KARACHI: Consulate-General of Japan in Karachi organized ‘Japan Fest 2018’ at Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi, with the attendance of leading political, business, cultural and diplomatic figures.

At the opening of Japan Fest 2018, Consul-General of Japan, Toshikazu Isomura, showed appreciation towards cultural interaction between Japan- and Pakistan and wished that the guests enjoyed various aspects of Japanese culture and traditions.

On this occasion various cultural exhibitions were presented including ikebana (Japanese art of floral arrangement), origami (Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures) and ju-jitsu (Japanese form of martial arts).

The Japan Fest 2018 started with songs and a stage play by Karachi Grammar School students, dance performances and Japanese pop songs played by local Japanese cultural groups “Shonen Infinity,”cosplay contest, SoranBushi Dance  by Karachi Japanese School, fashion show presented by Indus University students, etc. Various activity booths were also set-up to learn Japanese culture. The ambiance was exquisitely decorated with Japanese floral artifacts of ikebana displays, which were extremely appreciated by the audience.

The climax of the evening was the enthralling Koto and Shamisen performance by Japanese artist Ms. SumieKaneko, who is currently on a world tour for playing this unique Japanese traditional music. The audience was captivated by the fascinating diversity of Japanese traditional music and memorable fusion of Japanese and Pakistani compositions.

The Koto is a traditional Japanese stringed instrument with thirteen strings that are strung tautly across 13 movable bridges along the length of the instrument. It reached Japan in the 8th century and was initially played only in the Emperor Court or aristocrat palaces.

The Shamisen is a three stringed instrument and introduced in the 16th century through the Ryukyu Kingdom (now Okinawa) to Osaka. Shamisen is widely played in folk and art music as an accompaniment to lyric and narrative song and in the orchestras of Bunraku (puppet) and Kabuki dramas.

Ms. SumieKaneko is an accomplished Koto and Shamisen player, Jazz singer and songwriter who had studied at prestigious Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music then studied Jazz vocal at BerkleeCollege of Music, she started playing Koto when she was five years old. She was the first Shamisen player who won Pulitzer Prize Paula Vogel’s “The Long Christmas Ride Home” and has collaborated with many of world instrumentalist.