On 6th and 9th October 2021, the Embassy of Japan in Zambia hosted the “Japan-Africa 440th Anniversary Concert” to commemorate the relationship between Japan and Africa.

The concert held at the Ambassador’s residence was graced by two artists from Japan, Ms. DODO Azusa (Soprano) and Ms. ONODERA Miki (Pianist), who moved the audience to excitement on both evenings with energetic performances that left the sizable audience wanting more. Even the host Mr. MIZUUCHI Ryuta, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Zambia, could not resist joining the two artists on stage with his own rendition of a song as the evening wore on.
Mr. MIZUUCHI narrated to the audience how an African man travelled to Japan with a Jesuit missionary. The man caught the attention of ODA Nobunaga, the 16th Century ruler of the “Period of Warlords” of Japan at the time. Nobunaga hired the man and named him Yasuke and gave him the rank of Samurai, which was a privileged rank at the time. It was then that the first African Samurai was born. The momentous incident heralded the beginning of the relationship between Japan and Africa, making this year the 440th anniversary of the relationship.
The concert started with some Japanese songs, followed by songs from opera and popular hymn such as Amazing Grace. Almost inevitably, the concert was climaxed by the rendition of the Tiyende Pamodzi anthem, loved so much by the First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda, as the artists were joined by the guests that included members of the diplomatic corps, academia and the local sports fraternity.
Both Ms. DODO and Ms. ONODERA graduated from Kunitachi College of Music, one of the distinguished colleges of music in Japan. They cultivated their skills in Italy where they also won several awards including special prizes in the Riccardo Zandonai International Opera Competition and the International Piano Competition in Foggia in Italy.
All the invited guests enjoyed the concert while confirming strong ties between Japan and each guest.
To read the speech by Ambassador MIZUUCHI at this event, please click here.