Monday, March 30, 2009

'Spring Love': free festival in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park (April 4-5)


In 2004, I founded Peace Not War Japan (PNWJ) in Tokyo, a non-profit organisation that focused on using the arts to raise awareness about peace and conflict issues around the world and to raise funding for grassroots Japanese peace groups. The first CD release, titled 'Peace Not War Japan' was a collection of pro-peace/anti-war songs by contemporary Japanese artists - a very rare thing in Japan's music scene.

Before I left Tokyo, early last year, I set up a Steering Committee to keep the work of the group going. Although I was no longer involved on a day-to-day basis, I was thrilled to see that they carried on the work I'd begun. Since I left, they have hosted a workshop and performance at a major international conference in support of the threatened Article 9 clause of Japan's constitution and held a week of live music at a venue in the west of Tokyo.

The seed that was planted has now become a small forest. Next weekend (April 4-5), having joined forces with the organisers of Japan's annual Earth Day festival, PNWJ will be hosting a large free festival in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. Full event details are given below.

If any Tokyo readers of this blog are in town next weekend and would like to go to a fully fun-packed event with music, dance, talks, exhibitions, peace group booths, a market, organic kitchen and much more, please head down to the park and show some spring love. And if you do happen to make it, please drop a comment on this page and let me know how it went - I'll be on the other side of the planet instead!

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Spring Love: The hottest urban party of the season!!

The folks who bring you the yearly Earth Day festival are pleased to announce Spring Love (Harukaze), a two-day extravaganza of musical and dance performances to be held in Yoyogi Park on April 4th and 5th. Organized in conjunction with Peace Not War Japan, the event will also feature a series of talk sessions on peace and nonviolent social action, as well as booths with NPO/NGO literature, sales of eco- and organic goods, healthy food stalls, and much more.

Come out and enjoy the cherry blossoms while feeding your mind and soul with some Spring Love!!

Date/Time: Saturday, April 4th (1-8 PM) and Sunday, April 5th (12-7:30 PM)

Venue: Yoyogi Park Outdoor Stage

Admission: Free!!

Event will feature:
  • Performances from numerous musicians and dancers representing a variety of artistic genres
  • Peace-related talk sessions, photography, and exhibitions
  • Events on two separate stages (Spring Stage and Love Stage)
  • Booths with literature from peace-related NPOs/NGOs
  • Spring Love Market with sales of various eco-friendly goods on offer
  • Spring Love Kitchen featuring stalls with organic and ethnic foods
  • Live painting
  • Kids’ activities
Performers:

OKI DUB AINU BAND * Keyco & Kokyo * poodles * maccafat * Sayoko Meets Planet Sounds * Tateiwa Junzo * Blues the Butcher (Takashi 'Hotoke' Nagai, Numazawa Takashi, Nakajo Takashi, KOTEZ) * Ca-zoku * Hana & Phenomenon * Ailie * Percussion du MATAI * ANICHE * Rankin Taxi & Tokyo Revolutionaries * Kamebuchi Yuka & VOJA * Likkle Mai & The K * Ichiryusai Harumi * Salsa Gum Tape * Inushiki (aka Dogggystyle) * YOSHIE * ARTMAN * DJ Gerry Ong & DJ Chiaki * HIYOSHI * DJ YOGURT * Kudo 'Big H' Haruyasu * Seino Eiichi * MASA * REE.K * SINN & MORE!

Peace-Themed Talk Session Participants:

〜Come explore perspectives you won’t get from the mainstream media!〜

Kamanaka Hitomi(director) * Toyoda Naomi (photojournalist) * Ishida Masataka (photojournalist) * Kubota Hironobu (photojournalist) * Hatakeyama Sumiko (staff of NGO Peace Boat) * Aizawa Yasuyuki(NPO Peace On) * Kikuchi Yumi (writer, translator, founder/organizer of Harmonics Life Center, Tokyo Peace Film Festival, and Japan United for Ministry of Peace) * hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) from Hiroshima and Nagasaki * Shigenobu May (journalist) * DJ Gerry (psychedelic trance DJ, founder of Dance for Peace) & MORE!

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For more information including links to featured artists' home pages, the official event webpage is here in English and here in Japanese.

4 comments:

Globalism said...

WEEKEND STAGE SCHEDULE

☆PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT SCHEDULE/PERFORMER CHANGES MAY OCCUR!☆

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SATURDAY, 4/4

☆SPRING STAGE:

13:00 OPENING EMCEE (DJ HF)
13:20 POODLES (ORGANIC JAM BAND)
14:10 LIKKLE MAI & THE K (RUB-A-DUB/REGGAE SET)
15:05 SALSA GUM TAPE(PUNK)
15:50 PEACE TALK #1: WITNESSING WAR AND IMAGINING PEACE
(DOES THE ACTUAL SITUATION FROM WAR ZONES GET REPORTED IN THE MEDIA?)

