Amid extreme tensions between the governments of Japan and North Korea, there still remains a point of agreement between the nations—the arts. Veteran Japanese maestro Michiyoshi Inoue has been invited by the North’s State Symphony Orchestra to perform in Pyongyang. He and the members of his orchestra arrived today in the isolated country ahead of their concert on Friday.
According to a spokesman of Inoue, the maestro is set to conduct Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. This will be his second concert in Pyongyang, the first one having been back in October 2011. The spokesman also said that Inoue, music director of the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture, central Japan, was quoted to have said, “This is a pure cultural exchange and nothing to do with diplomacy.”
Indeed, the countries barely have any diplomacy left between them. They have long been at each other’s necks, with the Japanese government calling North Korea to come clean about the other Japanese nationals it abducted in the 1970s and 1980s, and to give up its nuclear ambitions. North Korea for its part has since pressed that they no longer have Japanese nationals in their custody, and with its recent nuclear test, we can deduce that they are not closing shop any time soon.
[via Bangkok Post]