Pianist Who Was Brutally Beaten in N.Y. Gets Support

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Tadataka Unno

NEW YORK — Friends are raising funds to help a Japanese pianist who was brutally beaten last month in New York.

The Change.org petition, organized by a friend on behalf of the Unno family, reads as follows:

“Tadataka Unno is a husband, good friend, father, and one of the brightest lights in jazz piano. He as performed in the working bands of Jimmy Cobb, Roy Hargrove, Winard Harper, John Pizzarelli, Clifton Anderson and many other greats.

“On Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, Tada was attacked and badly beaten in New York City by eight assailants just a few blocks from his home. The assailants broke Tada’s right collar bone, bruised his head, and body. After the beating Tada was rushed by ambulance to the emergency room, spent time in the hospital and may need an operation.

“He suffers from trauma from this attack. Tada provides for his family by playing piano. Due to his broken collar bone he cannot play and does not know when he will be able to.

“My names is Jerome Jennings and I am a drummer, educator, and bandleader based out of Montclair, N.J. I first met Tada in Japan and have known him and his wife for over 15 years. We have played together all over the world. We are both friends and colleagues. I have known Tada to be one of the kindest and gentlest souls.

“Four months ago Tada and his wife Sayaka welcomed a new baby into the world. Your donations will go towards emergency medical bills, physical therapy, rent, utilities, groceries, mental health support (therapy), taxis, moving expenses (in order to move to a neighborhood where they feel safer), and childcare. All contributions will go directly to Tadataka and his wife’s joint bank account. Please give what you can. Thank you.”

The message is repeated in Japanese:

海野雅威 (うんの ただたか)という人は、良き友人であり、幸せな家庭を持ち、そして素晴らしいジャズピアニストです。それは彼が一緒に共演してきたミュージシャンを挙げれば歴然でしょう(ジミー・コブ、ロイ・ハーグローヴ、ウィナード・ハーパー、ジョン・ピッツァレリ、クリフトン・アンダーソンなど)。9月27日日曜日、タダ(海野雅威)はニューヨークにある彼のアパートの近所で突然8人の大群による暴行に襲われました。彼らの暴行により、鎖骨骨折、頭を含む全身にアザを受けることになってしまいました。暴行を受けた後、救急車に運ばれ、病院で数日を過ごし大事には至りませんでしたが、手術が必要である可能性がまだ残っているようです。この襲撃による精神的なダメージは想像を超えるものです。彼はピアノを弾くことで家族を養ってきたのです。ですが、鎖骨破損によりピアノを弾くこともままならない状況ですし、いつ弾けるようになるかは分からないとのこと。そして、たった4ヶ月前には新生児を奥様のさやかさんと迎えられたばかり。アメリカの医療費というのは日本と比べ物にならず、彼を救った救急車にも多額のお金がかかります。そして、家族を養うための家賃、光熱費、食費、タクシー代、赤ちゃんを養うお金、、全て払わねばなりません。このような事態になってしまった、海野雅威とその家族を是非とも、自分のできる限りで助けてやってください。よろしくお願いします!(ジェローム・ジェニングス)

As of Thursday evening, the campaign had raised over $152,000, surpassing the initial goal of $25,000.

According to CNN, the attack occurred when Unno was exiting the West 135th Street Station in Harlem. He was confronted by a group of young people blocking the turnstiles.

Police said that after Unno tried to avoid them, he was pushed from behind and two people began yelling at him.

“I had no idea why I was shoved. One of them pointed at me and said, This guy just pushed me’ to her peers. This was not true,” Unno wrote in a statement to CNN. “One of the others said, ‘She’s pregnant,’ as if to imply that I had just attacked a pregnant person.”

One male began beating Unno, followed him, and continued to attack him, causing Unno to fall to the ground. As he fled the station, the group followed him, beating him repeatedly while bystanders watched.

Unno says that the group called him a “Chinese m*therf**ker.”

“I felt like they were hitting me to release stress,” Unno wrote in his statement. “It felt like they were just hitting me until they felt done, and that they would continue to beat me until I was either unconscious and severely injured, or dead.”

Unno thought he was going to die, he wrote, until he began thinking of his wife and 4-month-old son “and thought that I couldn’t die.” A nearby woman then intervened and called an ambulance, Unno wrote.

Unno said he suffered a complex fracture in his shoulder and arm, which required an operation. He is completely unable to use his right arm, which he relies on for his livelihood as a jazz pianist.

“I might never play again,” he wrote. “The trauma, both physical and mental, are severe, and I have no timeline for a full recovery.”

No arrests have been made, according to the NYPD.

“Thank you everyone for your prayers, love and tremendous support,” Unno and his family said in a message to their supporters.

For more information on Unno, visit his website: www.tadatakaunno.com

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