Japanese Bands Help Bridge Gap Between Cultures

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Japanese Bands Help Bridge Gap Between Cultures

Korea regards Japan as a nation that is geographically close but ideologically distant. Even after Japan's colonization of Korea ended, Koreans continually find themselves in disagreement with the Japanese government over issues such as reparations to victims of war atrocities or, most recently, the controversial history textbooks of Japan that Korea and other countries say distort the history of Japan's colonial expansion of the early 20th century. As far as the music industries of the two countries are concerned, however, there seems to be no antagonism. Rather, musicians seem to be searching for harmony and the chance to appear on the same stage together through project concerts like "Korea Japan Live Project Contact 2001," to be held in Seoul, this weekend.

This series of concerts is ideal for Koreans who want to listen to Japanese rock but cannot because of a ban here on all albums with Japanese lyrics. Last year, under the name "Contact 2000" the concert series was popular in Seoul, Osaka and Tokyo. This time, the concert will be co-sponsored by the Korea National Tourism Organization and 2002 World Cup Citizen Association. Lee Lan-hee, manager of the host company and venue site Polimedia Theater, says, "We hope that the project will provide an opportunity to bridge the two countries' cultures, especially now that the 2002 Korea Japan World Cup is approaching."

Hundreds of Japanese fans have already booked tickets and flights for concerts in Seoul in June and July, a good indication of the quality of the bands. This Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., the Japanese punk rock band Cobra will get the ball rolling at Polimedia Theater in Daehangno. On June 22, the Crazy Ken Band will play. This rock band has been a staple of the rock scene for the last 20 years. Following their act is DJ Yasuharu Konishi, the former leader of Pizzicato Five, one of the few Japanese bands to attract attention in the United States.

The Japanese rhythm and blues band Double will hold a concert on July 6th. For the grand finale the rock band Guitar Wolf, second to none in terms of gaudy stage outfits, will be featured along with Korean bands Rotten Apple and Bulldog Mansion on July 14th and 15th.

The focus of the concert is on Japanese bands, but when the event continues in Japan this September and October, the focus will be on the Korean musicians.

For more information on "Korea Japan Live Project Contact 2001," call 080-337-5337 (Korean service only).

by Chun Su-jin

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