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On October 22, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its founding by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda on October 18, 1963, the Min-On Concert Association launched "The Power of Music" symposium series with a special lecture held at Tsuda Hall in Tokyo. The symposium series aims to encourage discussion on how music can contribute to the establishment of peace.
Guest speakers were Agnes Chan from Hong Kong and Olivier Urbain from Belgium. Dr. Chan is a singer, professor of education, and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Japan. Dr. Urbain is director of the SGI-affiliated Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research and a former professor of peace studies at Soka University in Tokyo.
Drawing on personal experiences, the speakers discussed the power of music to promote mutual understanding and friendship, two essential components for peace. A question-and-answer session followed the lecture.
The first symposium in "The Power of Music" series was held on November 21 and focused on the power of culture in modern Japan, while the second, held on November 26, was a feature on tango music. The third symposium, held on December 8, explored the world of Peking Opera.
Throughout the year, in celebration of its 50th anniversary Min-On has also invited various musical and dance groups to tour Japan. Recent performers include the internationally acclaimed Cuban saxophonist César López and his Habana Ensemble, brought to Japan in conjunction with the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Tokyo, and Amaral Vieira, well-known Brazilian composer and pianist. Both musicians composed pieces marking the occasion of the 50th anniversary. Exemplifying the fact that music has the power to connect people across cultures, one of the pieces written by Mr. López was dedicated to the people of Japan and, Mr.Vieira's anniversary piece, inspired by SGI President Ikeda's essay "The Courage to Rebuild," was composed for the people of Tohoku. related article Bringing Hope Into Focus by Dan McKinney Cinematographer Dan McKinney describes how his Buddhist practice has enabled him to find within himself the qualities he needs to successfully connect to and portray the humanity of the people whose stories he is telling.
Min-On, which in Japanese literally means "the people's music," was founded by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda to promote international cultural exchange and peace through music and performing arts from around the world. In an essay marking Min-On's 50th anniversary, Mr. Ikeda writes: "What has propelled us forward, then as now, is the overriding goal to return music to the populace, to broaden a culture of humanism and to kindle the solidarity of all people through music for peace in the world." In the fifty years since its inception, the Min-On Concert Association has welcomed more than 110 million concertgoers and its network of cultural exchange now spans 105 countries and territories.
[Adapted from articles in the October 23, November 23, November 29 and December 12, 2013, issues of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan, and the Special 2013 issue of harmony, Min-On Concert Association; photos courtesy of Min-On Concert Association]
The Practice of Dignity
by Mitch Bogen, Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue
Strengthening the Voice of Women at the UN
by Ivy Gabbert, SGI Office for UN Affairs, New York
by Daniele Santi, Italy
The Three Faiths Project--SGI-UK
by Gemma Novis, UK
A Palace of Artistic and Cultural Exchanges--Soka Gakkai Malaysia
by Dinesh Chandren, Malaysia
Learn, Reflect, Empower: SGI and Education for Sustainable Development
by Nobuyuki Asai, Japan