between the Korean Culture Center Korean Embassy in Japan and Min-On, held every year in Tokyo. Among the Japanese dignitaries that attended the sold-out Korean performances in Seoul, Busan and Namwon were Kazuhiro Kawase, Director of the Embassy of Japan in Korea’s Public Information and Cultural Center; and Shinichi Kurita, Deputy Consul General of the Consulate General of Japan in Busan.

The concert itself featured Japanese and Korean artists taking turns to play both time-honored and modern songs with their respective traditional musical instruments. At the Busan National Gugak Center, a song composed specifically to commemorate the concert held at the city was also performed.

The program included such established favorites as “Ume Ichirin” and “Arirang” performed jointly by artists of the two countries. For an encore, shakuhachi flute and biwa lute player Tomoka Nagasu from Japan played as well as sang a medley of Korean and Japanese children’s songs. For the finale, Tomoya Nakai, who plays the 25-string koto, sang a Japanese song in Korean.

This special tour was made possible through the financial support provided by those who subscribe to our Min-On membership program as well as by donations from other contributors.