Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Kingdom of Tonga, Mr. Yukio Namata welcomed the visiting drummer group to a music night and dinner at his residence in ‘Anana.
He highlighted in his welcoming address that, “Culture defines our identity and our uniqueness, and it is also a platform to connect with other countries.” The Ambassador also noted that the tour coincides with the 20th Anniversary of Wadaiko Rindo.
Tonga’s renowned musicians and composers Mrs. Tu’imala Kaho, Malukava and Mr. Motuliki Fakatava were amongst the invited guest along with Mr Fe’ao Vakata, Minister for Internal Affairs and Mr. Siamelie Latu the Deputy Secretary of Tonga’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Two local drummer groups from Folaha andTatakamotonga village were also invited to witness, exchange and share knowledge with the Wadaiko Rindo drummer group.
Over a thousand of spectators were fortunate to witness the Wadaiko Rindo perform at the Multi-Cultural Night for the Heilala Festival, held at the Queen Salote Memorial Hall and at the Block Party at the Digicel Square.
Amongst viewers and who also had a good view of the drumming performances of the Wadaiko Rindo was the Prime Minister of Tonga, Mr Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva. Seven children were also overjoyed when given the opportunity to beat the Japanese drums during a short workshop on stage, at the Digicel Square, celebrating the Block Party.
Wadaiko Rindo was formed in 1996 in Melbourne, Australia by Japan’s professional drummer Mr. Toshinori Sakamoto. The group’s first tour to Tonga was in 2010, this year’s tour was joined by two other group members Mr. Daisuke Kawakami and Ms. Yukiko Shoya.
Embassy of Japan acknowledged the collaboration from Japan Foundation, and the generous assistance from Tonga’s Ministry of Tourism and the Heilala Festival Committee 2016 in promoting international cultural exchange and enhancing the people of Tonga’s knowledge into Japan’s culture.