In response to the ongoing negative effects impacting the victims of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, world-renowned Japanese soprano Seiko Lee and Japanese actor Shin Koyamada have united their relief efforts for a special one-night benefit concert to show that America has not forgotten its Japanese brothers and sisters.
Hosted by Nia Lyte and to be held Saturday, July 9, at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo, the 90-minute concert will begin at 8 p.m. Advance ticket prices are $25 for adults 18 and over, and $15 for children ages 10-17. Tickets can be purchased at the door based on availability. Call (888) 338-8441.
Under their respective NPO (non-profit organization) banners, the Seiko Lee Project and the Shin Koyamada Foundation’s JERFA (Japan Emergency Relief Fund of America) initiative, Lee and Koyamada have dubbed their joint relief concert “Waves of Healing from Los Angeles.” Their message: although we can’t control the ocean’s waves, we can create our own waves to balance our losses with victories for humankind.
Apart from being a six-time national martial arts champion, Koyamada became an international celebrity after co-starring with Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe in “The Last Samurai.” His star power was boosted with his starring role alongside Brenda Song in “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior,” one of the Disney Channel’s top-rated original movies.
Through philanthropic work with Chuck Norris and President George H.W. Bush via the Boy and Girls Club of America’s youth empowerment program, Kickstart, he was inspired to co-found the Shin Koyamada Foundation (SKF) with Lyte in 2008. The nonprofit organization offers youth scholarships to teach the importance of respect, honor, courtesy, values and manners through martial arts and active participation in global environmental issues. The current SKF president is Shoichi Nakagiri.
The SKF also raises money to provide education for underprivileged individuals and families as well as to implement international cultural exchange projects. The SKF strives to empower youth to achieve their goals and dreams and promote an Earth-friendly lifestyle. For more information, visit www.koyamada.org.
In 2010, Koyamada was named the international goodwill ambassador of the Okayama prefectural government, and he continues to help U.S. nonprofit charitable events.
As an entrepreneur, his latest venture is the production company Shinca Entertainment, creator of the popular manga series “Dreamhoppers.”
Lee has established an international reputation as a gifted singer who enthralls audiences worldwide. After graduating from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts, she has been a frequent soloist with the New York City Symphony.
Beyond being a concert artist, Lee has a deep concern for world peace. She made frequent appearances at the United Nations (2007-2008) with her concerts for reconciliation and healing. In 2006 and 2007, she performed in North Korea for a peace initiative aimed at healing the enmity between Japan and Korea, and between North and South Korea. Lee also performed at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. to mark the anniversary of the end of the Korean War.
Following this year’s disaster in Japan, Lee has held relief concerts in Ohio and Manhattan. After Los Angeles, she will go on tour in Europe.