A concert dedicated to Japanese-Turkish friendship and world peace was held in New York's world-famous Carnegie Hall on Thursday night.
The concert was performed by the New Manhattan Sinfonietta Orchestra, founded by Turkish conductor Gurer Aykal, under the baton of Japanese amateur conductor Seiji Mukaiyama.
The orchestra performed two parts of Mukaiyama's symphonic suite "Friendship." One part was inspired by the story of the Ottoman frigate Ertugrul, which sank off Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan in 1890, while the other focuses on the 1985 rescue by a Turkish Airlines plane of Japanese nationals stranded in Tehran during the Iran-Iraqi war.
A video to introduce the 1890 incident was shown during the performance of the piece by Mukaiyama, a 72-year-old who runs a gas production and sales company in Kainan, Wakayama.
Of the 587 people aboard the Ertugrul, which sank off what is now the town of Kushimoto, 69 survived due to rescue efforts by local people, in an incident remembered as the beginning of the Japanese-Turkish bond.
(Conductor Seiji Mukaiyama)
Also during the concert, Junichi Numata, 76, who was among those rescued from Iran by the Turkish Airlines aircraft, narrated his memory to the audience together with others involved, including Ayse Ozalp who was on the plane's cabin crew.
Numata expressed his gratitude to Turkey over the rescue operation, saying in tears, "I cannot thank Turkey enough. I will keep telling this story and our friendship to the world."
After the event, Mukaiyama was all smiles. "I am filled with deep emotion having performed a concert to appeal to many people for peace," he said, adding that he plans to hold a similar concert in Europe.