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Ukrainian Musical Performance and Special Lecture Held at KGU
As Russian military aggression against Ukraine persists, the world is in a state of anxiety and sadness. To remember Ukraine and to listen to the voices of Ukrainian people who have taken refuge in Japan, the Kwansei Gakuin Educational Corporation hosted a special lecture and a concert featuring the bandura, a Ukrainian folk instrument, at the Central Auditorium of the Nishinomiya-Uegahara Campus on November 21. An audience of roughly 240 people, including students, pupils, faculty and staff, and members of the general public, attended the event. The bandura player, Kateryna, is one of only two people in Japan who is proficient with the instrument. Born in Pripyat, Ukraine, she moved to Tokyo at the age of 19 for her music career, and she has been doing performances in Japan and overseas. For this performance, Kateryna played songs such as the Ukrainian tunes “Yellow Flower” and “Road to Mother,” and performed “Give Me Wings” in Japanese. Her beautiful singing voice and melodies echoed through the Central Auditorium. Speaking to the audience, she said, “I hope that the war will soon be over. May the war end soon, and may we live in peace, safety, and freedom, under blue skies forever.”
Next, Ms. Yuria Yokoyama, head of the Ukraine Evacuee Support Project of the Japan YMCA Alliance, gave a lecture focusing on the details of her activities to support Ukrainian evacuees. Using data, she explained that more than 2,000 people from Ukraine have fled to Japan, that the Japan YMCA Alliance has helped more than 150 people to come to Japan, that 75% of them are women, and that Ukrainians are highly motivated to work. She also talked about the project team’s experiences in assisting refugees from their departure from Ukraine to their arrival in Japan, meeting them at the airport, and the procedures they had to go through to live in Japan. Regarding current issues they face, she said said, "Each family and individual has different problems, and we are conducting interviews to provide individualized support. In particular, we need to take care of their mental state, which can easily lead to physical problems. Some people are so anxious that they mistakenly believe that the earthquakes they experience in Japan are bombings. In addition to daily life support, we will continue to provide support through various methods, such as offering places to vent and refresh themselves, counseling, and so on."
A third-year student at the School of Sociology who attended the event said, "Today's dialogue made me realize that we should not turn a blind eye to what is happening in Ukraine. It was a good opportunity for me to change my mind about war and peace, as well as Russia's invasion of Ukraine."
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