Over 7 times the number of people drawn! Three divas behind the popularity of the SDF Music Festival
On November 18 and 19, the “Self-Defense Forces Music Festival” was held at the Nippon Budokan for the first time in three years after being postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. 6 performances were held over 2 days, each attracting approximately 3,000 people. All tickets were selected by lottery, and the ticket was a “platinum ticket” with a multiple of seven or more. Why is the JSDF Music Festival so popular?
The JSDF Music Festival is the largest public relations event of the Self-Defense Forces, and is held every year around November as part of the Self-Defense Forces Memorial Day events. The festival is organized by the Japan Self-Defense Forces’ various musical groups, mainly from the land, sea, and air forces, and features a series of unique performances and performances unique to the Self-Defense Forces.
The “marching band” performs in a beautiful formation, and the “special guard of honor” welcomes foreign guests. It is a national ceremony to show the utmost respect to the guests performed by the “special guard of honor” of the Land Self-Defense Force, whose members consist only of “good-looking boys. The movements, which are made in pursuit of the ideal in every millimeter, are breathtakingly beautiful. You can see them up close and personal. Needless to say, it is free of charge. On the day of the performance, even though seats were reserved, there was a long line of fans in front of the Budokan who couldn’t wait to see the performance,” said a journalist who has covered the Self-Defense Forces for many years.
Another popular part of the performance is the “Jido-daiko,” performed by 150 members of the Self-Defense Forces. Unlike the music corps, the members were selected from the taiko drum corps, which is a club-like activity of the Self-Defense Forces throughout Japan, and the power of their well-trained bows is breathtaking.
The “flower” of the festival is the performance by the “divas” of the various musical groups.
The Self-Defense Forces have been recruiting musicians from the public since around 2003. Until then, each corps recruited individually. The main prerequisite is to pass the SDF recruitment examination, and then there is also a kind of test to join the music corps. There is a limit to the number of positions in the music corps, and even graduates of art and music universities are not necessarily hired, which is a narrow gate. Sometimes there are no openings unless there are vacancies. The first “diva” of the JSDF was Yukari Miyake of the Maritime Self-Defense Force Band, who also performed the opening for this performance. Ms. Mai Tsugumi from the Ground Self-Defense Force and Ms. Saki Morita from the Air Self-Defense Force performed, and all three sang with outstanding vocal ability in their dignified uniforms. Ms. Mai is so popular that she was featured on TV.
It is said that there are only a few “song divas” in the Japan Self-Defense Forces Band, including the Army, Navy, and Air Force Band. The number of people drawn for the lottery was probably more than seven times higher than that of the previous year, as the audience was able to enjoy the unique performance of the Self-Defense Forces Band as well as the three singers.
Other bands from friendly countries, including the U.S. Army Band in Japan, the Papua New Guinea Army Band, and the Pakistan Army Band, are also performing. The entire uncut video is available on the Internet, so those who are interested can check it out.
Photo： Takuya Noguchi