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Pope Francis will visit Nagasaki on November 24. The kind-hearted Tarumi Violinists have performed at homes for nuclear survivors in this city.

Shown here is His Holiness Pope Francis who is expected to visit Nagasaki, Japan on November 24. In this photo, Pope Francis is pictured waving to UN staff during a visit to United Nations Headquarters in New York City. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

According to a tentative itinerary on the visit of Pope Francis to Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Tokyo, His Holiness is expected to present a powerful message on banning nuclear weapons in Nagasaki. 

In addition, Pope Francis, based on early reports, will give a sermon at the Nagasaki Municipal Baseball Stadium. In Tokyo, a gathering of young students will welcome the Pope to this popular city which attracts visitors from around the world.

Here we see Pope Francis in a more serious frame of mind. This photo was taken during a visit to UN Headquarters in New York.
UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

On the subject of banning nuclear weapons, His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN stated: “The world has become increasingly aware of the humanitarian consequences and planetary perils of the deployment of nuclear weapons in warfare. Greater attention must be given to the unnecessary suffering that would be brought on by the use of nuclear weapons.” 

On November 24, 2019, His Holiness Pope Francis will visit Nagasaki, Japan. This historic trip marks the first time that the head of the Roman Catholic Church will visit Nagasaki in forty years. The last Pope to visit the city of Nagasaki which was destroyed during the second World War was Pope John Paul II.

In 2018, when UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Nagasaki for the first time, the Tarumi Violinists were there, too, to pay tribute to the victims and survivors of the atomic bomb.

The young, peace-minded Tarumi Violinists, under the direction of Yukako Tarumi, performed at a Nagasaki Peace Concert at Peace Park in Japan.

The Tarumi Violinists performing in Nagasaki were Helena Barrett, Isabel Hong, Keitaro Ichikawa, Kojiro Ichikawa, Stiles Muccini, Edan Sabah, Lily Schwarcz, Ethan Song, and Kent Song, as well as accordionist Guillermo Vaisman. 

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, “the continued threat of nuclear war in the face of rising tensions between nuclear armed states and the demise of existing arms control and disarmament treaties, the nuclear danger persists.”  

In his concluding remarks, here’s what Antonio Guterres stated: “To those young people, future peace makers of the world, my message is: “you are the ultimate force for change, to secure our common future. By carrying the message forward together, we will achieve our shared goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (left in foreground) greets young people at Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, Japan. UN Photo/Daniel Powell

The City of Nagasaki is no stranger to the multi-cultural Tarumi Violinists who have performed not only in Nagasaki, but in many places around the world, including New York, headquarters of the United Nations.  Most recently, the violinists performed on the International Day of Peace (September 21).

Shown here from left to right on the International Day of Peace are: Yo Yo Ma, UN Messenger of Peace, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the seventy-fourth session of the UN General Assembly, Jayathma Wickramayaka, United Nations Secretary-General Envoy on Youth, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The theme of this year’s International Day of Peace was “Climate Action For Peace.” 
UN Photo: Kim Haughton

The right side of this photo by Kim Haughton shows several young Tarumi Violinists, along with the Director, Yukako Tarumi, performing enthusiastically on their violins at the United Nations on the International Day of Peace. 

They included Tarumi Violinists Jayden Tetley, Serenity Brown, Isabel Hong, Eden Sabah, and Kent Song especially for UN Secretary-General Guterres, and special guests, at this annual UN event.

As explained by Yukako Tarumi, Director of the Tarumi Violin Children’s Foundation for the Arts, “the essential aim of my foundation is to use the universal language of violin music to reach out to people throughout the world. Together, we have experienced the healing power of music, and my students have learned that their music is a powerful tool to bring comfort to those in need or distress.” 

In addition, she added, “Our international travels have included many International Friendship Tours, where our talented Tarumi Violinists have performed for UNICEF, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, the Nursing Home for the Survivors of the Atom Bomb in Hiroshima, and the orphans and homeless of the Kobe earthquake.” Their concert at “Megumi no Oka” Atomic Bomb Victims Nursing Home in Nagasaki, Japan was very heartwarming, too. 

At UN Headquarters in New York, it is not surprising that the young Tarumi Violinists are sometimes referred to as “Musical Ambassadors of Peace” by certain members of the media. What makes this group stand out, too,  is that they are especially proud of having performed for four UN Secretary-Generals at the UN, namely, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and UN Secretary-General Boutros-Boutros Ghali. 

Perhaps, one of their most inspirational performances was when the culturally-diverse Tarumi Violinists from the New York Metropolitan area, performed for His Holiness John Paul 11 at the Vatican. At that time, they taped the concert for the Vatican Radio Station which was broadcast three times around the world.

Ann Charles
Ann Charles is UN Bureau Chief of "Baltic Review" based in New York City. She covers diplomatic activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the world body's work in human rights, education, culture, the environment, and tourism, among other global concerns.

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