Oct 25, 2023 | Annual Events

The JASGC 35th Anniversary Annual Gala

The JASGC 35th Anniversary Gala Dinner was held on Thursday, October 12 at Hyde Park Golf & Country Club (Cincinnati).

Master of Ceremonies Koji Sado (JASGC Board President) provided opening remarks, briefly tracing the history of JASGC from its inception in 1988 to the present day and highlighting key events in Cincinnati during that period. Special guests at the event included Yusuke Shindo, Consul General of Japan in Detroit, and Mrs. Seiko Shindo, who attended the event after enjoying a guided tour of Procter & Gamble hosted by Koji Sado.

Newly-appointed JASGC Board Member Helen Rindsberg introduced keynote speaker Toko Shiiki – an award-winning filmmaker, musician, and artist who has produced several Japan-related documentaries.

In a conversation recently with the JASGC, Shiiki shared:

“When I decided to film the people of Fukushima, I never thought I would focus on music in the movie. But when I asked them what gives them joy in life, they told me music, coincidentally. And it became very much a music-related film. I can add Genki Endo’s story, of course (he is also a part of the film, “Threshold”).

His personal growth has been remarkable in the ten years! (I shot Threshold in 2013, and the short film I shot during my recent trip to Japan was in 2023 — ten years apart!) So, I think both films fit the theme, “The Power of Music – Resilience, Community, and Personal Growth – Japanese Style.”

Synopsis: After the nuclear power plant accident, Taiko drummer Genki Endo was forced to leave his hometown in Fukushima Prefecture. Amid a life where he couldn’t return to his hometown, he came to realize how important it was to him. Furthermore, as members of the taiko group, he led began to leave one after another, he also had the opportunity to confront his own shortcomings. After six years of living as an evacuee, with some choosing to return to their hometown and others deciding not to, Genki chose to return to his hometown and continues to play the taiko drums with children today, revitalizing his hometown.

The 35th Anniversary JASGC Gala also featured a brief performance by Shiiki’s husband, Erik Santos, a renowned composer, musician, and Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan.

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