PANELISTS: YASUYUKI "YATCH" AIZAWA (DIRECTOR, NPO PEACE ON), KUBOTA HIRONOBU (PHOTOJOURNALIST), MAY SHIGENOBU (JOURNALIST)

17:05 KEYCO & KOKYO (REGGAE/ORGANIC GROOVE)
18:00 KAMEBUCHI YUKA & VOJA (GOSPEL CHOIR)
19:05 INUSHIKI (A.K.A. DOGGGYSTYLE) HANA TO CHIRU SET!
(REGGAE/AFRO-ROCK FUSION)
20:00 FINISH

☆LOVE STAGE:

12:00 ARTMAN (DJ)
13:45 HIYOSHI (DJ)
14:55 TUNE X AKA CINN (DJ)
15:45 MASA (DJ)
16:50 YOSHIE & TATEIWA JUNZO (BELLY DANCING/ARABIC PERCUSSION)
17:05 SECOND HALF OF PEACE TALK #1 (Q&A SESSION)
18:00 REEK.K (DJ)
19:00 DJ YOGURT
20:00 FINISH

☆ ☆BALANCE DOME
☆ (NEXT TO LOVE STAGE)

14:00 PEACE TALK #2: VISUALIZING PEACE
〜THE ROLE OF PHOTOJOURNALISM AND ART

PANELISTS: INADA HIDEAKI (NAVIGATOR/EDITOR), ISHIDA MASATAKA (PHOTOJOURNALIST), KUBOTA HIRONOBU(PHOTOJOURNALIST)

-----------------------------------------

4/5(日)
-----------------------------------------
☆SPRING STAGE

12:20 AILIE (NATURAL REGGAE)
12:40 OPENING DJ / MC
12:50 MACCCAFAT (REGGAE DUB GUERILLA)
13:30 ICHIRYUSAI HARUMI (TRADITIONAL “KOUDAN” MUSICAL STORYTELLING)
14:10 PEACE TALK #3 (ENSURING PEACE: LEARNING HOW TO SHARE AND HOW TO LISTEN TO EXPERIENCES OF WAR)

PANELISTS: KAMANAKA HITOMI (DIRECTOR), 2 HIBAKUSHA (ATOMIC BOMB SURVIVORS) FROM HIROSHIMA/ NAGASAKI, HATAKEYAMA SUMIKO(STAFF OF NGO PEACE BOAT), CHAKI (INTERN AT NGO PEACE BOAT)

15:05 HANA & PHENOMENON FEATURING SATCHAN (PEACE ROCK)
15:50 BLUES.THE-BUTCHER-590213 (ROCKIN’ BLUES)
16:50 OKI DUB AINU BAND (AINU DUB)
17:50 SAYOKO MEET PLANET SOUNDS (ORGANIC REGGAE) 
19:00 RANKIN TAXI & TOKYO REVOLUTIONARIES (DANCE HALL REGGAE)
20:00 FINISH

☆LOVE STAGE

11:30 SINN (DJ)
12:50 ANICHE (WEST AFRICAN PERCUSSION)
13:30 YAOAO(INDIES FUSION BAND)
14:10 DJ GERRY & DJ CHIAKI
15:00 KUDO “BIG H” HARUYASU (12-STRING ACOUSTIC REGGAE)
15:15 SECOND HALF OF PEACE TALK #3 (Q&A SESSION)
15:55 PEACE TALK #4: FEELING PEACE〜PEACE AS A SPIRITUAL PURSUIT

PANELISTS: FUKUI HIROSHI (DJ, EVENT PRODUCER), KIKUCHI YUMI (WRITER, TRANSLATOR, FOUNDER/ORGANIZER OF HARMONICS LIFE CENTER, TOKYO PEACE FILM FESTIVAL, AND JAPAN UNITED FOR A MINISTRY OF PEACE), GERRY ONG (PSYCHEDELIC TRANCE DJ, FOUNDER, DANCE FOR PEACE), YAMAGUCHI YASU (MONKBEAT)

16:50 SEINO EIICHI (DJ)
17:30 CA-ZOKU (ACOUSTIC TRIBAL UNIT)
18:00 DJ REALLY
19:00 UTSUMI (DJ)
20:00 FINISH

Brett said...

