Saturday, July 21, 2012 and Sunday, July 22, 2012
Downtown Columbus, Indiana

The inaugural Columbus Japan Festival of the Arts will take place on Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22.  The festival will offer three films and a chamber orchestra concert in its attempt to raise money for Eastern Japanese fisheries that are still feeling the aftereffects of the tsunami/earthquake disaster that occurred on March 11, 2011.  Individual event tickets will be $10 for adults and $5 for children aged 12 and under. Festival passports, which include admission for all three films and a concert, cost $20 for adults and $10 for children aged 12 years or under.

Proceeds from the festival will be sent to aid fisheries in Minami-Sanriku. Mr. Akiyama, the Project Leader for a fishery, wrote to Hidetaka Niiyama, saying that the focus of the people in his area have shifted from survival to revival.  Eastern Japan had one of the best fishing businesses in Japan.  This business was lost due to the tsunami/earthquake disaster, and so was the livelihood of many families.  Most coastal towns, in order to prevent future disasters, are not allowed to rebuild their permanent structures.  The need for portable refrigerated containers is necessary and expensive.  Mr. Akiyama writes, “Through your support from people in Columbus, Indiana, we will utilize the container as our storage for our fishery, and revive our fishing industry once again.  We are waiting for your warmest and kindest support.”

Mayor Kristen Brown supports the efforts of Mr. Niiyama, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors and others. “I congratulate the companies that are part of the Columbus Japanese Business Association for their efforts in helping businesses in Japan rebound after the horrible disaster they suffered. These companies have always been wonderful community partners here in Columbus, and we applaud their generosity to those who still suffer in Japan. This festival is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Japanese culture and help communities rebuild.”

The film offerings commence on Saturday night with the popular film Gantz, a live-action film based on the futuristic Japanese comic book (or manga) of the same name.  This film will be shown at 8:00p.m. at the Crump Theater.  Japanese snacks will be available for sale in the lobby.  It will be a perfect movie for young adults who are interested in Japanese culture and Sci-fi.  It is not rated in the United States, however it is rated PG-12 in Japanese film regulations.

On Sunday, July 22, the film festival continues in Yes Cinema (280 Commons Mall, Columbus, IN - (812) 378-4937)).  At 12:00p.m. a 70 minute-documentary titled Kyo o Mamoru (Protect today) will be shown.  This documentary highlights the struggles of people who had to live in shelters after the disaster, shot by a college student whose house was swept away while she was attending a college away from home. Professor Hatasa, from Purdue University, broke down the film into pieces and sent it  to the Asian Studies departments of Purdue University, Indiana University, Tufts University, and the University of Virginia, among other participating universities.  Students translated each piece into English subtitles as a part of their studies.  There are no graphic pictures of the tsunami and earthquake in the film. 

The third film selection, Hula Girls, will be shown at 1:45 p.m (Yes Cinema (280 Commons Mall, Columbus, IN - (812) 378-4937))) .  This art film was nominated an American Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, and won five awards from the Japan Academy Awards in 2007.  This is uplifting comedy/drama tells the story of how a coal mining town transitions from the mine closing to the opening of a Hawaiian cultural center.  It is not rated. Parental guidance suggested.

The festival will close with a concert of classical and Japanese music by a local group, the Genki band, and a chamber ensemble concert comprised of professional musicians from around Indiana, including from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  Philip Palermo, Associate Concertmaster, will serve as Concertmaster and soloist with the group.  Mr. Palermo is kindly donating his services.    He will play Beethoven’s Romance Op. 60 as a soloist.  Other music selections are tied to movies such as:  Symphony No. 20 by Mozart which was heard in Amadeus; the Intermezzo from the opera, Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni, which is associated with Raging Bull and the Godfather III.

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors is supporting the concert with administrative efforts.  Financial assistance from Columbus-based Japanese companies and other local companies will make the festival possible.  Additional donations by business and individuals are appreciated. 

Please send checks to Columbus Symphony Orchestra P.O. Box 1992, Columbus, IN 47202.; write “Donation for Japan” on the check memo.

Contact:  Hidetaka Niiyama/Principal Organizer
Telephone:  812.606.4318


Funbaro East Japan Project Website

Gantz Movie Website

Kyo o Mamoru (Protect today) Movie Project Websote

Hidetaka Niiyama, Principal Organizer
Columbus Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors

Enkei America, INC.
Honda Trading America Corporation
Kamic Corp.
Nagakura Engineering Works., Co
Nakashima Indiana Manufacturing., INC
Nikkei MC Aluminum America, INC
Sunright America, INC.
Cummins Foundation
Toyota Industrial Equipment Mfg., Inc.

Supporting Organization and Individual
City of Columbus
Columbus Area Art Council
Columbus Japanese Business Association
Japan America Society of Indiana
Kazumi Hatasa, Purdue University
Rovene Quigley, The Crump Theatre