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Female band gives concert for 1 guest in Tokyo after initial show canceled

The all-female band, Sannin-Gakki, performs in front of one spectator, a man in his 30s, at a hall in the Tokyo suburban city of Tachikawa on April 4, 2020. (Mainichi/Naotsune Umemura)

TOKYO -- A female band held a concert for just one guest -- a man who has withdrawn himself from society for almost a decade -- at a hall in the capital's suburban city of Tachikawa on April 4 after an earlier planned event was canceled due to the coronavirus.

Sannin-Gakki, as the trio is called, organized the show for the man in his 30s from the Kanto region in eastern Japan, who had suggested to one of the band members that he didn't like to be in crowds and had thus been apparently unable to go to live concerts attracting a large number of fans.

The show opened at shortly before 7 p.m. that evening, and the trio performed with the flute and the piano for about 20 minutes, as the man listened intently.

Mika Fukazawa, one of the band's members, had originally booked the hall for a concert with another musician that day, with posters for the event already printed, but it was canceled on March 4 due to the spread of the novel coronavirus in the capital and elsewhere.

It was then that Yuki Fujiwara, another member of the trio who has been supporting social recluses, hit upon the idea of contacting the man as she remembered a message she had received from him before.

"I'd like to go to live music shows, but..." he wrote in his message to her, after being acquainted with Fujiwara through her outreach activities. Even though he was apparently unable to have the courage to venture into crowded concert venues, he still seemed to be full of love for music.

Fujiwara proposed inviting him to the band's gig, telling Fukazawa and another member, Sayaka Ogawa, that he might find it easy to come to a venue if no other spectators were around. Both Fukazawa and Ogawa agreed to the idea.

The threesome band, which was formed in the fall of 2019, managed to collect tens of thousands of yen in donations from fans to fund the show's costs, including the rent for the hall and the piano.

Even though the man was initially hesitant to attend, the trio persuaded him to become their only guest for that day. The members chose three tunes to play in front of their one and only guest from their original pieces.

The sole spectator was apparently moved to see the band play. After the show, he told them, smiling, "I've listened to live music for the first time, and it was so impressive."

(Japanese original by Nana Hayashida, Tama General Bureau)

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