このサイトの推奨ブラウザはGoogle Chromeです


Performing Arts Performances at the Osaka Venue Cancelled Due to COVID-19.
About the concept of "Stand by," we strive for

Live music performances based on the concept of "Stand by."

During the " Art Brut CREATION Nippon " that began in February 2020, the "Stand by Festival" was scheduled to be held at the Osaka venue for performing arts performances in the "Kinki Block & Grand Finale." Preparations were underway for the event transcending the framework of solely disabled participants, under the theme of "An opportunity to regain connection and togetherness (stand by) through music." Performing musicians were selected, and promotional materials such as pamphlets were finalized. While Specific discussions were held on how to make reasonable accommodations at the venue, in January 2022, the event was canceled due to the spread of COVID-19. We interviewed the parties involved by looking back on the process that considered issues through repeated discussions to realize the project once again.

The "Stand by Festival," scheduled to be held as the grand finale of the Kinki Block & Grand Finale invited as the producer Koji Onoue, who also served as: the secretariat of the Kinki Block Executive Committee; vice president of the DPI Japan Council involved in barrier-free and independent living movements, and; advisor to the Cabinet Office on policies for disabled people. The executive committee secretariat and members of Osaka City's "Muchu Center for Independent Living" were central in preparing for the event.

Koji Onoue(Japan National Assembly Of Disabled Peoples’ International vice-chairman)

It all started with an episode in which Mr. Onoue was a great music lover as a youth. After many years of dedication to activities for disabled people, the secretariat proposed to Mr. Onoue, "Why don't we hold a live music concert in which disabled people can participate, and anyone can come and watch?" The festival was launched based on the concept of "Stand by" to bring people together to have a good time with music at the center, especially with COVID-19 leading to weaker connections between people.

The event was scheduled to consist of two parts: the first part was a performance by three groups of amateur musicians who are disabled persons and belong to the Center for Independent Living in Osaka. From Higashiosaka City's "Center for Independent Living Partner" was a guitar player singer-songwriter Isaya Fukuoka. From "Center for Independent Living Navi" in Osaka City, a keyboard player singer-songwriter Orise Rafu. From "Muchu Center for Independent Living", a five-member band called The Blue Sky.

The Sky Blue

The second part had scheduled a professional blues live-performance by Atsuki Kimura of Yukadan, a group that Mr. Onoue has loved since high school, and Junji Ariyama, who also played in South to South with Masaki Ueda.

Reasonable accommodation initiatives based on personal experiences as a disabled person

From his own experience, Mr. Onoue says that facilities for viewing culture and the arts are often places of "regrettable memories" for disabled people". Even if you are interested in music or art, you usually start off by not knowing whether the performance or screening venue is barrier-free. Even after arriving at the venue after much effort, the wheelchair seats are often in the front row of movie theaters or at the end of the performance theater, where it is difficult to see. Often you are far away from your companion. Or you buy S-seat tickets for a concert, but when you get there, the wheelchair seats are in a different area than the S-seat range, and the list goes on and on."

As a disabled person, Mr. Onoue points out the inconveniences to the viewer and the performer. When I was invited to appear as a lecturer, the door towards the dressing room was too narrow for wheelchair access. There are no wheelchair-accessible restrooms, and there has been little progress in making backstage areas barrier-free.

Various reasonable accommodation were discussed at "STUDIO PARTITA," the planned venue.

Mr. Onoue was in charge of producing and supervising the creation of guidelines for reasonable accommodation in the "Disabled People's Culture and Arts Festival in the wake of Expo Japan," held since 2020. For the "Stand by Festival," the aforementioned experiences were applied to create a barrier-free route from the nearest train station to "Studio Partita" in Osaka, the planned venue for this year's festival. Since there was only one wheelchair-accessible restroom at the venue, we supplemented it with information on nearby wheelchair-accessible restrooms. In addition, as part of efforts to make the event "accessible to all," the venue was prepared to: support participation and appreciation at the reception desk, secure restrooms, provide written information and sign language interpretation, and install a ramp like Hanamichi(flower path) so that performers in wheelchairs could enter the stage from the front of the audience seats. The visually impaired staff selected the "Muchu Center for Independent Living" ticket sales system and confirmed the ease of use.

Careful barrier-free measures from the nearest station to the venue

As part of these efforts to make the concert "accessible to all," a particular episode involved a struggle. "Kimura-kun and Ariyama-kun," scheduled to appear in the second part of the show, perform in an irregular song order, a characteristic of blues live performances. Songs to be performed at the show varied according to the interaction and groove of the audience that day, so it was challenging to prepare and display lyrics in advance. After discussions between Mr. Onoue and the staff, they came up with the idea of having someone who could recognize the song name by listening to the beginning of the song, so the lyrics could be displayed in real-time. They also prepared to convey the atmosphere of the venue, including audience interaction.

