IWAKUNI CITY, Japan -- The Chugoku-Shikoku Defense Bureau hosted the 9th annual U.S.-Japan Friendship Concert at the Sinfonia Iwakuni Concert Hall in Iwakuni City, Feb. 23, 2019.
The purpose of the concert was to strengthen understanding and collaboration with local residents within the vicinity of Iwakuni City and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.
“Residents in the vicinity, local governments and U.S. personnel worked together to make this concert successful,” said Tetsuya Takeuchi, media officer with the administration department of Chugoku-Shikoku Defense Bureau. “This process will deepen the mutual understanding between the cultures and communities.”
Seven schools with an accumulative 222 students from Iwakuni City and surrounding cities coordinated and performed musical pieces together. The pieces were from popular movies and songs throughout the concert, such as “Let it Go” by Idina Menzel, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and “Pirates of the Caribbean” by Klaus Badelt, to name a few.
The elementary schools that participated were Suo-Oshima Municipal Kuka, Iwakuni Municipal Iwakuni, Otake Municipal Ogata and Iwakuni Elementary Schools. The middle schools that participated were Waki Municipal Waki Junior High School and Iwakuni Middle School. The lone high school to participate was Matthew C. Perry High School.
“This was the best music event that I have ever experienced,” said Misuzu Hosoi, the representative of Ogata Elementary School. “We also had a great time getting to know each other.”
Distinguished guests that attended the concert were Masahiro Akase, the director general of Chugoku-Shikoku Defense Bureau, Toshiharu Moriyama, the superintendent of education in Iwakuni City and U.S. Marine Corps Col. Richard F. Fuerst, commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan.
The concert concluded with participants from each school getting together on stage to perform “Remember Me” by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
“It was an honor having each of you here today on behalf of the MCAS Iwakuni community,” said Fuerst. “I know a lot of work has been put into the concert through your practices and cultural differences, such as the language barrier which you had to overcome. Above all, I hope your experiences here provide motivation to make new friends from different cultures. I hope you remember this experience as one of the many cornerstones of your life.”