Min On Concert Association
Founded in October 1963, the Min On Concert Association has developed into one of the world’s most successful music promoters. Min On can be translated as the “Democratic Music Lovers” Association or “The Peoples Concert Association”. SGI President Ikeda conceived it during his first visit to India and South East Asia, in 1961. As a result of striving to find ways of uniting people across the globe, Sensei realized that music was a great unifying force, creating bonds of friendship and understanding. He has said that: – “Music is a fabric transcending both time and borders. It weaves together the mystical rhythm of the cosmos and our individual lives. No other force can equal the power of music to sate the hearts of the people or match its magical penchant for expanding outward in an ever-growing circle of empathy and harmony”.
In an extract from The New Human Revolution ‘Eisuke Akizuki’ outlines the five principles originally set out to guide the Min On founders. “They are: (1) to promote a vibrant and thriving musical movement widely among the people; (2) to create and develop a new music for the people; (3) to promote music education for youth and raise the general level of music appreciation toward a realization of a rich cultural life for people; (4) to deepen international cultural exchanges through music and establish friendly ties linking people around the world; (5) to nurture musicians and present their finest works and performances at home and abroad”.
Due to it’s 1.3 million members, both the membership fee and the ticket prices can be kept to a minimum, allowing access to “high art” and classical music usually out of reach to ordinary members of the public. Because of the large membership, performances are virtually guaranteed to sell out, which means that Min On promoters are able to invite large international companies to perform in Japan. In the past, many prestigious companies have been invited to visit, companies such as the Moscow State Musical Theatre for Children; Grand Ballet of Canada; Royal Opera Company of Great Britain; The Bavarian State Opera and most notably a performance of La Boheme by the Teatro alla Scala – a negotiation which is chronicled in The New Human Revolution and which took a total of 16 years to realize.
The musical genres of Rock, Pop, Jazz and Tango are also celebrated with visits from such eminent proponents as Tina Turner, Henry Mancini, Wayne Shorter, and the Tango master Osvaldo Pugliese.
In return, traditional and popular Japanese performers have travelled all over the world, including the UK in 1991, introducing national forms of theatre, song and folk dance to people who would perhaps otherwise have no awareness of these art forms.
Whilst being visible at a local and community level, via its’ ‘Citizen’ and school concerts, Min On has attained an international reputation with over 15,000 concerts and exchanges and festivals working in and with over 50 countries. The Association sponsors competitions for conductors, chorus masters and musicians that are judged by an illustrious panel of internationally renowned music masters. Further support for musical awareness and education is provided by the Culture Centre and Library that opened in 1997, and which houses an impressive collection of historic musical instruments and literature.
In 1965 Min On was incorporated as a foundation authorized by the Japanese Ministry of Education, and in 1988 was awarded the Foreign Minister’s commendations for distinguished service rendered over 25 years. The Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time – Taro Nakayama – commented: – “By sponsoring international music competitions in three different categories, namely vocal music, conducting, and chamber music, it has provided a place for international exchange as well as opportunities for gifted musicians to enhance their skills”.
Finally, in the book celebrating the first 25 years of Min On, President Ikeda leaves us with this vision: “…it is with our utmost hope that we may continue to play our part in the melodious and resounding rendition of a harmony for peace. And, just as paths once linked the ideas and inventions of both the East and the West, we wish to contribute in the building of a lasting spiritual Silk Road that spans the entire Earth”.
Min On – A History of our 25 yrs. Published by Min On Concert Association c. 1988
The New Human Revolution – Vol 8, Ch 3. Newsletter No. 4700 “Pure Stream” 25 – 26
NHR Vol 10, ch 3. Newsletter Nos. 5313 & 5318
Min On – A History of our 25 years.
Ibid. p 17
Ibid. p 11
Additional source – www.min-on.org