Music expanded my world while living at the institution

Regarding the cancellation of the event, Mr. Onoue said, "At one point, we considered a live broadcast, but we wanted to stick to the 'live' format. We thought that because of COVID-19, it would make sense to hold an event representing "stand by" by being together." At the root of the project is Mr. Onoue 's own experience as a disabled person and the various experiences and bonds formed through encounters with music. "When I was in elementary school, I lived in a institution. No personal belongings are allowed. Bedtime is at 6:30 p.m. and lights out at 8:00 p.m. I had cerebral palsy, which causes tension in the lower half of my body, so when I went to bed, I was made to lie on my back on a blanket on a board, and my bent parts were fixed to my hips and straightened out every day. During the 11 hours and 30 minutes of "positioning" from bedtime to 6:00 a.m., in between the nurses’ rounds, I would secretly listen to music from a homemade radio that I had brought with me and hidden away in my room. It was. Music was the only way I could connect with the outside world in the institution's isolation. The first time I heard rock music in my life, I was shocked as if I had been hit over the head with a heavy blow."

As an elementary school student, I was fascinated by Led Zeppelin and King Crimson. I entered a public junior high school after writing a reminder not to bother others or ask for help and made friends with music lovers. Upon going to a record shop in Shinsaibashi with friends, I rode the train for the first time without a parental escort. During my high school years, I went to see the legendary "8.8 Rock Day," a rock contest sponsored by Yamaha, every year and visited jazz cafes.
During those days, the friends I made, when "rock music was the music of delinquents," became irreplaceable best friends. Music was the medium that broadened my world. The relationships I built through music were very important to me.

We want people to see and feel "the way of life" through our live performances.

Kozo Hirashita, the representative of the "Muchu Center for Independent Living" involved in organizing the event, and Yasuyuki Hirashita, the vocalist of The Blue Sky, who is also a performer in the first part of the event, are brothers, both of whom have congenital osteogenesis imperfecta. Kozo Hirashita, the younger brother, says, "Mr. Onoue has been a person from another world to us, but working with him in preparation for this event brought us closer together. When asked about the difficulties in preparing for this event, he replied, "Many of our staff were former theater troupes and hotel workers, so there were no difficulties in that sense, but it was still difficult to prepare so that no reasonable accommodations were left out. Holding a live concert during COVID-19 was in itself also a challenge," said Kozo Hirashita.

The Blue Sky," led by his brother Yasuyuki, was formed in 2008. The five-member group, which includes disabled persons, helpers, and a coordinator, performs mainly Blue Hearts and RC Succession songs. "Mr. Onoue and I are seniors and juniors at the institution. Since I had no friends in elementary, junior high, and high school due to segregated education, I started playing in a band at the age of 42, which I would have typically done in my youth. I have such a wrinkled voice, and my singing is not good, but I enjoy doing it. On the day of my first concert, an elderly woman said, "I was so moved!" and hugged me. It made me so happy that I wanted to be more involved with music, and I have continued to do so until now."

There is also this episode. "One time, a person at the studio where I practiced put a ramp at the entrance to my studio without my asking. Also, there was a time when I performed naked with a leather jacket during an outdoor live concert. I thought it would be cool to take off my leather jacket, swing it around, and throw it into the audience, but since I was in a wheelchair, it didn't work, and it fell in front of the microphone, which got a few laughs. These were experiences that I was able to enjoy only because I was playing music. The name of the band "The Blue Sky" was taken from the famous song "Blue Sky" by the Blue Hearts, and their lyrics often overlap with my own, so I naturally empathize with them and put my soul into their songs. As I lead an independent life doing what I want to do, I would be happy if people could see and feel my "way of life" through my music."

Aiming to resume operations by continuing to "stand by."

"Unfortunately, the event was canceled, but I would really like to start over again and realize what we have been preparing for. We hope to create a welcoming environment for everyone and let as many people as possible, regardless of disability, experience the live groove," said Mr. Onoue.
When the live concert is realized, all performers will sing "Stand By Me" as the finale. The lyrics of this song will be displayed on the screen, so it will be inevitable that the performers and the audience will join "together" and get excited.

Interviewer author: Erika Nagumo (Furaido), Rika Kaneko
Interview collaboration: Muchu Center for Independent Living