2012 Event


HIKOBAE Performance

Commemorating the passing of one year since the Great East Japan Earthquake

at the United NationsDag Hammarskjöld Auditorium



12 March 2012


On 12 March, 2012, the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations hosted a theatrical performance at the United Nations Headquarters to commemorate the passing of one year since the Great East Japan Earthquake. The play, HIKOBAE, which portrays Japan’s recovery from the earthquake, attracted great interest from United Nations officials. All seats were fully reserved well in advance of the performance, and participants were moved by its powerful story.


The word “hikobae,” which refers to the new shoots that sprout from the stumps of old trees, is used as a symbol of new breath and a revival of life in this play. HIKOBAE, which is set in a hospital in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, one of the disaster-affected areas that UN Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon visited last year, portrays the heroic struggles of doctors, nurse and firefighters in the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. The Permanent Mission of Japan sponsored this play to show Japan’s response to the disaster to United Nations officials and diplomats from UN Member States working in the area of disaster relief and recovery. (Please find the synopsis of the play as well as the program here).


In his opening remarks, Ambassador Tsuneo Nishida, Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN, explained the significance of holding this performance at the UN and also expressed Japan’s gratitude for the assistance received from countries around the world following the Great East Japan Earthquake. He then conveyed the solidarity of the Japanese people with those who are enduring difficulties in the wake of disasters around the world. Following these remarks, Mr. Hidekiyo Tachiya, Mayor of Soma City, Fukushima prefecture, who came to New York for this performance, also gave a speech, conveying his gratitude for the assistance provided by the international community to the people of Soma.


Closing remarks were made by H.E. Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, who emphasized the importance of this performance’s taking place at the UN and highlighted the role that art can play in response to massive natural disasters. She then went on to discuss Japan’s active participation in areas including development, disarmament and nuclear safety, expressing her hope that Japan will continue to play a leading role in these fields. On behalf of the Japanese staff of the UN, Mr. Toshihiko Murata of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s New York office also gave his impressions of the performance and explained the work that has been done by the UN in response the earthquake and tsunami. Mr. Murata also said he hoped that the traditional festival of Soma Noma Oi (Soma’s wild horse chase) will resume in the near future, symbolizing Soma’s recovery.


After the performance, the Permanent Mission of Japan held a sushi reception at UN Headquarters for the guests, production staff and cast of HIKOBAE. The performance and reception were attended by approximately 150 people, including UN officials, representatives of UN Member States, and representatives of civil society. Participants commended the dedicated work of the Japanese people after the earthquake and Japan’s subsequent efforts to recover from the disaster, sharing their confidence in Japan’s future recovery and their hope for Japan’s further contributions to the world.

Opening remarks by Ambassador Nishida

Remarks by Mr. Hidekiyo Tachiya,

Mayor of Soma City

Opening scene of Hikobae

Hospital staff in Hikobae

Ambassador Nishida introducing Ms. Migiro after the performance

Ms. Migiro and the cast of Hikobae

Mr. Toshi Shioya, executive producer of Hikobae, with UN diplomats

Mr. Tachiya, Mayor of Soma, at the reception

Ms. Kazuko Sakagami, actress from HIKOBAE, greeting one of the audience

Ms. Shuri, Ms. Satsuki Nakagami (actresses from HIKOBAE) and Ambassador Nishida