Since the Great East Japan Earthquake last March, musical artists from Japan and all over the world have showed their support for victims of the disaster and Japan as a whole through holding benefit concerts or media such as song and video.
The latest and perhaps most ambitious charity effort by the music community is Japan United with Music, a collaboration project led by composer and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto and producer Takeshi Kobayashi that gathered 30 of Japan’s leading artists in the studio for an all-star cover of Japan’s favorite feel-good song, “All You Need Is Love.”
All profits from the single will be donated for earthquake relief, focusing mainly on organizations that aid children.
The idea for a charity collaboration of a Beatles cover was presented to Sony Music Publishing immediately after the disaster and soon caught the attention of Ryuichi Sakamoto, who then asked Takeshi Kobayashi to produce it.
On the Japan United with Music website, Kobayashi explains that he was at first hesitant to do a foreign song instead of a Japanese one.
However, after several days of thought, he came to a conclusion:
“Certainly with the way things are in Japan now, people may feel a little disconnected from Western music like The Beatles. But within a mainstream scene that has come to focus on domestic music over Western music, we want to present a creative and contemporary cover of this rock and pop masterpiece. I thought that if we could pull that off, then maybe the song could represent the future possibility and hope for a chaotic Japanese society that has lost sight of leadership. I thought that for that purpose, we could look to the help of Western music.”
An abridged version of the official music video is on YouTube, where many Japanese users have commented that the video has moved and motivated them.
30 artists of different genres getting together to sing for charity and love. If this song can remind us of the importance of loving ourselves and each other, surely Japan will be able to recover and become stronger than ever before.
The cover was released digitally as a charity single on January 25. A CD and DVD package set will be released on March 7.
Participating artists are: AI, Miki Imai, ATSUSHI (EXILE), TAKAHIRO (EXILE), Crystal Kay, Kj (Dragon Ash), Kyoko Koizumi, Kobayashi Takeshi, Kazuhisa Sakurai (Mr.Children), Salyu, JUJU, SUGIZO, Superfly, Matsumoto Tortoise, GAMO (Tokyo Ska), Masahiko Kitahara (Tokyo Ska), NARGO (Tokyo Ska), Atsushi Yanaka (Tokyo Ska), Naoto Inti Raimi, Akihiro Namba, VERBAL (m-flo), Yo Hitoto , Ryota Fujimaki (Remioromen), Tomoyasu Hotei, BONNIE PINK, miwa, Gota Yashiki, and Ryuichi Sakamoto, Yukihiro Takahashi, Haruomi Hosono (all of Yellow Magic Orchestra).
Source：YouTube/JAPANUNITEDwithMUSIC-1, JAPANUNITEDwithMUSIC-2, JAPAN UNITED with MUSIC Official Site (all links Japanese only)
▼The music video
▼A behind-the-scenes video detailing how the project came to be (Japanese only)
▼ CD+DVD available March 7!
[ Read in Japanese ]