After two months since the Beirut blast, Lebanese producer and long-time Japanese resident Madeleine Abdel-Jalil Umewaka held an event in Tokyo to raise funds for the victims in Beirut.
“I was moved by the overwhelming support from the Japanese community for Lebanon,” Abdel-Jalil Umewaka told The961, reflecting on the event.
She organized it along with her husband, Noh Theater Master Naohiko Umewaka, Noh instrumentalist, Okura Shonosuke, and with support of the Lebanese Embassy in Japan.
The main event, attended by Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado in the Cerulean Hotel Noh Theater, featured a Noh performance and music collaboration “Prayer for Beirut”.
The two performances aimed to bridge the gap between the two countries.
The traditional Japanese theater art was accompanied by the musical collaboration “A prayer for Lebanon,” an infusion between an Arabic Oud musician and Noh instrumentalist.
Explaining the ancient theater art of Noh, Abdel-Jalil Umewaka said, “Noh theater is a traditional classical Japanese dance-drama that has been performed since the 14th century and passed from father to son.”
Her husband, Naohiko Umewaka, comes from a 600 years-old Noh lineage. The two married in 1982, and she has been fascinated with the Noh tradition ever since.
Despite being the only foreigner in the Umewaka family, Abdel-Jalil Umewaka has been working actively to promote it globally.
She has produced three Noh events in Lebanon but this is the first one organized with the intention to raise funds for Beirut.
“The Noh play “Shakkyo” (Stone Bridge) was performed by my husband Naohiko Umewaka and a Noh ensemble to convey a symbolic bridge between Japan and Lebanon, to deliver a message of support to the victims of Lebanon,” she said.
The main event was followed by a banquet that was attended by 140 guests and included an auction that raised thousands of dollars in funds for the Red Cross and UNESCO to help rebuild Beirut.
During the banquet, Japanese singer Midori Inoue “Midori Fairous” beautifully sang Fairouz’s “Li Beirut” and the commercial attaché of the Lebanese Embassy, Bachir Bou Rached, made a presentation on Lebanon, which was followed by a successful auction.