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On December 7, the 75th Tohoku Hope Concert was held at Kesennuma Middle School in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture. Kesennuma City is a fishing port overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the Sanriku Coast. Kesennuma’s residents are proud of their city’s fishing industry, including marine product processing, boat manufacturing, and the harvesting of bonito, mackerel, swordfish and more.

The innovative singer/songwriter Ai Kawashima performed at the 75th Tohoku Hope Concert.

Ai Kawashima began with Sora Ha Koko Ni Aru (The Sky is Here), and the audience was entranced by her encouraging lyrics and beautiful, clear voice. She then performed Mienai Tsubasa (Invisible Wings), Daijobu Dayo (It’s Alright) and, the song which has become a graduation staple, Tabi Dachi No Hi Ni… (On the Day I Set Out…). Finally, everyone enjoyed singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer together. It was a touching concert that warmed the audience’s hearts.

Representative students also shared words of thanks, saying, “We heard many songs which we love to hear when we’re feeling down, to encourage us. Thanks to Ai Kawashima, everyone who came here has been calmed, and emboldened.”

In a show of thanks for the concert, the students sang Ms. Kawashima’s songs Tabi Dachi No Hi Ni… and Daichi Sansho (Hymns of Praise to Mother Earth). As the entire audience sang their school song together as one big chorus, the final Tohoku Hope Concert of the 2018 came to a touching conclusion.