和楽器演奏会/Traditional Japanese musical instruments concert
Since the beginning of the spread of the coronavirus, many things have changed on our campus. The previous semester was hosted entirely online and campus was closed to students. We were not able to host many events, such as graduation ceremonies for fourth year and orientation for first year students. We will finish the year of 2020 without hosting any international students because all study abroad programs have been cancelled.
International students who joined our 2019-2020 study abroad programs found the second half of their experience to be much different from the first half. They have not been able to fully enjoy their time in Japan as many things have been closed, and it is recommended that people only go out when it is necessary.
Many of these students have also had a difficult time finding flights back to their home countries due to national emergencies and fear of spreading the virus further. We have continued to house our two remaining students from Uzbekistan who have been unable to return home. With their departure finally approaching, our university wanted to send them off with a Japanese experience we hope was memorable.
BGU was very lucky to host a trio of musicians to play a private concert for a small group of the BGU community. These professionals played their shakuhachi, koto and shamisen in an event that is considered a rare experience even among Japanese people. Masks were required, face shields were provided and social distance measures were enforced.
The shakuhachi and koto are traditional Japanese instruments that were both introduced to Japan by China in the 7th century.
The shakuhachi is a flute traditionally made from bamboo and is most notable for its use as a spiritual tool by the Zen Buddhist monks during medieval times. They considered the playing of the instrument to be mediation just as much as it was music.
The koto is a stringed instrument and is the national instrument of Japan. It has been known to be popular among the wealthy and was also considered to be a romantic instrument.The first known version had five strings and over time has grown and settled on the 13 strings it has today.Our private concert consisted of four songs: three traditionally Japanese and the fourth was a rendition of the modern classic “Imagine” by John Lennon.
After the concert, the students were able to get closer to the instruments and ask the musicians questions.
The event ended with a more exclusive lunch gathering including the students, performers, BGU president, chairperson and various BGU professors.