VMU Held a Charity Concert in Support of Japan

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On Tuesday, March 29, a charity concert was held at the VMU Aula Magna (Gimnazijos g. 7), where donations in support of the Japanese people were collected. The audience did not stay indifferent to Japan, which extended a helping hand to Lithuania many times in the past.

Indrė Sekevičienė, i.sekeviciene@vkt.vdu.lt
Martynas Gedvila, m.gedvila.vkt.vdu.lt

Her Excellency the Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Lithuania Miyoko Akashi, who participated in the charity concert, expressed gratitude for Lithuania’s willingness to support and display solidarity in this difficult time. "We have received a lot of letters from people saying they want to help. At the door of the Embassy we have found flowers, candles, origamis. I am very thankful for the organization of this event and the invitation to take part in it", said Her Excellency Miyoko Akashi. When the talk shifted to the topic of the disaster that has struck Japan, the Ambassador of Japan emphasised the importance of solidarity and unity. "The Japanese people are patient, believing and united. Even those who have suffered try to do their best to help the weaker ones", said Akashi.

"Our hearts are with Japan. The tragic events are continuing and the number of casualties is growing. Thousands have lost their loved ones and homes, children have no shelter. Today is the day when we can extend a helping hand. Holding a charity concert is the least that we can do", said VMU Rector Prof. Zigmas Lydeka, thanking the audience for coming and contributing to this beautiful solidarity campaign.

According to Aurelijus Zykas, the head of the VMU Centre for Asian Studies, the ties among Kaunas, Vytautas Magnus University and Japan are especially strong. "Japan is one of those Asian countries that has always been especially fascinating to us Lithuanians, due to its economic achievements and preserved traditions; we have always felt spiritual closeness to this country. During the interwar period, famous Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara lived in Kaunas, while the public figure Steponas Kairys (who would later become a professor at VMU) wrote the first-ever Lithuanian books about Japan here, in the beginning of the 20th century. It is no secret that, after re-establishment of the university, Asian studies were launched thanks to the interest in this particular country. Japan has always been a friend of Lithuania. It was one of the first to recognise our independence, they supported us in difficult times. For that reason, this terrible disaster which has struck Japan brings so much sorrow to our community", explained Zykas.

In the concert, students of the VMU Music Academy performed live music: Stasys Šimkus’ "Kur bakūžė samanota", performed by Liudas Mikalauskas (bass) and Virginija Unguraitytė (piano), Juozas Tallat–Kelpša’s "Už aukštųjų kalnelių" , performed by Liudas Mikalauskas (bass) and Virginija Unguraitytė (piano), Maurice Ravel’s "Ondine" (from piano suite Gaspard de la Nuit), performed by Motiejus Bazaras (piano), Sergei Rachmaninov’s Études-Tableaux, Op. 39, No. 6, performed by Motiejus Bazaras (piano), Modest Mussorgsky’s "Lullaby" performed by Liudas Mikalauskas (bass) and Virginija Unguraitytė (piano) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Divertimento for string orchestra, performed by the VMU Music Academy Student String Orchestra (conductor Robertas Bliškevičius).

More than 3000 Lt was donated during the concert. These donations were transferred to a special bank account of the Lithuanian Red Cross Society. As a token of remembrance for this kindness campaign and their participation in it, the guests were gifted origamis made by the members of the VMU Japanese Club "Hashi". The attending public was also handed April editions of the magazine IQ. The Economist, which is actively supporting disaster-struck Japan.

The event was organized by Vytautas Magnus University, the Sugihara Foundation "Diplomats for Life", VMU Centre for Asian Studies and the Aula Magna Music Association.

Last year The Nippon Foundation, Japanese charity organization established in 1962, donated more than 100 English-language publications representing the country’s culture, science and art to Vytautas Magnus University’s library. After the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11, the organization is requesting financial aid for the reconstruction of the disaster-struck region and support of the victims. More information available here.

 You are welcome to view the photo report by Alvydas Vaitkevičius (a.vaitkevicius@vkt.vdu.lt).

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