TOKYO, June 20, 2013 – Rakuten, Inc. and the General Incorporated Association El Sistema Japan, which is developing El Sistema’s world-renowned music education program for children in Japan, have agreed to jointly start the music education support activity “Japan Children’s Orchestra”. Today Rakuten launched a special page on its CSR site at http://corp.rakuten.co.jp/csr/el-sistema/.
The objective of “Japan Children’s Orchestra” will be to create a rich future for children through music. A domestic project model has been created, with a view to also forming partnerships with projects under the El Sistema model that has been developed throughout the world. The hosting of events bringing together Japanese children, and children who are in El Sistema-type music education programs overseas is also being planned. Since last year, El Sistema Japan has been working on the Soma Children’s Orchestra & Chorus project, which involves elementary school students in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, based on the principles of the El Sistema music education model. Rakuten and El Sistema’s first action for Japan Children’s Orchestra will be to give support for provision of a venue for the children’s chorus, and the collection of musical instruments for the children.
Rakuten believes that music has universal cultural and artistic value. Since 2011, Rakuten has been the official supplier of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, offering assistance for promoting Japan’s presence in the world through music. Rakuten also promotes education as part of its CSR activities. With the desire to support the empowering of and cultivation of the social nature and creativity of the children who will be our future leaders through the power of music, Rakuten agrees with the principles of El Sistema’s educational programs using music. This is why the company decided to implement music education support activities jointly with El Sistema Japan.
El Sistema was born in Venezuela in 1975, and is now a music education program that is being developed in 52 countries and regions worldwide. The program’s goal is to offer many opportunities for all children, including those living in difficult environments, to participate free of charge in orchestras, choruses and other group musical activities. Through this program, children learn musical techniques, and while enjoying themselves, learn self-expression and develop the attitude to work actively toward goals. By learning through group activities they are also expected to acquire social skills. In Japan, an El Sistema-type program was initiated in April 2012 in the form of the Soma Children’s Orchestra & Chorus project by the board of education of Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture, which was victimized by the tsunami and nuclear accident caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
* About El Sistema
The history of El Sistema in Venezuela began in 1975 when Dr. José Antonio Abreu established the first youth orchestra in the country. Today, El Sistema is run by the Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the People's Office of the President of Venezuela, and its activities are part of the social programs of the Venezuelan state. The intent to aspire to social reform through music activities that are open to all citizens is embodied in the motto, “Tocar y Luchar” (“To play and fight”) and continues to this day.
Today, at 285 El Sistema branches in Venezuela, music is being taught to about 350,000 kids, from preschoolers to university students, while special education and youth rehabilitation programs, mother child education programs, and vocational training programs in areas such as musical instrument making and repair are also being implemented.
* Countries and regions where music education programs based on the El Sistema model are being developed (as of June 2013)
Venezuela, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Greenland, Turkey, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, China, India, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand