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On May 13, the Min-On Concert Association held a special concert at the Min-On Music Hall in honor of the 60th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between Jamaica and Japan.

The artists who took part in the event were tenor Steve Higgins, soprano Yukari Kiyono and pianist Mitsuru Hirose. The latest program was co-organized by the Embassy of Jamaica in Japan and the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs (ACA), with the prefectural government of Tottori also partnering in a concert held on May 15.

The evening concert was attended by ambassadors and diplomatic envoys from seven embassies in Tokyo, as well as a general audience of some 110. The main speaker at the event was Her Excellency Shorna-Kay M. Richards, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Jamaica to Japan, who extolled the power of music to transcend differences of nations and peoples and bring them together. She also described Jamaican music as an expression of the human soul. ACA Deputy Commissioner Tetsuo Goda expressed delight that musicians from the two countries were partnering in the concert and that such collaborations should serve as an opportunity to further bilateral exchange going forward.

In the event’s concert segment, Mr. Higgins sang “Ue Wo Muite Arukou” (best known as “Sukiyaki” in the West) in Japanese, as well as two Jamaican folk songs—“Day-O” and “Coconut Woman.” He also played “Mento” on the Djembe goblet drum to share the wondrous rhythms of Jamaican music with an enthusiastic audience.

Ms. Kiyono performed the traditional Japanese favorite, “Four Seasons of Hometown,” and then sang “Banyan Tree,” “All I Ask of You” and “Time to Say Goodbye” in duet with Mr. Higgins.

As part of the day event on May 13 and the May 15 program held at the Tottori-shi Bunka Hall, Jamaican Embassy First Secretary Sherdon S. Baugh gave a slide presentation on his country’s rich cultural history as well as chronicling the myriad exchanges undertaken between Jamaica and Japan.

This series of special concert events was made possible by the subscribers of the Min-On Concert Association and other contributors who support our various outreach initiatives.