Spring Love Rocks Yoyogi Park With Peaceful Vibes All Weekend!!
Peace Not War Japan is honored to have had the opportunity to
collaborate with the longstanding organizers of the "Harukaze"
parties to put on the "Spring Love (Harukaze)" event this past
weekend (April 4-5) in Yoyogi Park , which turned out to be wildly
successful in all respects. Around 40,000 people ventured over
during the weekend to chill out and/or dance to the organic grooves
of numerous artists and DJs on two stages, attend talk sessions on
various peace-related topics, visit the NGO/citizens' group information
booths, browse the eco-goods at the flea market, and enjoy food and
drinks from the array of healthy food stalls...all set against the backdrop
of the cherry blossoms in full bloom. What a weekend!!
Peace Not War Japan was responsible for organizing the peace program
at the festival, whose highlights included the following:
☆ A discussion with peace activist Yasuyaki "Yatch" Aizawa, photo-
journalist Hironobu Kubota, and journalist/activist May Shigenobu
regarding their experiences witnessing war in the Middle East, as well
as ways to educate ourselves about the realities of war and take steps to
help ensure a world based upon peace
☆ Presentations from two hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) from
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, together with film director Hitomi Kamenaka
and two staff from the NGO Peace Boat, regarding the necessity to
continue opposing all forms of nuclear weapons, as well as the continuing
dangers of nuclear power
☆ A session on peace and spirituality with Peace Not War Japan music
director Hiroshi Fukui, peace activist Yumi Kikuchi, Dance for Peace
founder and DJ Gerry Ong, and Monkbeat musician Yasu Yamaguchi
regarding the steps that each of us can take to bring peace and positive
energies into our own hearts and minds each day, as well as the connection
between peace on a personal and larger level
Each session included a Q&A session held on the smaller Love Stage, which
was nestled in front of a small grove of cherry trees. Numerous questions
were fielded regarding the overall issue of how each one of us can make a
difference toward creating a world emphasizing the peace-based values of
respect, love and sharing rather than violence and war. It was particularly
gratifying to see many young people stay around to listen to the peace sessions
after dancing to a DJ set, and then get involved by participating in the Q&A
sessions. It was clear that many people had never before attended a peace
event and were considering these issues for the first time, proving the oft-
stated principle that every individual action for peace makes a difference
on a larger scale. Truly, every ripple turns into a larger wave!
PNWJ extends gracious thanks and deepest respect to all of the musicians
and artists who donated their time and talents with outstanding performances
and messages of peace, as well as to all of the peace program panelists, NGO
staff and volunteers, flea market and food stall participants, and of course
everyone else who came to the park to enjoy a bit of Spring Love. We can't
wait for next year!!!
Below is a message from Peace Not War Japan founder Dom Pates, who
returned to England last year and was unfortunately unable to join the
festival. His words were read onstage to the backdrop of gorgeous candles
carved by artist Candle Jun, and amongst an incredible positive vibration
created from the interplay of the musicians and the audience. Thanks Dom...
we missed you!!
PNWJ began five years ago to raise awareness of troubles happening in
different parts of the planet and to build a bridge between Japan and the
rest of the world.
It was also aimed at encouraging people to think more about peace. But
what is this thing called ‘peace’?
Yes, peace is the resolution of conflict through dialogue and a sense of
perspective. Yes, peace is the choice of non-violence and the absence of
war. Yes, peace is understanding between cultures and respect between
Peace is also food in your belly, safety in your home and the freedom to
live as you choose. Peace is also a walk in the park, with the sun on your
skin and a smile on your face. Peace is both personal and universal.
In these times of great uncertainty and fear around the world, there is a
greater need than ever for peaceful solutions to our problems. There is
also great opportunity. A chance for fresh starts. A chance for new ideas.
A chance to move on from old ways of thinking. There is no ‘us and them’,
there is only ‘us’.
I am both humbled and thrilled that the work that began in 2004 has
continued and grown since I left Tokyo. The seed that was planted back
then has now become a small forest.
My deepest thanks go out to the team at PNWJ, the organisers of the event,
the volunteers, performers, speakers and peace groups who have all given
their time and talents towards making this event work. Most of all, I’d like
to thank all of you who have come here to enjoy the day, to share your peace
or just to hang out under the cherry blossoms.
Peace is the only way to move forward let’s keep moving forward together.
Artwork by Candle June