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Craftsman makes two violins from pine tree debris in disaster area

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A 71-year-old violin maker has created two violins made of wood from uprooted pine trees in the tsunami-ravaged Rikuzentakata City in Iwate Prefecture.

Muneyuki Nakazawa plans to give the instruments to other violinists in the hope that the violins will be passed from artist to artist and generation to generation around the world in memory of the March 11 disaster victims, the Iwate Nippo newspaper reported.

In the past, Nakazawa, a master craftsman, has restored Stradivarius violins.

Typically, violins are made from spruce trees, but Nakazawa worked with local lumber companies to find an appropriate substitute that grows in the disaster zone. He decided to use pieces of pine and other wooden debris

The first performance featuring the violins will be held one year to the day after the disaster at a memorial event in Rikuzentakata on Sunday.

Israeli Ivry Gitlis, 89, will be the event's maestro. He was forced to cancel a previously scheduled performance in the wake of the disaster, but came to Japan to play for evacuees in temporary shelters. He recently held a charity concert in Miyazaki Prefecture.

Since the disaster, Rikuzentakata has become known for its “miracle tree” -- the lone pine tree that was the sole survivor of an immense grove that previously contained 70,000 trees in a 2-kilomter stretch along the coast. It has become a rallying symbol for survivors and a drawcard for tourists, though it is dying because its roots have been rotted by salt water and its branches have withered.

Nakazawa plans to make a viola from the debris of other trees in the disaster area by next year, with a cello to follow in 2014.

"I hope the sound from these violins will soothe people in the Tohoku and help heal them," Nakazawa told Iwate Nippo.

© Japan Today

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5 Comments
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Cleaning up the debris, two violins at a time...Let the artists come up with imaginative uses for the debris. Thumbs up to Nakazawa-san.

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Japan's creativity at it's best. First, violin strings out of spider silk, and now, violin made of pine. (No sarcasm intended)

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I wish they made guitar necks.

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The harmonies created from these magical instruments will undoubtedly help ease the sadness of the listeners.

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I wish they made guitar necks.

Maybe if you ask nicely ...

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