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Friday, April 13, 2012

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Pulse of Asia: Many facets of Asian culture will be celebrated at the Asia Koryu Ongakusai: Asian Heartbeat 2012 in Kawasaki.

Pop stars' hearts beat for Asia

Staff writer

Vienna, Nashville and Ibiza are all places famous for music. How about Kawasaki? If Jeff Miyahara has his way, the Tokyo suburb will soon get that reputation, too.

This weekend, an event called Asia Koryu Ongakusai: Asian Heartbeat 2012 will be held on 11 stages mainly around JR Kawasaki Station. There will be free concerts performed by more than 100 groups made up of 12 different nationalities. The performances include a selection of sounds representing Japan through the shakuhachi, Enka and other music. From elsewhere in Asia, China, Cambodia, India and more will have presences. On top of the tunes, there will be food stalls at the event that feature music from across the continent.

Organizers changed the name of the event from "Asian Healing" to "Asian Heartbeat." One of the event's previous stages, at Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall, was damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11 last year. Organizers say that not only the hall, but people's hearts suffered because of it.

"This year's concept is to cheer Japan up," says Saki Kanbara from Prap Japan, who is in charge of publicity for this event. That may be why — also different from previous events — more pop artists will take to the stages this year. Producing the main stage will be Miyahara, who has worked with pop stars Juju, Kana Nishino and Crystal Kay among others. "Miyahara even produced the leaflets for the event," Kanbara says. The fame of Kawasaki as a music city may depend on whether the J-pop hit maker can cheer people up with this diverse range of artists. One things is for sure — our stomachs should be happy.

Asia Koryu Ongakusai: Asian Heartbeat 2012 will take place on April 14 and 15 (12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; tickets for the main stage cost ¥7,350 or ¥ 8,400). For a list of performers, schedules and stages, visit www.tvk-yokohama.com/asia/index.html.

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