Children of Ofunato Sakari Elementary School in Iwate Prefecture show some of the instruments that were purchased with donations raised by the Asia America Symphony Association. They are joined by Ted Tokio Tanaka (front row, center) and Masako Unoura-Tanaka (back row, second from right).

On May 28, 2011, Asia America Symphony Association sponsored the Japan Relief Concert, a fundraiser benefiting the victims of the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

The concert was a labor of love, with many volunteering their time and musical talents as well as their financial support. AASA presented the $25,000 raised from the concert to four elementary and three junior high schools in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture.

The Japan America Society of Southern California joined AASA in matching an additional $25,000, bringing the total amount donated to $50,000. The schools purchased 44 musical instruments for the community, which was hard hit by the earthquake/tsunami.

The children of Ofunato are known for their musical talents, and AASA and JASSC wanted them to start practicing music again in order to give them the opportunity to support their continued musical ambitions.

AASA President Ted Tokio Tanaka, FAIA, and his wife, Masako Unoura-Tanaka, AASA board member and herself a survivor of the tsunami, recently visited the schools. They saw first-hand the smiling children playing music with their new instruments, which made the couple cry tears of joy.

Although this is a humble beginning, AASA assures donors that their generous support has expanded multifold in offering much comfort and support to the children and families in Tohoku.

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