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Kyoto citizens show solidarity with Ukraine in patriotic song video

A still image from a video of Ukrainian evacuees in Kyoto and their supporters singing "Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow" (Mainichi)

KYOTO -- Kyoto citizens are showing solidarity with Ukraine as turmoil continues in the wake of Russia's invasion by creating a video of Kyoto locals and Ukrainian evacuees singing a patriotic Ukrainian song.

    The roughly three-minute video features some 20 people singing the song "Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow" in chorus, to express their sense of solidarity from the city of Kyoto, a sister city of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. It is available for viewing on YouTube at

    The video plan was conceived by Kyoko Takahashi, 58, a resident of Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward. Takahashi is a singer belonging to the Kyoto-Kyiv network association, which continues cultural exchanges with the Ukrainian capital. She has a Ukrainian friend whom she's known for 30 years, and while the friend lives in the U.S., their family including their parents remain in Kyiv. As she continued to talk to her Ukrainian friend, Takahashi thought she would do anything she could to support Ukraine from her hometown.

    Takahashi had watched videos made overseas to support Ukraine on social media, and thought, "Kyoto isn't doing enough to send out messages to the country." She then asked her musician and film director friends to help her make a video. In September, she had Ukrainian people in Kyoto and their supporters gather at the Kyoto International Community House in Sakyo Ward, where they shot the video.

    The music used for the video is arranged with the Japanese koto. The creators included a picture of Nijo-jo Castle in Nakagyo Ward lit up in the Ukrainian national flag colors of blue and yellow to create a "typical Kyoto" image.

    Takahashi and others have also told the Ukrainian Embassy in Japan about the video, and apparently received a response, with the embassy thanking them for their activity.

    (Japanese original by Kanae Soejima, Kyoto Bureau)

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