Akira Tana and Otonowa – Commemerating the 5th Anniversary of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

20160108_MG_2235_TanaEns**_3x6Upcoming 3.11 related events/performances for

AKIRA TANA AND OTONOWA to commemorate 5th
Anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami disaster.


3/11 Savanna Jazz in San Carlos (8pm)

1189 Laurel St., San Carlos savannajazz.com

3/12 “Tohoku Springs Back!: A Fundraiser Celebrating 5 Years of
Positive Change in Tohoku, Japan” (7pm)

At Bower Center, Berkeley 2150 Allston Way
$75 General/$50 UCB students via Center for Japanese
Studies http://ieas.berkeley.edu/cjs/
featuring guest vocalist SAKI KONO


3/13 Café Pink House in Saratoga (6pm)

14577 Big Basin Way, Saratoga cafepinkhouse.com
Limited seating, reservation recommended. $15 

Donations will be accepted for the continuing rebuilding efforts.

OTONOWA is: Masaru Koga, Ken Okada, and Art Hirahara
photo: Andy Nozaka

Otonowa fundraising Concert July 12, 2015

Otonowa – A Benefit Concert at Piedmont Piano in Oakland
Having toured Northern Japan in aiding the relief efforts there, Otonowa (Sound Circle) will be performing jazz interpretations of Japanese folk and pop melodies, employing traditional Japanese instruments to compliment the standard jazz quartet instrumentation. It will be an evening of music, discussion of the group’s ongoing mission, light snacks and beverages, and hope that contributions can be made to make the upcoming tour as successful as the previous tours.

Featuring Masaru Koga, Ken Noriyuki Okada, Art Hirahara, and Akira Tana

Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 7:30pm
at Piedmont Piano Company
1728 San Pablo Ave. (at 18th), Oakland, CA

All the members of the group and staff support are donating their time and efforts. The costs of the tour are entirely dependent on the generous donations of music supporters who recognize the power of spiritual healing through music.

FREE ADMISSION – donations welcome

To RSVP, please call (510) 547-8188

For more details, visit http://piedmontpiano.com/concerts/150712otonowa.html


Congratulations to Fujinosono Children’s Shelter


Congratulations to Ichinoseki Fujinosono Children’s Shelter. They will open their new, children’s home this summer to house approximately 50 children. The original home was damaged in the March 11, 2011 earthquake that devastated the Tohoku region.

The home will be state-of-the-art and one of the most eco-friendly buildings in Japan, with solar, passive solar design, heating from bio-mass from the surrounding area. The building will also serve as a disaster center for the immediate area. Congratulations to Sister Caelina and to Sae Kani of Malteser International for raising monies and building the project.

A donation from the Tohoku Insights 2013 event was sent to Fujinoso. In addition, jazz musician, Akira Tana and his band Otonowa, made a donation from the proceeds of the new CD “Otonowa” that was featured at the Tohoku Insights 2013 event. Thank  you Akira.



Twilight Concert, April 27, 2013

On April 27, ZenPlay, the Edgewood Trio of (Beni Shinohara – violin, Margaret Moores – cello, and Marilyn Thompson – piano), and Himawari-kai co-hosted a fundraising concert in Tiburon, California.

Over 70 people came to celebrate beautiful music, friendship, food and wine in a true testament to the ZenPlay spirit: Play a little, give a lot.

We raised over $8000 in this event, and will send to Ichinoseki Fujinosono, over $6000 in donations (after expenses), to support over 40 children who live in the house. The children are looking forward to moving into their new home after having lived in temporary housing after the earthquake in 2011.

Video: Yuko Inatsuki

Fujinosono images: Steve Yamaguma

Kids Orchestra Japan Project

Just met Junko Suzuki Parsons and her friends at Mari Kawawa’s fundraiser “Twilight COncert on the Bay”, Saturday, April 27th, 2013 in Tiburon, CA, featuring the Edgewood Trio. Junko’s team is helping promote the Kids Orchestra Japan Project, an exchange program of youths in Japan and the U.S. collaborating with music. Their goal is to connect the kids in the affected areas in the Tohoku area of Japan to help them through these challenging times. Will be updating more about their progress.

