Japan Ministry of Defense


 
Fuji Firepower Review

Japan Defense Focus No.16

 

SPECIAL FEATURE

Self-Defense Forces Marching Band Festival

The  Continent of Passion Performance by the Ground Self-Defense Forces' Central Band of "The Continent of Passion"
Performance by the color guard of the Maritime Self-Defense Forces Tokyo Band
Performance by the color guard of the Maritime Self-Defense Forces Tokyo Band

The "2009 Self-Defense Forces Marching Band Festival" was held at the Nihon Budokan in November 20 and 21. There were 6 performances in the two days, attended by over 41,000 people in total.


The theme of this year's festival was "Soaring throb, resonant resolution." The performing bands included the Ground, Maritime and Air Self Defense Forces Central Bands, the Ground Self Defense Force Regional Army Bands, the 302nd MP Company, the Self Defense Forces Drummers Association, the Guards of Honor of the National Defense Academy of Japan in addition to the United States Army Japan Band and the III MEF Band, US Marine Corps — with a total of over 900 performers.


This year's Festival being made up of 6 parts, it opened with Part I titled "Behind the Scenes." Scenes from rehearsals for the festival and interviews with performers were shown on a screen in the auditorium. This was followed by the Part II titled "Wind," where the national flag came into the stage, and all joined in singing the national anthem. The opening music, the theme song from the historical drama on TV program, Tenchijin, was played by the band of the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces.


Part III titled “Woods” featured drill performances by the Tohoku Regional Army Band, the Chubu Regional Army Band, and the other regional army bands. Part IV titled "Thunder" included a fancy drill by the Guards of Honor of the National Defense Academy. There were also drill performances by the US Army Japan Band and the III MEF Band, US Marine Corps. In the last half of Part IV titled "Parent to Child - the Ties that Bind", each band played theme tunes from animations and video games.


In Part V titled the "Fire", the performance of the bands became more exciting, heading for the climax. The highlight came with the entry of the Self Defense Forces Drummers Association in the last half. 13 Self-Defense Forces Japanese-style drumming teams from all over Japan came onto the stage, performing one after the other, each with its own local color. They then moved on to a joint performance, the reverberating beat of the Japanese-style drums filling the hall and stirring the audience with its overwhelming power.


Part VI: titled "Mountain" was the grand finale, when all performing bands appeared on stage together singing the song "Song for Departure." The performers then left the stage. After a trumpet performance of the final song "Inspection" the whole audience applauded loudly.


Prime Minister Hatoyama and Defense Minister Kitazawa attended the performance for invited guests on the 20th. Before it started, Defense Minister Kitazawa addressed the audience, saying he would be very happy if the band festival was able to further increase people’s sense of affinity with and understanding of the Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Forces. After the end of the performance, Prime Minister Hatoyama addressed the performers saying that he appreciated that the Self-Defense Forces did their best not only for the people of Japan, but people all over the world. He also stated his appreciation for the wonderful music that had stirred the audience, including him.


The Japanese drumming performance overwhelmed the audience.
The Japanese drumming performance overwhelmed the audience.
Fire
The joint performance by the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces bands in Part V titled “Fire”.
Song for Departure
All bands performed jointly in the finale, playing and singing "Song for Departure"
 
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