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Going beyond the barriers of religion in remembrance of 9/11


On September eleventh, the Tsukiji Fukinkai group comprised of the Tsukiji Parish of the Roman Catholic Church of St. Joseph, St. Luke’s International Hospital, and Tsukiji Betsuin together conducted a series of pipe organ concerts at their respective locations entitled In hopes for world peace- an interfaith pipe organ concert. The first concert of the series was performed on the France-made pipe organ of the Tsukiji Parish. The parish was built in 1874, and was the first Catholic church to be built in Tokyo. The second concert was given at the St. Luke’s International Hospital performed on a 17th, 18 th century Baroque-style pipe organ from Northern Germany. The concert series concluded with the performance at Tsukiji Betsuin as music performed on the German-made pipe organ resonated within the temple hall. In addition to the pipe organ performance, a gagaku performance and the chanting of the Sanbutsuge were also conducted. At each of the locations, representative clergy presented a message on peace. Also in conjunction to the pipe organ concert, the Tokyo district core programs promotion committee conducted a peace forum, 9/11 Now- as the thread of happiness spins, with a special lecture by political theorist, Douglas Lummis and a concert by Kakumakushaka.

(Excerpt from Hongwanji Journal, October 1, 2010)


The atomic-bombed piano travels to New York

A peace concert was held on September 12 at the New York Buddhist Church, located near Central Park. The pieces were performed on a piano that had survived the atomic-bomb blast in Hiroshima. The statue of Shinran Shonin, which stands at the entryway to the Buddhist church, also survived the atomic-bomb blast. In visiting the temple, locals renewed their appreciation for world peace, going beyond words, religious beliefs and ethnic differences. The concert was given by Mitsunori Yagawa, a member of Sennenji Temple who is the owner of the piano and is a piano tuner in Hiroshima city. The piano was taken overseas for the first time, hoping that in bringing the piano and statue of Shinran Shonin together, Yagawa would be able to share an important message to as many people as possible, that which aims toward a world free of warfare and terrorism. Following the annual memorial observance recognizing those who had lost their lives in the 9/11 attack, stories were told about the piano, including how a girl had been playing the piano up until the time of the blast. Musicians from both the U.S. and Japan performed as visitors got a first-hand look at the piano which had been damaged by the broken pieces of glass as their desire for world peace and the abolition of war grew intense. Concerts were also held at the park along the Hudson River, the Japanese School in New York, and the United Nations Church Center. Music resonating from this piano was a way of transmitting Shinran’s wish of “May peace and tranquility prevail throughout the world and may the Buddha’s teaching spread.”

(Excerpt from Hongwanji Journal, October 10, 2010)