Otonowa – Jazz ensemble to perform in Tohoku


March,2013 Japan

Otonowa, the acclaimed ensemble led by jazz drummer Akira Tana will be heading to Japan to perform at several benefit concerts supporting the recover efforts in the Tohoku region.

The Otonowa tour schedule:

26th 7-11:30 pm Satin Doll, Roppongi, Tokyo

27th evening Tono, Iwate @NPO遠野、岩手

28th 10-2:30 Otsuchi, Iwate@NPO大槌、岩手//  Evening Kesennuma Shimin Kaikan Chu Hall, Miyagi気仙沼市民会館中ホール、宮城

29th  1 – 9pm Tokiwagi Gakuen HS, Sendai, MIyagi常盤木学園高校・仙台、宮城

30th  day/eve Ishinomaki Chuo Kouminkan, Miyagi 石巻中央公民館、宮城

For more information contact Akira Tana at:



Otonowa Satin Doll


“Friends helping Friends” Castilleja School’s Arts with a Heart – Friends Helping Friends

Friday Feb. 8
Saturday Feb 9
Sunday Feb 10

Don’t miss this moving performance of dance, song, poetry, and interviews from the heart at Castilleja School for the Arts in Palo Alto. Beautiful, artistic interpretations of the events that happened on March 11, 2011 in the Tohoku area of Japan, the students captured the sense of devastation, fear, and loneliness and how connecting as “friends” instilled a spirit of hope and optimism.

The addition of famed Oh-In Taiko and master drummer Jimi Nakagawa http://www.jiminakagawa.com/ fueled the excitement and stirred the emotions.

And, the moments with the “special guests” touched the hearts of everyone in the audience. Gambate kudasai.

Congratulations to Georgi Shea, producer and all the students and performers of Castilleja School.

Give2Asia hosts NGOs working in the Tohoku region

I was honored to be invited to a special luncheon today hosted by Give2Asia http://www.give2asia.org in San Francisco. 4 NGOs from the Tohoku area were invited to share their experiences in the rebuild and relief effort in the areas affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant failure.

It was heartwarming to hear their stories and their challenges. Yet their commitment showed the strength and resiliency of the Japanese people.

Still one of the messages rang clear: many felt uncertainty in regards to their future and that part of their (NGOs) mission is to give hope to the people who had lost loved ones, their homes, jobs, and any sense of normalcy. There are still over 300,000 people living in temporary housing. The population in some of the towns have decreased to 70% as people, especially the young, moved out to find jobs in Tokyo and other areas. The once vibrant fishing industry in Ishinomaki is now non-existant. Acres and acres of farmland are ruined as agriculture in certain areas has been abandoned.

Many outsiders fear traveling to the region due to the radiation contamination from the Fukushima power plants. The long term economic impact is yet to be realized.

It is my hope that on my trip to the Tohoku area, I can bring a sense of support and hope to the people. As one of the executives from the Give2Asia said, “working in the nonprofit sector to help the rebuild and relief effort, you have to be an optimist”. Bringing a sense of hope to the people, that by working together, there will be a better tomorrow.

Today was such an emotional, moving experience. Thank you Gillian Ira Yeoh and Give2Asia. I look forward to meeting some of the NGOs in Japan next week.

July 4, 2012, 1000 Cranes made it to Japan!

The 1000 Cranes created by the many volunteers for the “One Year After: Benefit Concert for the Children of Tohoku, Japan” on March 10, 2012, made its way over the Pacific Ocean and landed in Fukushima, Japan bringing our best wishes to the orphans in the Tohoku region. Please read this moving letter from Katherine Geeraert,  Home Communications Manager for Soma Children’s Home and founder of Friends of Soma.

P.S. This letter arrived on the Fourth of July!