The Great East Japan Earthquake: “It’s All About Folk Songs” Entertainer Nekohachi EDOYA and Singers Conducted Performance Tours in Fukushima

Following Miyagi and Iwate, folk song performance tours were conducted in Fukushima

Entertainer Nekohachi EDOYA IV, who is well-known for his performance of mimicking animals and folk song singers, went on performance tours, in order to cheer up the people in the disaster-stricken areas. So far, along with AAR, they have visited Iwate Prefecture in December 2012, Miyagi Prefecture in January 2013, and temporary housing complexes and community centers in Fukushima Prefecture in February and June 2013. Moreover, in October and November 2013, they visited the inland parts of Fukushima Prefecture so as to encourage those who were away from their hometowns, influenced by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.
23rd October 2013 - Nekohachi EDOYA (front left) and others held folk song performances, visiting 4 or 5 venues a day. (Minami1-choume Temporary Housing, Fukushima)

"I'll stay strong, remembering today's happy event."

In October 2013, the entertainers performed at 11 venues in Koriyama City, Miharu Town, Motomiya City, Nihonmatsu City in Fukushima Prefecture, and in November 2013 they visited 10 venues, attracting as many as 700 people in total. At all the venues, there were so many people waiting for us even before our arrival. Further, it was difficult to find a space to prepare our microphones and musical instruments as there were so many participants.

The audience looked a little tense at the beginning, but soon they started to laugh out loud at Nekohachi’s speech, and started to sing along with the folk singers. They were having a great time. For the evacuees from the coastal areas of Tomioka Town and Haranomachi, who were living in temporary housings in inland areas of Fukushima Prefecture, Soma local folk songs hold a special place in their hearts. They were excited at the appearance of the folk singer Masao SUZUKI from Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture. They requested their Soma local folk songs one after another such as "Nihon Kaeshi", "Nagareyama", and "Mago Uta". The final song was "Soma Bon-uta", to which some people started dancing.
23rd October 2013 –Some people had tears in their eyes listening to "Shin Soma Bushi" sung by the folk singer Masao SUZUKI from Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture. (Mutual Support Center, Fukushima)
Those who are evacuating because of the effect of the nuclear power plant accident have different difficulties from those of the tsunami victims. They are suffering under the stress that they cannot go back home even though their houses still remain where they used to be and under the anxiety that comes from uncertain future prospects. FURUKAWA (female, 84), who is from Okuma Town, came to the concert at Kamikaziro temporary housing complex, and said with a smile, "I got to see Nekohachi EDOYA and Masao SUZUKI close up. That's enough to make me strong. I'm not sure how many years I have to live like this, but I’ll remember today's concert and cheer myself up."
11th November 2013 – People stepped outside of the assembly hall, and bid farewell to the performers. (Yoshima Second Temporary Housing Complex, Fukushima Prefecture)
After the concert, the audience waved to us cheerfully in farewell. Every time I encounter such a scene, I feel confident that it is essential for the people in temporary housing complexes to have the time to laugh and sing loudly. I hope this tour has helped them forget about the tough time for a while, to relieve their stress, and to be full of energy to keep going.
24th October 2013 – "'Soma Nagareyama' was just wonderful. I'm much encouraged after listening to a local folk song." In the right is Hodaka KOSUGI of Soma Office. (Kitsuneda Temporary Housing Complex, Fukushima Prefecture)
Lastly, I'd like to express my gratitude to Nekohachi EDOYA and the folk singers, who came all the way to the venues in Northeastern Japan in order to deliver such a great time for the people there.
24th October 2013 – The audience were smiling brightly while clapping. (Saito-satouchi Temporary Housing Complex, Fukushima Prefecture)
25th October 2013 – When Nekohachi EDOYA (center) was taking a request, someone with a cheerful voice called out "Sansa Shigure! (a local folk song)" (Sugiuchi Multi-purpose Sports Plaza, Fukushima)
13th November 2013 – When listening to "Soma Bon Uta", one audience member started dancing along. (Takaku Fifth Temporary Housing Complex, Fukushima Prefecture)
13th November 2013 – A meeting room of about ten mats in size (approximately 16.5 square meters) accommodated as many as 45 people. "I could forget my daily stress. We had a splendid time!" (Takaku Tenth Temporary Housing Complex)
*The tour in October and November 2013 was conducted with your generous donations and a grant received from GlobalGiving.
Soma Office Hodaka KOSUGI [Reporter]
While in university, KOSUGI became interested in problems in developing countries through volunteer activities. After working for a public agency, he served an internship at an NGO in Bangladesh, and studied development at a graduate school in Australia. The Great East Japan Earthquake motivated him to enter AAR in July 2012. He was born and grew up in Miyagi. (Profile at the time of publication)