Sounds great Dom, it must be nice to see something you conceived of take on it's own life and grow. I would love to be there, but I am in Australia for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps when I finally do return to Japan it will be even bigger. I hope you have a great weekend.

Globalism said...

Yes, it's a very satisfying feeling to 'plant a seed' then step back and watch it grow.

Hopefully, it'll continue to grow and one day you'll return to Japan and be able to attend a bigger event!

Globalism said...

Below is the after-event report put out by the team in Tokyo on the Facebook event page.

Wow, Almost 40,000 people attended!

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Peace Not War Japan is honored to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the longstanding organizers of the "Harukaze" parties to put on the "Spring Love (Harukaze)" event this past weekend (April 4-5) in Yoyogi Park, which turned out to be wildly successful in all respects. Around 40,000 people ventured over during the weekend to chill out and/or dance to the organic grooves of numerous artists and DJs on two stages, attend talk sessions on various peace-related topics, visit the NGO/citizens' group information booths, browse the eco-goods at the flea market, and enjoy food and drinks from the array of healthy food stalls...all set against the backdrop of the cherry blossoms in full bloom. What a weekend!!

Peace Not War Japan was responsible for organizing the peace program at the festival, whose highlights included the following:

☆ A discussion with peace activist Yasuyaki "Yatch" Aizawa, photojournalist Hironobu Kubota, and journalist/activist May Shigenobu regarding their experiences witnessing war in the Middle East, as well as ways to educate ourselves about the realities of war and take steps to help ensure a world based upon peace

☆ Presentations from two hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, together with film director Hitomi Kamenaka and two staff from the NGO Peace Boat, regarding the necessity to continue opposing all forms of nuclear weapons, as well as the continuing dangers of nuclear power

☆ A session on peace and spirituality with Peace Not War Japan music director Hiroshi Fukui, peace activist Yumi Kikuchi, Dance for Peace founder and DJ Gerry Ong, and Monkbeat musician Yasu Yamaguchi regarding the steps that each of us can take to bring peace and positive energies into our own hearts and minds each day, as well as the connection between peace on a personal and larger level

Each session included a Q&A session held on the smaller Love Stage, which was nestled in front of a small grove of cherry trees. Numerous questions were fielded regarding the overall issue of how each one of us can make a difference toward creating a world emphasizing the peace-based values of respect, love and sharing rather than violence and war. It was particularly gratifying to see many young people stay around to listen to the peace sessions after dancing to a DJ set, and then get involved by participating in the Q&A sessions. It was clear that many people had never before attended a peace event and were considering these issues for the first time, proving the oft-stated principle that every individual action for peace makes a difference on a larger scale. Truly, every ripple turns into a larger wave!

PNWJ extends gracious thanks and deepest respect to all of the musicians and artists who donated their time and talents with outstanding performances and messages of peace, as well as to all of the peace program panelists, NGO staff and volunteers, flea market and food stall participants, and of course everyone else who came to the park to enjoy a bit of Spring Love. We can't wait for next year!!!

Below is a message from Peace Not War Japan founder Dom Pates, who returned to England last year and was unfortunately unable to join the festival. His words were read onstage to the backdrop of gorgeous candles carved by artist Candle Jun, and amongst an incredible positive vibration created from the interplay of the musicians and the audience. Thanks Dom...we missed you!!

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PNWJ began five years ago to raise awareness of troubles happening in different parts of the planet and to build a bridge between Japan and the rest of the world.

It was also aimed at encouraging people to think more about peace. But what is this thing called ‘peace’?

Yes, peace is the resolution of conflict through dialogue and a sense of perspective. Yes, peace is the choice of non-violence and the absence of war. Yes, peace is understanding between cultures and respect between peoples.

Peace is also food in your belly, safety in your home and the freedom to live as you choose. Peace is also a walk in the park, with the sun on your skin and a smile on your face. Peace is both personal and universal.

In these times of great uncertainty and fear around the world, there is a greater need than ever for peaceful solutions to our problems. There is also great opportunity. A chance for fresh starts. A chance for new ideas. A chance to move on from old ways of thinking. There is no ‘us and them’, there is only ‘us’.

I am both humbled and thrilled that the work that began in 2004 has continued and grown since I left Tokyo. The seed that was planted back then has now become a small forest.

My deepest thanks go out to the team at PNWJ, the organisers of the event, the volunteers, performers, speakers and peace groups who have all given their time and talents towards making this event work. Most of all, I’d like to thank all of you who have come here to enjoy the day, to share your peace or just to hang out under the cherry blossoms.

Peace is the only way to move forward let’s keep moving forward together.

Thank you.