The rhythmic sounds of Japanese drums combined with those of Sri Lankan drums reverberated within the precincts of the NYSC Auditorium, Maharagama on Sunday, June 12, as an appreciative audience of around 500 experienced ‘Cool Japan, Warm Sri Lanka’, a joint drumming performance by ‘HA-YA-TO’, a popular Japanese Taiko drumming trio, together with Sri Lanka Youth Dance Troupe of the National Youth Services Council of Sri Lanka. While Ven. Kohrin Ohtani, Councillor of Honganji Foundation, Japan and Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka, attended the event as the organizers, Karu Jayasuriya, Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka graced the occasion as a Guest of Honour.
Addressing the forum Ambassador Suganuma recalled with appreciation the religious and cultural affinities between Japan and Sri Lanka and their long-standing friendship. His Excellency also cited the role of drums in both countries as yet another salient feature in the social, religious and cultural fabric of life for both countries.
In his remarks, the Venerable Ohtani recalled various moments of their presence in Sri Lanka for many years with a view to promoting both religious and cultural exchanges between the two countries. The construction of the Bahamian Buddha Statue (giant replica) at Peraliya in order to pay tribute to the victims of the tsunami disaster and the establishment of the International Buddhist Museum in Kandy were cited as examples of their contributions over the years. He also said that this Taiko drum performance would not only contribute towards promoting the cultural relations between the two countries but also enable the Sri Lankan people to understand and appreciate Japanese spiritual assets of Buddhism enshrined within the Taiko performance.
HA-YA-TO and Michiko Yamada, as another guest musician from Japan, specializing in Japanese transverse bamboo flute, presented a variety of vibrant yet rhythmic performances of drumming with the participation of the Sri Lanka Youth Dance Troupe.
The audience enjoyed both their solo and joint performances not only listening but also stamping their feet and clapping their hands in appreciation of the performances displayed on stage. The event was a wonderful opportunity for fellowship among Japanese and Sri Lankans and above all enabled the audience to understand and appreciate the Japanese spirit in the role of Taiko in Japan’s religious arena.
The event was organized by Honganji Foundation, Japan, supported by Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka and co-sponsored by Japan Foundation, ITN and NYSC.